‘The Waltons’ Star Judy Norton Reveals How She Used Her Acting Skills in Real Life

by John Jamison

By the time she was 10 years old, Mary Ellen Walton actress Judy Norton had appeared on TV. At 13, she was starring in the TV movie that gave rise to “The Waltons” series, making her a household name. Norton clearly had a talent for acting from a young age, but did she always use her powers for good?

Of course not. Growing up, Judy Norton quickly discovered her flair for the dramatic. And like any kid, “The Waltons” star couldn’t bear the thought of going to school some days. So what did she do? She put her talents to use.

The Mary Ellen Walton actress shared a YouTube video recently in which she answered a question asking if she had ever used her acting skills in personal situations.

“One of the things that came to mind when asked the question was the type of stuff I did as a child. Because early on, I had a lot of natural skill in the area. I think children as actors are often just instinctive, and so it starts off as just being natural,” said Norton.

“So I could cry from an early age. And it got used a lot in theater when people found out I could do that, and then on ‘The Waltons.’ But I was really good at ‘I don’t wanna go to school’ or ‘I have an earache.’ That was my go-to, an earache or a stomach ache if I just wanted to stay home, play hooky, watch TV.”

That sounds like typical kid behavior. If only we all had the acting chops to go along with our made-up stomach aches. And playing hooky from school didn’t seem to set “The Waltons” star back very much. Considering the trajectory of her acting career, at least.

Much of ‘The Waltons’ Star’s Mary Ellen Character Came from Her Own Personality

When it came time to put her acting skills on display professionally, Norton was fortunate enough to inject a lot of herself into the Mary Ellen character on “The Waltons.”

“There were a lot of similarities. I was definitely a tom-boy growing up. I’ve always been involved in a lot of sports. So, that part was very much the same,” Norton said in a YouTube video.

And it seems all of that practice playing hooky paid off. If anything, Mary Ellen seemed more likely to be the one skipping school.

“I had a rebellious streak but I didn’t like to get in trouble. So, unlike Mary Ellen who wasn’t afraid to get in trouble, I followed the rules more than Mary Ellen might. And I didn’t intentionally do things that would get me in trouble,” Norton continued.