Kim Richards had a surprise reunion with one of her very first TV co-stars. Long before she signed on to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kim Richards was a child star on the early 1970s ABC comedy Nanny and the Professor. More than 45 years after the sitcom wrapped, Richards reunited with the show’s star, Juliet Mills, for a segment on Fox 11 in Los Angeles. Richards had no idea that Mills was in the studio, and she seemed happy—albeit caught off guard—to see her first TV “mom.”
Of their long overdue reunion, Mills revealed that she and Kim Richards hadn’t seen each other since they filmed the last episode of Nanny and the Professor in 1971. At the time, they didn’t even know that it would be the series final episode, but Mills described a young Kim as a total pro even back then.
“She was a sweet little girl, very pretty. Very professional and took the job very seriously.”
Kim Richards, who was only 4-years-old when Nanny and the Professor started shooting, said she said she remembers Mills as being “magical.” Both women recalled a happy, family-like vibe on the set, with Richards saying it was a very happy time in her life. Mills added that she was very fond of Kim Richards’ mom, Kathy, who was always on the set with her young daughter.
Nanny and the Professor aired from 1970 to 1971 on ABC, managing to squeak out three seasons and 54 episodes before it was canceled. Kim played Prudence Everett on the comedy series, the adorable daughter of Professor Harold Everett (Richard Long). Mills played Phoebe Figalilly, a psychic, magical nanny who took care of Richards’ character Prudence and her older brothers Hal (David Doremus) and Butch (Trent Lehman).
The show was a family favorite, and it spawned a slew of merchandising opportunities, including coloring books, posters, and paper dolls, but Mills said she felt the series didn’t make it past three seasons because producers never allowed her character to get romantic with the professor.
Kim Richards went on to become one of the biggest child stars of the 1970s and early 1980s. And while she got her showbiz start by doing commercials, Nanny and the Professor is listed as her first acting credit on IMDb.
Sadly, two of Richards’ Nanny and the Professor co-stars died within a decade after the show ended. Kim’s TV dad Richard Long died of a heart attack in 1974 at age 47, and her TV brother, Trent Lehman, died in 1982 after hanging himself on a chain link fence. Lehman’s death, along with the suicide deaths of former child stars Rusty Hamer (The Danny Thomas Show) and 1950s child star Tim Hovey (Lassie, Cimarron City) ultimately became the inspiration for an advocacy group for child stars launched by Mickey Mouse Club alum Paul Petersen.
While Kim Richards and Juliet Mills had an impromptu reunion on the L.A. news channel, they were set to reunite later this week anyway. The stars are part of The Hollywood Show fan meet-and-greet April 9 and 10 at the Westin LAX. Other TV co-stars reuniting for the event include Happy Days alums Henry Winkler and Marion Ross and Lost In Space legends Bully Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Marta Kristen.
Take a look at the video below to see Kim Richards and Juliet Mills in Nanny and the Professor.
[Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images]