‘The Waltons’: How Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton’s Costumes Were Chosen for the Series

by Keeli Parkey

Actress Judy Norton is becoming a go-to authority on the making of “The Waltons” television show. And, why shouldn’t she be? She did play Mary Ellen Walton in the series, after all.

Recently, Norton has been posting videos of her talking about the show on her YouTube channel. She has covered a variety of topics in these videos and has offered fans her unique perspective on “The Waltons.”

In a video posted on March 4, 2021, Norton discussed how costumes were chosen for the series. This video was also part of her “Ask Judy” series where she answers questions submitted by fans.

“So, today I am going to be talking about the clothes. ‘The Walton’ wardrobe department,” Norton explained. “I’ve had a few questions.”

One of those fan questions led Judy Norton to address how wardrobe was selected on “The Waltons.”

“So, we worked at Warner Brothers Studios. Warner Brothers had a wardrobe department. So for the first season, we did go up, we had appointments. We had costume fittings,” Norton said. “And, I went up to see our costumer, Patricia Norris. And, she had a number of things set aside for me to try on that were of the period. That would be, not only correct for the time period, but also for where the Waltons lived in this rural area of Virginia.”

Norris was an Oscar-nominated costume designer, Norton said. And, she brought her talent to the show.

“Patricia Norris was with us on ‘The Waltons’ for five seasons. … Patricia went on and continued to work on a number of shows and films. She was nominated for six Oscars, including for ’12 Years a Slave’ for which she was nominated and won multiple awards for that fabulous film,” Norton said.

Judy Norton Said Costume Designers Would Review Scripts of ‘The Waltons’ to Select What the Actors Would Wear

After trying on potential costumes, Judy Norton also said the costumer chose which worked best for episodes of “The Waltons.”

“And then, the ones that worked right – fit me the way the costumer wanted them to and also worked for the show – would have been set aside in my section of wardrobe. … each actor had a section for their wardrobe,” Norton recalled. “In a given scene our costume designers and our onset wardrobe people would – they’d break down the script and decide how many different days, how many different costumes for each character, and then they would choose which things they wanted us to wear on which day.”

You can watch Judy Norton discuss costumes on “The Waltons” below.