Diane McBain was a major star in the 1960s. Her performance as Pinky Pinkston in Batman and her famed friendship with heartthrob Elvis Presley made her a household name in America.
At 81 years old, the actress spent the last days of her life in a battle with cancer.
Diane McBain passed away on Wednesday, after an arduous battle with liver cancer. Her close friend and writing partner Michael Gregg Michaud confirmed the sad news to Fox News.
According to several news outlets, the veteran actress spent her last days at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.
“She was a wonderful person and friend,” said Michaud, who co-wrote the actress’ 2014 memoir with her titled “Famous Enough.” “I will miss her terribly.”
McBain was born in Cleveland on May 18, 1941. In 1944, her family to Glendale, California. There as a 17-year-old at Glendale High School, she was discovered by a talent scout. A year later after her 18th birthday, she signed a seven-year contract with Warner Bros.
The actress started out as a model for print ads and commercials before making her YV debut in 1959 on the Western series called “Maverick.” Later on she appeared in shows like, “The Alaskans,” “Sugarfoot,” “Lawman,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Hawaiian Eye” and “Bourbon Street Beat.”
Her silver screen debut came in 1960, in the movie “Ice Palace,” which she starred in with Richard Burton. She beat Shirley Knight for the lead in 1961’s “Claudelle Inglish.” She then starred in 1962’s “Black Gold,” 1963’s “The Caretakers” with Joan Crawford and “Mary Mary” with Debbie Reynolds that same year.
In 1964 she turned down a minor role in “Sex and the Single Girl” because, according to her, “I was doing leads and thought this wasn’t a good idea.”
She was always open about her friendship with Elvis and remembered the musician fondly. Just earlier this year she spoke of him again saying, “I loved Elvis. He was wonderful. He was in good shape at that time. I remember him being tall, slender and so beautiful. I mean, what a beautiful man. And he had this beautiful voice. I liked him a lot. He probably had affairs with some actresses or co-stars, but not with me. I think he just liked brunettes, and I was a blonde, so he wasn’t interested in me. But we had a really nice friendship on set.”
“He was a spiritual guy, and he loved to read anything about being spiritual,” she continued. “He wasn’t so much religious, but spiritual. And I, too, was fascinated by those things. So we bonded over that. We used to exchange books on set, and it was great fun. We would have conversations all the time about being spiritual. It was a good relationship, very solid. I just thought he was so terrific,” she said about him.
She then went on to star alongside the legendary Adam West in Batman. She portrayed a stamp company queen who had a thing for pink in the live adaptation of “Batman” from 1966 until 1967.
“Well, unlike Elvis, I really didn’t get to know Adam that well,” she said about West. “He was the kind of actor who would go out, do his scenes and then lock himself in his dressing room. But I had a really fun time playing Pinky Pinkston. It was such a cute role. And I still get so many people who approach me about that role. I’m grateful for it. It brought people joy.”
She dated Aaron Spelling, who asked her to marry him but she declined. “He was a dear, sweet man,” McBain said. “I adored him. I would never say anything bad about him because he was always good to me. But I just wasn’t ready for something like that. Even after we broke up, he was still very good to me. He always hired me for his productions. I never had to worry for a long time after Warner Bros. because of him. He was that good to me. He was a very special person in my life. And maybe I appreciate him a lot more today than I did at the time.”
“Looking back on it, he was just so amazing, the fact that he could still be so good to me even after things were over between us,” she shared. “And whenever he saw me, he would always talk to me. It was a good friendship. I’ll always be grateful he was in my life.”
She married Rodney Burke in 1972 and they welcomed their son, Evan Burke, in 1973. In 1974, they went their separate ways.