‘The Waltons’ Star Michael Learned is Tied with Another TV Legend for an Emmy Record

by Joe Rutland

When Michael Learned was on “The Waltons” on CBS, she won Emmy Awards for her work. Did you know she is tied for Emmys with a TV legend?

Learned, who played Olivia Walton on the CBS family drama, earned three Emmy Awards for her work on “The Waltons,” an article from MeTV states. She also won another Emmy on the TV drama “Nurse.” In that other drama, Learned joined Robert Reed of “The Brady Bunch” fame in its cast.

Those awards were in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. “Nurse” just lasted two seasons on network television.

We said, Outsiders, that she is tied with a TV legend for that Emmy haul. Who is the other one?

None other than Tyne Daly of “Cagney & Lacey” fame. Daly played Mary Beth Lacey, a married working mother who also was a New York City police detective. Her co-star, Sharon Gless, also won two Emmys in 1986 and 1987 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Learned was part of “The Waltons” cast as a regular for the show’s first seven seasons. She returned as a guest star in the drama’s eighth and final season. But Learned did pay Olivia in all four TV movies based on the Earl Hamner-created show.

‘The Waltons’ Star Received Some Welcome Suggestions From Waite About Sobriety

She did have quite a solid relationship on the show with Ralph Waite, who played John Walton opposite of her Olivia on “The Waltons.” Learned also has given Waite credit for helping her to get clean and sober from alcoholism.

What did he do? Simply suggest that Learned go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Waite gave the 12-step program credit for helping him to achieve sobriety.

“Well, Ralph got me sober,” Learned said in an interview with FoxNews.com “I said, ‘I’ll go and be supportive for you.’ Because he said, ‘I’m going to AA.’ And I said, ‘Oh, that’s wonderful. You really need it.’ He grabbed me by the shoulders, and he said, ‘I think you should come.’ And I’m like, ‘Me?'”

Learned also expressed her gratitude for her “The Waltons” co-star’s help. The actress added that the two of them were lovers in an emotional and spiritual way. Never physically, though.

In another little tidbit, Outsiders, Learned wasn’t really the first choice of show producers as the matriarch of the Walton family.

Patricia Neal, according to an article from Fame 10, actually was the first choice. She played Olivia Walton in the movie “The Homecoming.” It would be the movie that prompted CBS to give the drama series a go-ahead.

Neal was a well-known actress in movies like “In Harm’s Way” with John Wayne.