‘The Waltons’ Star Michael Learned to Be Guest of Honor at Virginia Celebration for Show’s 50th Anniversary

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A Virginia senior community and classic TV star Michael Learned are taking a few days to celebrate the legacy of The Waltons next month. And the theme of the celebration will be all about love.

The special event will take place at the Hermitage Roanoke from June 3rd to June 4th. And The Waltons actress Michael Learned will kick off the party by unveiling a new Virginia LOVEworks sign for the Hermitage residents.

The LOVEworks signs represent the official state tourism motto of “Virginia is for Lovers.” The logo will be the first for a Virginia retirement community.

To build the massive 6-by-30-foot ode to lovers, Hermitage partnered with Burton Center for Arts & Technology. And the design pays tribute to the unique history of both the city of Roanoke and the Casselwold Mansion, which sits on the retirement community grounds.

The following day, Michael Learned will host a The Waltons 50th anniversary celebration. The classic series debuted on September 14th, 1972. And the story followed a family living through the Great Depression in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Michael Learned Starred in ‘The Waltons’ for Nine Years

Learned played matriarch Olivia Walton in the series. And during her seven-year run, she won three Primetime Emmy Awards for Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

The 83-year-old exited the series two years before its end in 1981. While she was happy with her place on the show, Learned told The Washington Post in 1979 that the nature of television filming was wearing on her. And she needed to take a break from the “stop and start” monotony.

“In a scene where there’s any real emotion, it’s very hard to dredge that up and then be stopped and then wait for half an hour and then dredge it up again,” she admitted.

However, after regretting walking away from the show, Learned returned to Walton Mountain for five more made-for-TV movies. And now, she’s once again returning to the show to celebrate its wholesome beginnings and place in Virginian history.

So on June 4th, Michael Learned will speak about her time on set. The actress will also share her favorite stories of her cast members. The audience will then have a chance to chat with the star during a meet-and-greet session from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Following the presentation, ticketholders will also enjoy a cookout and live music.

For any Outsiders living in the Roanoke area, you can buy tickets for the event for $10. And the purchase includes your meal. All proceeds will fund the Adult Care Center of Roanoke Valley. The program provides daytime care for dependent residents living at Hermitage Roanoke.