Diana Hyland (January 25, 1936 – March 27, 1977) was an American stage, film and television actress.


Hyland was born Diana Gentner in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. (Some sources indicate Diane Gentner). She made her acting debut at age 19 (in 1955) in an episode of Robert Montgomery Presents. Over the next decade she played numerous guest and supporting roles in various television series, including Naked CityHappy DaysThe Eleventh HourThe Fugitive and The Twilight Zone, before being cast in a featured role in The Chase (1966) with Marlon BrandoJane Fonda and Robert Redford.

In 1959 she originated the role of Heavenly Finley in Tennessee WilliamsSweet Bird of Youth on Broadway with Geraldine Page and Paul Newman.

Hyland was a regular on the NBC soap opera, Young Doctor Malone, from 1958 to 1963 where she played the role of Gig Houseman, wife of the younger Dr. Malone. She played a continuing role in the primetime soap operaPeyton Place, from 1968 to 1969. She appeared in the television movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in 1976 for which she won a posthumous Emmy Award. The following year she signed on to play the wife of Dick Van Patten's character in the series Eight is Enough. She appeared in only the first four episodes of the series prior to her death.

Personal life[edit]Edit

Hyland dated actor Joe Goodson briefly, before the two were married on April 24, 1969. The union bore one child in 1973, a son, Zachary Goodson, before their divorce in 1975.

She began a romantic relationship with actor, John Travolta, 18 years her junior, in 1976 after meeting him on the set of the television movie, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.


Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977, and underwent a mastectomy. Despite the mastectomy, her cancer continued to spread, and her health deteriorated. Hyland and Travolta remained together until her death on March 27, 1977, in Los Angeles; she died in Travolta's arms.After Hyland's death her son (then four years old) was placed in Goodson's custody.

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