‘The Waltons’: This Love to Hate Character Was Played by a Critically Acclaimed Actress

by Taylor Cunningham

Fans of The Waltons loved to hate the wealthy and haughty Corabeth Godsey, and that was all thanks to actress Ronnie Claire Edwards, an acclaimed star who critics claimed was nothing short of a “treasure.”

Corabeth was Walton Mountain’s resident debutant gossip. When she first appeared on the classic TV series, she was poor, plain, and meek. And she kept her distance from the wholesome townsfolk who would have gladly accepted her just as she was.

Not long after arriving, though, she married Ike. And she quickly transformed into a social butterfly who had the high-society intellect and social graces that made it apparent that she had always been preparing to marry into money.

Corabeth wasn’t an altogether horrible character, however. In most situations, she meant well. But she couldn’t help but over-involve herself in other people’s business. And she was usually handing out petty rumors when she did.

And all along, she was perfectly played by Edwards, an actress who was loved by Hollywood’s most discerning critics and fellow actors alike.

“She was larger than life and so whip-smart and funny,” Erin’s Mary McDonough told The Windsor Star in 2016.

‘The Waltons’ Actress Spent Time on Broadway Before Becoming a Classic TV Star

Ronnie Claire Edwards was a renowned character actress in her day. She started her TV career late in life. But that didn’t stop her from immediately finding work in movies and series before eventually landing a regular role in one of television’s most famous shows, The Waltons, in 1975.

The actress credited her upbringing for her success in Hollywood. As she told The Times and Democrat in 1977, her parents were encouraging, down-to-earth people who always pushed wisdom about all else.

“For instance,” she said, “I always knew that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp and to thine own self be true and all of those.”

So when she was older, she took all those words to heart and decided to prioritize her passion for performing. When she was younger, she studied dance. And then went on to earn a bachelor of fine arts to prepare her for the stage in her home state of Oklahoma.

And as soon as she started showcasing her talents during live performances, the critics began writing rave reviews about the up-and-coming star who could bring an “uncommon” personality to the most common roles.

“I will swear by Ronnie Claire Edwards,” they wrote, “Ronnie Claire Edwards is an Oklahoma treasure.”

Thanks to the fanfare, Edwards headed to Broadway before finding her place in front of the cameras. And later in her career, she enjoyed parts on shows such as Murder She Wrote and Designing Women and movies like 8 Seconds.

But with over 100 episodes on The Waltons, the series is likely her most famous project. She also hinted that it was her favorite character. And she always said it was an absolute compliment when fans would tell her just how much Corabeth Godsey made their blood boil.