Diana Hyland

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Diana Hyland
Hyland as Susan Winter in Peyton Place, 1968
Diane Gentner

(1936-01-25)January 25, 1936
DiedMarch 27, 1977(1977-03-27) (aged 41)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1955–1977
Joe Goodson
(m. 1969; div. 1974)
PartnerJohn Travolta (1976-1977; her death)
AwardsEmmy Award for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Special
1977 The Boy in the Plastic Bubble; awarded posthumously

Diana Hyland (born Diane Gentner; January 25, 1936 – March 27, 1977)[1] was an American stage, film and television actress.

Early years[edit]

Hyland was born Diane Gentner[2] to John Theodore and Mary (Gorman) Gentner in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She had one sibling, a brother, John Gorman Gentner.[3]


She made her acting debut in 1955 at age 19 in an episode of Robert Montgomery Presents. Over the next decade she appeared often in guest and supporting roles in various television series, including Naked City, The Eleventh Hour, The Fugitive, The Invaders and The Twilight Zone and was cast in the feature film The Chase (1966) with Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, and Robert Redford.

In 1959, she originated the role of Heavenly Finley in Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth[4] on Broadway, appearing with Geraldine Page and Paul Newman.

In 1966, she co-starred in the movie Smoky in which she played Julie Richards, owner of the Rockin' R Ranch, who falls in love with Clint Barkeley (Fess Parker), owner of Smokey, a black stallion turned cutting horse. The same year she appeared in an episode of the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. titled "The Candidate's Wife Affair", and in another episode titled "The Nowhere Affair". From 1958 to 1963, Hyland was a regular on the NBC soap opera Young Doctor Malone, playing Gig Houseman, wife of the younger Dr. Malone.

Hyland's debut in a feature film was in One Man's Way (1963), playing the wife of Norman Vincent Peale.[5][6] She had a continuing role as Susan Winter in the prime-time soap opera Peyton Place[7]: 829  from 1968 to 1969. She appeared in the 1976 television movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, for which she won a posthumous Emmy Award.[5] The following year, she co-starred with Dick Van Patten in the series Eight Is Enough.[7] She appeared in only five episodes before her death, and her character, Joan Bradford, was subsequently killed off.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Hyland married actor Joe Goodson on April 24, 1969. The couple had one son, Zachary, born in July 1973. Hyland and Goodson divorced in August 1974.[citation needed]

She began a romantic relationship with actor John Travolta, 18 years her junior, in 1976 after meeting him when she played his mother in the television movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.[9]


Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977, and underwent a mastectomy.[9] However, the cancer spread and her health deteriorated. Hyland and Travolta remained together until her death at age 41 on March 27, 1977, in Los Angeles.[10]



Year Title Role
1963 One Man's Way Ruth Stafford Peale
1966 The Chase Elizabeth Rogers
Smoky Julie Richards
1968 Jigsaw Sarah


Year Title Role Notes
1955 Robert Montgomery Presents Judy Episode: "Second Chance"
1956 Star Tonight Louise Episode: "Two Windows"
Episode: "Will Power"
1960 Play of the Week Mabel Episode: "Climate of Eden"
1961 Play of the Week Episode: "No Exit/The Indifferent Lover"
Episode: "A Cool Wind Over the Living"
1961–1962 Young Doctor Malone Gig Houseman Malone
1962 The Defenders Mary DiFalco Robinson Episode: "The Unwanted"
The United States Steel Hour Episode: "Wanted: Someone Innocent"
Alcoa Premiere Liza Laurents Episode: "The Voice of Charlie Pont"
Sam Benedict Donna Heistand Episode: "The Bird of Warning"
1963 Ben Casey Greta Bauer Episode: "Rigadoon for Three Pianos"
Stoney Burke Eileen Fowler Episode: "To Catch the Kaiser"
The DuPont Show of the Week Ellen Graham Episode: "The Shark"
Naked City Vivian North Episode: "Stop the Parade! A Baby Is Crying!"
Wagon Train Kitty Pryer Episode: "The Kitty Pryer Story"
Dr. Kildare Dr. Lilith McGraw Episode: "Love Is a Sad Song"
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Janet Nelson Episode: "To Catch a Butterfly"
1964 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Grace Renford Episode: "Beyond the Sea of Death"
Twilight Zone Anne Henderson Episode: "Spur of the Moment"
The Eleventh Hour Madelyn Marner Episode: "A Full Moon Every Night"
Kraft Suspense Theatre Laura DeLinda Stevenson / Laura Murdoch Episode: "The Sweet Taste of Vengeance"
[[The Fugitive (1963 TV series}|The Fugitive]] Carol Hollister Episode: "When the Bough Breaks"
1965 Stella Savano Episode: "Set Fire to a Straw Man"
Dr. Kildare Marguerite Williams Episode: "Please Let My Baby Live"
Burke's Law Celeste Martel Episode: "Run for the Money"
The Nurses Dr. Mai Lind Episode: "The April Thaw of Doctor Mai"
Hercules and the Princess of Troy Princess Diana TV movie
Convoy Lt. Katya Katrovich Episode: "Katya"
The Wackiest Ship in the Army]] Margaret Cochran Episode: "The Sisters"
Episode: "I'm Dreaming of a Wide Isthmus"
Run for Your Life Ellen Henderson Episode: "The Girl Next Door Is a Spy"
1966 Run for Your Life Diana Hays Episode: "I Am the Late Diana Hays"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Mrs. Collier Episode: "Guilty or Not Guilty"
Scalplock Marta Grenier TV movie (pilot for the TV series Iron Horse)
A Man Called Shenandoah Nancy Pruitt Episode: "An Unfamiliar Tune"
Iron Horse Marta Grenier
I Spy Marisa Terizcu Episode: "So Coldly Sweet"
The Green Hornet Attorney Claudia Bromley Episode: "Give 'Em Enough Rope"
Twelve O'Clock High Heidi Voss Episode: "Practice to Deceive"
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Mara
Miranda Bryant / Irina
Episode: "The Nowhere Affair"
Episode: "The Candidate's Wife Affair"
Felony Squad Cloris Harte Episode: "Killer with a Badge"
{The Fugitive Penny Episode: "The Devil's Disciples"
1967 Alison Priestley Episode: "Dossier on a Diplomat"
1967 The F.B.I. Marie-Louise Karn
Virginia Lamberth
Episode: "The Hostage"
Episode: "Overload"
Tarzan Diana Russell Episode: "The Fanatics"
The Invaders Sherri Vikor
Ellie Markham
Episode: "Vikor"
Episodes: "Summit Meeting, Part I"; "Summit Meeting, Part II"
1968 Judd, for the Defense Jessie Tree Episode: "Fall of a Skylark: Part 1 - The Trial"
Episode: "Fall of a Skylark: Part 2 - The Appeal"
1968–1969 Peyton Place Susan Winter 56 episodes
1969 The Name of the Game Lisa Adrian Episode: "The Perfect Image"
1970 Ritual of Evil Leila Barton TV movie
Bracken's World Mary Draper Episode: "The Mary Tree"
1971 Ironside Hrûska Pazoureck Episode: "From Hrûska, with Love"
The Interns Writer Episode: "Casualty"
Marcus Welby, M.D. Cynthia Crowley Episode: "Cynthia"
Alias Smith and Jones Clara Philips Episode: "Return to Devil's Hole"
Dan August Phyllis Hendricks Episode: "Days of Rage"
Medical Center Susan Episode: "Suspected"
The F.B.I. Joanne Kenster Episode: "The Stalking Horse"
1972 Pat Laner Episode: "Arrangement with Terror"
Banyon Julia Egan Episode: "The Graveyard Vote"
1973 Hawkins Jennifer Pearson Episode: "Candidate for Murder"
Search Anjeanette Marie Shanahan Episode: "Let Us Prey"
Gunsmoke Dallas Fair Episode: "Shadler"
Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law Lita Coleman Episode: "Final Semester"
The ABC Afternoon Playbreak Episode: "The Things I Never Said"
1974 Hawkins Jennifer Pearson Episode: "Candidate for Murder"
Medical Center Pat Londean Episode: "Three-Cornered Cage"
1975 Marcus Welby, M.D. Janet Trent Episode: "Dark Fury: Part 1"
Episode: "Dark Fury: Part 2"
Harry O Sandra Dawes Episode: "The Confetti People"
Mannix Janice Graham Episode: "A Ransom for Yesterday"
S.W.A.T. Joanna Bishop Episode: "Kill S.W.A.T."
Cannon Nedra Cameron Episode: "The Melted Man"
1976 Kojak Cleo Donatello Episode: "A Grave Too Soon"
Barnaby Jones Nora Bradford Episode: "Deadly Reunion"
The Boy in the Plastic Bubble Mickey Lubitch TV movie
1977 Happy Days Adrianna Prescott Episode: "Fonzie's Old Lady"
Eight Is Enough Joan Bradford Main cast, 4 episodes


  1. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (third ed.). McFarland. p. 365. ISBN 978-1476625997. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "Mary Gentner in the 1940 Census | Ancestry®". Ancestry.com.
  3. ^ "Hyland dies of cancer". The San Bernardino County Sun. Associated Press. March 29, 1977. p. 2. Retrieved November 9, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ Diana Hyland. August 19, 2016. ISBN 9781476625997. Archived from the original on November 10, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2017. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  5. ^ a b Rubin, Steven (2017). Twilight Zone Encyclopedia. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1613738917. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  6. ^ Pack, Harvey (March 4, 1964). "Introducing Diana Hyland". Asbury Park Evening Press – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 300–301. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  8. ^ Bellmont, Brian. "When a TV show loses an actor," MSNBC.com, Sunday, September 14, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2022
  9. ^ a b Smilgis, Martha (June 13, 1977). "Life After Loss". People. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  10. ^ "John Travolta Lost Girlfriend Diana Hyland to Breast Cancer Decades Before Kelly Preston's Death". People. July 13, 2020.

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