‘Father Knows Best’ Star Elinor Donahue Talked Not Being Able to Wear Wardrobe Due to Pregnancy

by Anna Dunn

Father Knows Best star Elinor Donahue once discussed how she wasn’t able to wear her wardrobe during her pregnancy. The actress, who played Betty Anderson on the hit sitcom, had four children.

She discussed one of her Pregnancies, and how it created some wardrobe issues, in an interview with the Archive of American Television. After she had gotten pregnant, producer Eugene Rodney tried helping out with the wardrobe, but he didn’t really take the pregnancy into account.

“Rodney had picked out an outfit for me and he was being very good to me clothes wise,” she said in the interview.

“And it was a very handsome skirt from I Magnum. It was a very “tony” store at the time and a cashmere sweater set. Beautiful. And he waited too long for me to wear it. I couldn’t get into it,” she laughed. Thankfully, Donahue was able to wear the clothes after her pregnancy.

After Becoming a New Mom, The ‘Father knows Best’ Star Got a Bold New Look in

But Rodney wasn’t necessarily happy about her pregnancy, and he quickly tried to write her off the show. Thinking she was no longer a part of Father Knows Best, Donahue chopped off her hair because she felt it was easier to have shorter hair while being a new mom.

But shortly after cutting off her hair, production called her and asked her to come back. She spoke to a secretary about how she had changed her appearance.

“What?’ I said, ‘but I cut off my ponytail,” she recalled telling the secretary. “She said, ‘don’t tell them. Just show up.’”

 “There was nothing they could do but use my short hair. So there are a few episodes of me with kind of shortage hair fashioned [with] a ponytail—a false ponytail,” she said.

But she actually realized that she really liked the ponytail and was fine with growing it out for the show. Turns out Rodney just couldn’t write her out after all.

Donahue Married Someone Who Worked on the Show

At the time, Donahue had felt a ton of pressure to get married. So when she went on a date with the sound producer for Father Knows Best, they moved very quickly. Even though she was only 19 at the time, she felt if she didn’t marry someone soon, she’d be alone forever.

“[My Mom] didn’t seem to like anybody. So, here I am, 19, probably going to end up as an old maid,” Donahue said. “The next person that mentions the word to me I’m going to say yes and that’s going to be that.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Things moved incredibly fast during the date with the sound producer and he proposed by the end of the night. The two ran off to Vegas and got married there.

Donahue certainly had a ton of adventures during her time on Father Knows Best. Afterward, she participated in plenty of shows and films including Pretty Women, The Andy Griffith Show, Friends, and The Young and The Restless.