‘The Waltons’ Star Judy Norton Opens Up About Friendship With Co-Star Mary Elizabeth McDonough

by Lauren Boisvert

In a recent Ask Judy segment on her YouTube channel, “The Waltons” star Judy Norton spoke about friendships with her co-stars, specifically with co-star Mary Elizabeth McDonough, who played Erin on “The Waltons”.

Norton was asked by a fan whether the cast spent time together when not filming. Norton answers, “Sometimes, yeah, I mean not all the time because we spent so much time together filming that sometimes it was like, ‘Okay, that’s enough, I’d like to spend some time with my own family and personal friends away from it.’ But we did do publicity events together and sometimes we did just do things for fun together.”

She mentions that she took a cruise with Mary Elizabeth McDonough, and then talks about their friendship. Norton continues, “Mary and I visited each other different times when we were shooting different things or doing theatre in different cities. So, she and I probably did more of that earlier on than maybe I did with some of the other cast members.”

She also spoke about what it’s been like recently with her castmates. She says, “But since then, a number of us have vacationed together, or, certainly spent time together. And because of different events that we’ve done, sometimes we’ll come in earlier or stay later so that we can have time to just hang together because we enjoy each other’s company.”

It’s always nice to find out that actors are friends in real life. But, there’s no one telling you to go on vacations with your co-stars, and when you’ve been together for 200-something episodes, those bonds are formed for real.

Judy Norton on Avoiding the Pitfalls of Fame

On the same Ask Judy segment, one fan asked how she and her castmates avoided succumbing to the hard life that many child stars have.

According to Norton, “it was a combination of things.” First, she states that the most important thing was that they had each other. They also kept their friends outside of the entertainment industry, holding onto a little bit of home and normalcy. Norton also claimed that it could have had something to do with the wholesome content of “The Waltons” itself.

“I think also because our show was a little more grounded in its content and there was no social media at the time. So, that helped,” said Judy Norton. “And, people didn’t go into a frenzy about ‘The Waltons’. We were sort of like their next-door neighbors. So, people didn’t really treat us like we were superstars.”

No one on “The Waltons” let the fame get to them, and the family-geared content helped keep the younger stars grounded and away from dangerous influences. Fortunate for them, because a few of them were in their formative years. They portrayed good, moral characters, and it’s possible portraying those characters when they were young led to them leading normal, healthy lives as child stars.