Happy Birthday Mary McDonough: Timeline of ‘The Waltons’ Actress’s Hollywood Career

by Anna Dunn

Mary McDonough, who brought joy to millions with her role as Erin Walton on The Waltons, turned 60 today. Here’s a look back on the actress’s exciting career.

The 1970s: Mary McDonough’s Career Begins

Mary McDonough’s acting career began in the 70s. At age 11, the young actress landed the part of Erin Walton on The Waltons. That role would put her name out into the world and launch her career.

The Waltons premiered in 1972 and lasted through 1981. People got to watch McDonough grow up on screen. The Waltons centered around a depression-era family in Virginia. It was a historical drama unafraid to tackle tough topics. In spite of this, McDonough has said she had a lot of fun working on set.

The 1980s

The 1980s saw Mary Mcdonough’s film debut. She played the lead in Lovely but Deadly. She also acted in multiple horror projects. In one, Midnight Offerings, McDonough co-starred with Melisa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie.

After the end of The Waltons, McDonough continued to act. One of the works she’s most known for outside of The Waltons is Impure Thoughts, where she played Sister Juliet. She also played roles in Funland, Hunter, and The Making of Me.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, she also reprised her role as Erin Walton multiple times for reunion specials. A Wedding on Walton’s Mountain, Mother’s Day on Walton’s Mountain, and A Day for Thanks on Walton’s Mountain premiered in the ’80s.

The 1990s

Throughout the 90s, McDonough participated in multiple reunion specials for The Waltons. She reprised her role as Erin Walton in A Walton Thanksgiving ReunionA Walton Wedding , and A Walton Easter.

She also continued to act in other films and take guest roles in television shows. McDonough played a guest role on E.R as well as Picket Fences, Promised Land, and Ally McBeal

The 2000’s

In the 2000s, McDonough’s acting career started to slow down. She guest-starred on hit shows like Will and Grace, The West Wing, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Boston Legal. She also started appearing on more radio shows.

Her role as Mrs. Wilhoite in The New Adventures of Old Christine was a recurring one. She appeared in eight episodes.

Mary McDonough in the 2010s and Today

After The New Adventures of Old Christine, McDonough didn’t feature in much. Instead, she focused on other work, such as advocating for body positivity and confidence after a breast implant made her ill. She has taken a role every couple of years or so continuing to act but also venturing into other creative fields.

Mary McDonough’s book, Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane, got adapted into a Hallmark film. The 2018 film is McDonough’s final credit on her impressive roster. While people would love to see her come back to acting, McDonough has spent some wonderful years in the industry.

At 60 years old, the actress has a lot she can be proud of.