Diane McBain Dies: ‘Surfside 6’ and ‘Batman’ Actress Was 81
McBain’s death was confirmed by her close friend Michael Gregg Michaud, who co-authored her 2014 memoir Famous Enough. “My heart is heavy. My dear friend, and creative partner, actress Diane McBain, passed away peacefully today [December 21] at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills. She lost her bravely fought battle against liver cancer,” Michaud revealed on social media.
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Born on May 18, 1941, in Cleveland, Ohio, McBain moved to Hollywood at a young age and was spotted by a Warner Bros talent scout and added to the studio’s roster of contract performers. At the age of 17, she made her TV acting debut in two episodes of the western series Maverick; she also made appearances in the likes of 77 Sunset Strip, Bourbon Street Beat, and Sugarfoot.
By the early 1960s, McBain was already a breakout star, having landed a regular role on the ABC detective series Surfside 6, supporting Troy Donahue, Van Williams, and Lee Patterson. Then, in 1966, she co-starred opposite Elvis Presley in the musical comedy film Spinout. In 1967, she appeared in an episode of Batman as the pink-haired Pinky Pinston; she would go on to feature in four more Batman episodes in various roles.
McBain continued her TV work into the 1970s, appearing on the likes of Mod Squad, Police Story, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie’s Angels, Dallas, and many more. She also had stints on the soap operas General Hospital and Days of Our Lives. She carried on acting into the 2000s, with her final credit being a 2001 episode of the TV series Strong Medicine, after which she retired.
After her acting career, McBain went on to become a rape victim counselor, having suffered a violent attack on Christmas Day, 1982, where she was beaten, robbed, and raped by two men in her garage in West Hollywood. She wrote about the horrific incident, as well as her Hollywood career, in her memoir Famous Enough. In addition to her memoir, McBain also wrote two novels, The Laughing Bear (2020) and The Color of Hope (2021).