Shortly after The Beatles’ popularity broke out in the U.S., George Harrison took Disney actor Hayley Mills out on a date for charity. The guitarist was the perfect gentleman, even as throngs of screaming girls crowded the young couple and threatened their night out.
George Harrison agreed to go on a date with Hayley Mills for charity
In 2021, Mills told the Daily Mail, “much to my embarrassment — but also secret delight,” she had her mother to thank for her one-time date with George. The Beatles had just returned from a successful trip to the U.S. By then, the 17-year-old Mills had already made two of her most famous films, The Parent Trap and Pollyanna.
Mills and her parents, playwright Mary Hayley Bell and actor John Mills, had been invited to a charity event for the Red Cross. Actor Richard Todd was holding a reception party at his home in Henley, Oxfordshire.
“It was one of those old-fashioned charity events where film stars and celebrities turn up to attend a premiere or a first night and raise money for a good cause,” Mills said. Her mother suggested George escort her.
“I nearly choked on my tea when she said she’d fix it. ‘What?! Are you serious?’ I gasped. ‘You can’t just call George Harrison up out of the blue and say: ‘Hey, George, do you wanna take my daughter out!”” Mills’ mother suggested George because they’d met him days before at another charity event, where Mills’ mother had boldly asked George for his number. He surprisingly handed it over.
Bell called George about escorting Mills, and he agreed. He picked Mills up and drove to Todd’s home. “I was in shock. In fact, the whole house was. The anticipation leading up to that night was unbearable: Christmases, birthdays, weddings — they don’t even come close. It was 1964, and I was going on a date with George Harrison!”
George and Mills’ date almost ended badly
Mills wrote about her and George’s date in her diary. “As soon as I walked down the stairs and saw him standing there in the hall with his black corduroy coat and hands thrust deep into the pockets and all that shining hair, my carefully cultivated calm vanished, my knees started to tremble,” Mills wrote.
“George and I tore off together in his black E-Type Jaguar. The rain was pouring down and, when my heart had finally settled more or less into its proper place, I looked at him out of the corner of my eye. He didn’t seem to mind that I’d been foisted on him by my very determined mother.
“He reminded me of a little foal peering out from under a bear skin rug. His smile is rather wicked but in the most innocent sort of way; when he laughs it’s as if there’s a tiny leprechaun sitting on his shoulder who pulls one side of his mouth up.”
Mills got nervous once they arrived at Todd’s house. Guests rushed at George. Then, a limousine drove the couple to the Regal Cinema, where a crowd of fans waited for them. Once George saw the throngs of fans, he went “slightly green and cowed-looking.”
Mills wrote, “In all the chaos, someone managed to open the door and he sprang into a snake-pit of shrieking, scratching, maniacal girls. One of them nearly took my eye out with a jabbing Biro pen.” Somehow, they fought off the fans wanting to tear their clothes from their backs and managed to get into the cinema where they were viewing Charade. However, they weren’t safe inside.
“But as soon as we sat down, we were surrounded — people were leaning on our heads, their sharp elbows and grumbling stomachs in our faces,” Mills said. “George was marvellous, signing autographs and smiling at everybody, however pushy. One woman actually knelt in my lap to get at him!”
Mills’ father cooked George breakfast the next morning, and he loved it
Unfortunately, fans essentially ruined George and Mills’ date. They couldn’t watch the film. “People kept crawling on their hands and knees up the aisle, with autograph books in their teeth, to reach George,” Mills wrote. When they decided to sneak out, there was more “screaming, fighting, and stabbing pens.” A similar thing happened to George’s future first wife Pattie Boyd when she decided to leave a Beatles concert early.
George got into the car, but someone slammed the door before Mills could get in. “I saw his face looking back at me helplessly as the car sped off, girls still chasing and banging on the windows,” Mills said. She’d never experienced anything like it. Mills got back to Todd’s, where she reconvened with George.
Still, people flocked to him. “I don’t think it was simply because he was a Beatle,” the child actor said. “George had a certain something, which not many people have: a mixture of great poise and composure, a sweetness and an ordinariness. He was unaffected, completely his own man, but there was also a certain reserve about him, too.”
Later that night, George drove Mills home. “We’d survived the evening and I think it had created a subtle bond,” she said. When they arrived, Mills’ father greeted them and invited George to some scrabbled eggs.
George excused himself as he and Ringo were moving houses that morning with a police escort. “I remember thinking what a terrible price The Beatles had to pay for their success,” Mills recalled.
Years later, Mills bumped into George at the Chelsea Flower Show. They reminisced about their eventful date. “One of the thrills of his life, he confessed, was having scrambled eggs cooked for him by the actor John Mills at four o’clock in the morning,” Mills concluded.