Shirley Mills

Shirley Olivia Mills (April 8, 1926 – March 31, 2010) was an American actress.[1] She played the roles of the youngest daughter in The Grapes of Wrath and the title character in Child Bride. In the latter, she is shown nude in a nude swimming scene, filmed when she was about 12 years old, which became the basis for Child Bride being classified for many years as an exploitation film.

Shirley Mills
Shirley Mills in Child Bride
Born(1926-04-08)April 8, 1926
DiedMarch 31, 2010(2010-03-31) (aged 83)
Other namesShirley O. Mills
Shirley O'Mills
Years active1938–1956
Mel Hanson
(m. 1977; died 1995)


Born in Tacoma, Washington, Mills started her career as a child dancer, and later appeared in films such as Child Bride (1938[lower-alpha 1]) at the age of 12, The Grapes of Wrath (1940), and the Shirley Temple film Young People (1940). She stopped making films in her early twenties but was later a pioneer in selling data-processing services in the 1960s, becoming the first female president of the Data Processing Management Association in Los Angeles and later vice president of marketing and public relations for Management Applied Programming, a major data processing center, for which she started a division for nonprofit organizations.

Mills married Mel Hanson, a minister,[5] in 1977 who died in 1994; they had no children.

Mills died in Arcadia, California, on March 31, 2010,[5] eight days before her 84th birthday, from complications of pneumonia.


Year Title Role Notes
1938 Child Bride Jennie Colton Alternative titles: Child Bride of the Ozarks
Child Brides
Dust to Dust
1939 The Under-Pup Cecilia Layton
1940 The Grapes of Wrath Ruth "Ruthie" Joad
Virginia City Crying young Southern girl Uncredited
Young People Mary Ann
Five Little Peppers in Trouble June
Diamond Frontier Girl in Bonnet playing in Street Uncredited
1942 Miss Annie Rooney Audrey Hollis
1943 Shadow of a Doubt Shirley Alternative title: Shadow of Doubt
Reveille with Beverly Laura Jean Oliver Uncredited
Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour Hortense Uncredited
Alternative title: Henry Gets Glamour
Mister Big Member, Jivin' Jacks and Jills Uncredited
Top Man Dancer Uncredited
Alternative title: Man of the Family
Always a Bridesmaid Member of The Jivin' Jacks and Jills Uncredited
True to Life Radio Sister Uncredited
1944 Chip Off the Old Block Member, Jivin' Jacks and Jills Uncredited
None Shall Escape Anna Oremska
Nine Girls "Tennessee" Collingwood
1945 Patrick the Great Member, Jivin' Jacks and Jills Uncredited
Snafu Student Uncredited
Alternative title: Welcome Home
1946 Blondie's Lucky Day Grace Perkins (scenes deleted)
Betty Co-ed Gloria Campbell Alternative title: The Melting Pot
That Brennan Girl Olivette the Babysitter Uncredited
Alternative title: Tough Girl
1949 An Old-Fashioned Girl Belle
1950 It's a Small World Susan Musk at Age 16 Credited as Shirley O. Mills
What Happened to Jo Jo Jennifer Van Zandt Short
Credited as Shirley O. Mills
1951 Fighting Coast Guard Verna Uncredited
The Family Secret File Girl Uncredited
The Model and the Marriage Broker Ina Kuschner Uncredited
1952 My Six Convicts Blonde Tilly Uncredited
Alternative title: My 6 Convicts
Year Title Role Notes
1954 My Little Margie Muriel Joyner 1 episode
Credited as Shirley O'Mills
1956 Ford Star Jubilee 1 episode


  1. Sources conflict on this year. AllMovie lists 1938,[2] and another source lists 1941,[3] while the American Film Institute catalogs it at 1943.[4]


  1. "Actress in 'The Grapes of Wrath'". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. April 9, 2010. p. AA7. Retrieved October 3, 2018 via
  2. "Child Bride (1938)". AllMovie. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  3. Schaefer, Eric (1999). "Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!": A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959. Duke University Press. pp. 282–283. ISBN 9780822323747.
  4. "Child Bride (1943) AFI Catalog of Feature Films
  5. Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 518. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved 4 October 2018.


  • Goldrup, Tom and Jim (2002). Growing Up on the Set: Interviews with 39 Former Child Actors of Film and Television. McFarland & Co. pp. 200–209. ISBN 1476613702.

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