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Hayley Mills didn’t know she won the last Juvenile Oscar — until it arrived on her doorstep

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Hayley Mills had no idea she’d won an Oscar until it arrived on her doorstep. At 14, the actress nabbed the Academy’s last juvenile award — a special prize, first given in 1935, for child performers like Shirley Temple and Judy Garland — for her turn as the perpetually sunny heroine of Pollyanna. But not only did she miss the 1961 ceremony, she didn’t realize it had occurred at all. “I didn’t know very much about the Oscars,” Mills admits. “I didn’t know very much about anything, really. So it was all a big surprise.”

Of course, Mills has a much clearer understanding now, at 71, of what her achievement meant. Here, she looks back on her early career, the moment she received her Oscar, and where the trophy — a miniature version of the statuette — went.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Pollyanna was the first of six features you made with Walt Disney. What do you think now of your performances as a child actor?
HAYLEY MILLS: The majority of the movies that I made when I was a child [were] very well-written. I worked with wonderful, experienced actors and actresses and excellent directors. If you can’t turn in a halfway decent performance with that kind of support around you, obviously you aren’t supposed to be doing it.

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