‘The Waltons’ Star Judy Norton Explains How the Show Stayed an Ensemble

by Anna Dunn
(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

The Waltons star Judy Norton just explained how the show managed to stay an ensemble over the seasons. Norton, who played Mary Ellen Walton on the hit series, now has a youtube channel where she discusses the ins and outs of the show.

The Waltons followed a family living in Depression-era Virginia. But despite the struggles the family faced, it was quite a wholesome show.

Part of that series is fan Q&A videos, and in a recent one, she covered a lot of ground and gave fans some great insight.

One fan asked, “Sometimes in a series, a character emerges who starts as a minor character and rises to be a major character. The show then becomes about this character. How did The Waltons keep this from happening?”

“It was always an ensemble show. Of course, it was told from the perspective of John Boy and it really, in the beginning, focused on the adults. They allowed each of the children to have storylines and to have a direction they were going in their life,” she said.

The Waltons worked hard to flesh out each and every one of their characters. That way, the “ensemble” element of it remained strong, even when John-Boy left.

“I just think there were so many opportunities to have stories about all of the family that they wrote it that way,” Norton continued.

One of the best parts of The Waltons is everyone was deeply involved and every member of the family had a part to play, even with John-Boy being the narrator for the majority of the show.

Here’s What Judy Norton Learned From Playing Mary Ellen on ‘The Waltons’

Being a young actress at the time, Judy Norton learned a lot from her character. In another moment from the “Ask Judy” video, Norton addressed what Mary Ellen helped teach her.

For one, Mary Ellen always stayed true to herself and defended her family. Norton really admired that trait and tried to do that in her own life. She never backed down, and she always did her best to pursue her goals despite the pressure.

It was certainly a noble quality, and one many needed to see. The show carried lessons like that with it throughout and is now considered a classic. The show originally aired in 1972 and lasted for 221 whole episodes.

Norton’s series on The Waltons makes sure to keep the legacy of the show alive while interacting with fans. The show meant a lot to a lot of people and helped instill important life lessons, so there’s still a generation of fans who loves to watch old episodes.

If you want to see more from Judy Norton, you can go to her Youtube channel and learn about The Waltons from the perspective of one of its stars.