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In Search of . . . Diane McBain

“I was born under a lucky star,” actress Diane McBain once told an interviewer. The Glendale High School beauty queen was signed to a Warner Bros. contract at 18 and immediately starred in a series of colorful melodramas, including “Ice Palace” (1960), “Parrish” (1961) and “Claudelle English” (1962). She played Daphne Dutton, a wacky, yacht-bound socialite, on the 1960-62 TV series “Surfside Six.”

But suddenly, in the mid-60s, her lucky star dimmed. “Pretty people were low on the totem pole,” McBain recalls. McBain’s option was not renewed by Warners, and she stumbled unhappily through mediocre exploitation pictures such as “The Mini-Skirt Mob” (1966), right through the 1970s.

In 1982, as McBain was making a comeback on the daytime soap, “Days of Our Lives,” she was brutally raped by two men outside her West Hollywood apartment. They were never caught.

“The shock of what happened caused loss of memory, inability to concentrate, and I’m still startled out of proportion,” she says.

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In the aftermath of the attack, McBain made a significant change in her priorities. For the last five years, she’s worked as a counselor for rape victims and battered women. Currently, she works with Project Angel Food, bringing meals to housebound outpatients.

Divorced and with a son, now 17, McBain has also taken screenwriting courses at UCLA Extension. She’s now trying to put together financing on her screenplay, “The Spilling Moon,” celebrating the first woman to trek along the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.


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