Diana Hyland (Diana Genter)

Diana Hyland

Diana 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 City, The Eleventh Hour, The Fugitive and The Twilight Zone, before being cast in a featured role in The Chase (1966) with Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. In 1959, she originated the role of Heavenly Finley in Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth on Broadway with Geraldine Page and Paul Newman. Hyland was a regular on the NBC soap opera Young Doctor Malone from 1958–63, playing Gig Houseman, wife of the younger Dr. Malone. She played a continuing role in the prime-time soap opera Peyton Place from 1968–69. She appeared in the 1976 television movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, 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 prior to her death. Hyland dated actor Joe Goodson briefly before they were married on April 24, 1969. Their son Zachary Goodson was born in 1973. They divorced 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 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 was placed in Goodson’s custody.


  • January, 25, 1936
  • USA
  • Cleveland Heights, Ohio


  • March, 27, 1977
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • breast cancer


  • Cremated

2340 profile views