‘The Waltons’: How the Cast Accepted New Members to the Show

by John Jamison

Any long-running TV show is going to have its fair share of cast members leaving and joining. In the case of “The Waltons,” which followed a Virginia mountain family as they navigated life and grew up, it was mostly people joining. As family members grew, they made new friends and found relationships. As a result, new characters became part of the Waltons’ family.

A central member of the family, Mary Ellen actor Judy Norton has a great point of reference for what it was like when someone new would join the show.

In a Q&A style video she uploaded to Youtube, Judy Norton fielded a question along those lines. The question cited a tight bond between the cast and wondered if newcomers became “family” from a working standpoint. Judy’s answer? They trusted the show’s casting people.

“You know, we had such great casting people that the actors who came in to join the show always sort of fit. Leslie in particular, playing Cindy, was just a gem. She became not just someone we loved having on set, but someone that we very much embraced in our personal lives as well,” Norton said in her March Youtube video. “Same thing with Keith Coogan who played Jeffrey and Martha Nix who played Serena.”

‘The Waltons’ Cast Tried Their Best to Be Welcoming

At the end of the day, working as an actor on a TV show is a job. And like any other job, you have a responsibility to carry out your duties regardless of how you may feel about a coworker. If the people running the show want someone there, that person will be there regardless. So you might as well embrace them.

That’s exactly what Norton said the cast of “The Waltons” tried to do whenever someone new joined the team.

“I know as a cast we tried really hard to make people feel welcome when they came onto our set and worked with us. We wanted them to feel relaxed and we wanted it to be a pleasant experience for them. That was just kind of the way our cast was and the way our set was,” Judy continued in the video.

It sounds like a solid approach. And it seems to have worked, as Norton claimed that everyone who was a recurring character on the show still keeps in touch with one another. With the show ending in 1981, those are some impressive decade-spanning relationships.