‘The Waltons’: Ben Actor Eric Scott Rejected Critics’ Stance That Show Was ‘Too Sweet’

by Joe Rutland

Actor Eric Scott, who played Ben Walton on “The Waltons,” didn’t like the fact that critics took a rather interesting view of the show.

Scott appeared in all of “The Waltons” nine seasons on CBS. In fact, Scott, Jon Walmsley [Jason Walton], Mary McDonough [Erin Walton], and Kami Cotler [Elizabeth Walton] are the lone actors that appeared in all episodes.

“It was funny,” Scott said in a 2011 interview with Herbie J Pilato. “Because when we’d read certain reviews that said we were too schmaltzy or a little too sweet, we just never thought that was the case.

“I mean, there’d be scenes where John Walton [Ralph Waite] would lose his patience, and yell at the kids whether it was right or wrong,” Scott said. “So, I disagreed with the critics back then.”

The family drama show was set in the Virginia mountains during the Great Depression and World War II. “The Waltons” provided a view of life on Walton’s Mountain through the memories of show creator Earl Hamner Jr. Hamner also acted as narrator throughout its run.

Scott, though, has not been active in show business in recent years. Once the series left CBS, he reprised his role of Ben in six TV movies based on “The Waltons.” That last one was in 1997 and called “A Walton Easter.”

‘The Waltons’ Star Turned Into A Businessman After His Show Business Career

His focus these days is on being a businessman. Scott runs Chase Messengers, a parcel delivery service, in Sherman Oaks, Calif., according to an article from American Profile.

“The love of the business was not as artistic for me as it was money,” Scott said in the article. “I just wanted to make money, and when the money dried up, I said, ‘I have to do something with my time, and the money will happen.'”

Obviously, Waite and Michael Learned [Olivia Walton] were leaders of the family. Will Geer [Grandpa Walton] and Ellen Corby [Grandma Walton] provided wisdom when called for in the episodes. Geer died in 1978, sadly, and Corby suffered a stroke during her time on the show. When she recovered, Corby did return but her speech pattern was hampered.

Another one of Scott’s costars was Judy Norton [Mary Ellen Walton]. She continued to be involved in show business and revisits “The Waltons” episodes on her YouTube show “Behind the Scenes of ‘The Waltons’.” One scene Norton talked about was from “The Quilting” and she talked about sharing a scene with Learned.

“I loved doing the scene with Michael in the attic, with the hope chest and all that that represented,” Norton said. “That’s just such a typical example of the beautiful work that Michael created as Olivia. It’s just sweet and does touch on a beautiful tradition. And trying to get Mary Ellen to see it that way, as opposed to just a way to announce that she’s there to be married.”