The ‘Waltons’ Episode That Made Ronnie Claire Edwards a Television Legend

by Craig Garrett

A stand-out The Waltons episode showcases Ronnie Claire Edwards as Corabeth Godsey and cements her as a cornerstone of classic tv.

Ronnie Claire Edwards joined The Waltons in season three as Corabeth Gosey. She became a fan favorite, being a classic character that viewers “loved to hate.” “The Pearls” is a season nine episode of The Waltons. In the episode, Edwards plays the twin sister of her Waltons character. Though Corabeth was prim and proper, Orma is the polar opposite. It was a perfect opportunity for fans to see Edward’s range as an actor.

As much fun as the episode was, some viewers questioned how Corabeth had a twin sister she had never mentioned. Perhaps the proper Corabeth was embarrassed to have an identical twin that was so shockingly different. However, it was more likely that The Waltons was nearing its end, and writers were attempting to give long-time viewers something a little different.

‘The Walton’s creator and Edwards collaborated again

The Waltons was created by Earl Hamner Jr. It ran for nine seasons from September 1972 through June 1981. It has continued with several telefilms and even had a recent CW reboot. Ronnie Claire Edwards joined the show in season three as the cousin of John (Ralph Waite), who arrives on Walton’s Mountain after the death of his mother. Corabeth eventually married Ike Godsey (Joe Conley), and they raised a daughter together.

Edwards was thrilled to be a breakout character on The Waltons. ”I’d be on the up escalator in a store and the people on the down would be shouting, ‘We hate you.’ I sure had the best role,” she said in a 1993 interview. “Because of all that [sweetness], what was needed was another spice. It was a fantastic part, the best character in the show. People still remember, ‘No credit, Mr. Godsey,’ and that just delights me. I am very fond of Corabeth.”

In 1985, she played a legal secretary on the Gary David Goldberg NBC series Sara, co-starring Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard. She also appeared as Aunt Dolly on another Earl Hamner Jr show, Boone. The show revolved around country music and aired on NBC from 1983-84.

Edwards showed her range as a character actor in later roles

She appeared on several other shows, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dallas, Hamner’s Falcon Crest, and Designing Women. A native of Oklahoma City, Edwards didn’t pick up acting until after she turned 30. She made her on-screen debut in the 1963 film All the Way Home. She has appeared in such films as Nobody’s Fool (1986) and The Dead Pool (1988).

Ronnie Claire Edwards had an eccentric side when it came to her home. After selling her mansion in Los Angeles to Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea in 2008, Edwards rebuilt a 1911 Catholic church on Swiss Avenue and made it her residence. She passed away in 2016.