‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Elinor Donahue Revealed Her First Crush

by Joe Rutland
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Actress Elinor Donahue, who appeared for one season on The Andy Griffith Show, once opened up on who was her first crush.

Interestingly enough, it was another TV star.

We’ll take a look at an article from MeTV for more information. Back in 1983, Donahue, who played Ellie Walker on The Andy Griffith Show, was asked to star in the NBC TV movie High School, U.S.A. This was the idea of then-NBC President Brandon Tartikoff.

Besides Donahue, who played Betty Anderson on Father Knows Best, other child stars from her times in the movie included Angela Cartwright of The Danny Thomas Show, Tony Dow of Leave It to Beaver, Barry Livingston of My Three Sons, and both Bob Denver and Dwayne Hickman from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actress Became Smitten With ‘Dobie Gillis’ Star Hickman

For Donahue, perhaps the sweetest reunion was with Hickman, whom she revealed to the Green Bay Press-Gazette was her first real crush. She appeared in an installment of Vacation Playhouse with Hickman when she was 12 and he was 14.

“He was the first boy I ever had a crush on,” Elinor Donahue said. “He was so courtly. When I first met him, I put out my hand and he kissed it. I was so impressed.”

Hickman would go on and become a programming executive for CBS. He was in that role for just over a decade. Ironically, Dobie Gillis ran from 1959-63 on CBS.

Donahue happened to get cast as the mom of Nancy McKeon of The Facts of Life and wife to Ken Osmond Leave It to Beaver. Tartikoff had the idea of pairing 1950s-60s child actors with those in the 1980s.

Actress Also Made Memorable Appearance In 1984 ‘Happy Days’ Episode

Other Eighties child stars included Michael J. Fox of Family Ties, Todd Bridges of Diff’rent Strokes, and both Crystal Bernard and Cathy Silvers of Happy Days.

Donahue also appeared in a 1984 Happy Days episode. She played a concerned, sensitive mother to a troubled teen whom Joanie Cunnigham, played by Erin Moran, befriends. Her appearance, though, happened after Howard already had left that sitcom

“I’m in that age group of actresses who need more roles written for them,” Donahue told the Columbia Record in 1984. “Even the villainesses are getting younger.”

Donahue never escaped her strong association with family shows. She was glad to play mother roles that suited her age and her particular household name.

But the actress left The Andy Griffith Show during its first season. When she was on there, Griffith played Sheriff Andy Taylor. Don Knotts starred as Deputy Barney Fife and Howard starred as a very young Opie Taylor.

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