‘The Waltons’ Star Judy Norton Says She Wish Mary Ellen Didn’t Get Married So Young

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage via Getty Images)

When an actor plays a character for so long, they can get attached. You’ll often hear actors talking about adding something from themselves to characters. On the other hand, some will have ideas about where their character should go or what they should do in a situation. Looking back, Judy Norton would have kept Mary Ellen Walton single for a bit longer.

It’s no surprise that Judy Norton has ideas about what should have happened with Mary Ellen. After all, she played the oldest Walton daughter for more than a decade. First, she landed the role in The Homecoming: A Christmas Story. Not long after that, she filled the same role on The Waltons for its entire run. Additionally, she returned for all of the made-for-TV movies attached to the franchise.

Currently, Norton hosts a web series in which she shares behind-the-scenes information about The Waltons with fans. In the most recent installment of that series, Judy Norton talked about the major change she would have made for Mary Ellen.

 “I probably would have not had Mary Ellen get married as early as she did. Perhaps Erin, who was a little more inclined to all those different romances, got married young instead of Mary Ellen. Perhaps Mary Ellen went to school and became an engineer or something.”

Judy Norton opened up about this while taking questions from her fans about her life and the classic TV show. Before she talked about keeping Mary Ellen single for a bit longer, Norton discussed some other interesting additions she would have made to The Waltons if she had had the chance to do so.

Judy Norton Talks About Wanting to Write for The Waltons

A fan named Betsy wanted to know, “If you could personally write a story for The Waltons would you do it? Where would you go with the characters, and do you think the Mountain would be developed or left unfettered?” Judy Norton said she would “certainly” write something for The Waltons.

Then, Judy Norton revealed that she had thought about writing something for the series years ago. She wanted to bring back the character Eddie Ramirez from the episode “The Medal.” In fact, at one point, she outlined a story for him and started writing it. However, she admits she never did anything with it.

Judy Norton also said that she and Erin actress Mary McDonough used to talk about getting a spinoff of their own. The idea came after an episode where Erin and Mary Ellen get an apartment in town. The spinoff would have followed the two mountain-born sisters adapting to living in town. “Clearly, that never happened,” Norton said with a laugh. It does sound like it would’ve been an interesting show.