‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Reveals the Similarities Between Herself and Her Character Mary Ellen

by Katie Maloney

How similar was Judy Norton to her character Mary Ellen on “The Waltons”?

It seems like actors always bring some part of themselves to their characters. Even so, it’s always interesting to hear just how similar or different an actor is to the character she plays. And that’s exactly what Judy Norton talked about during a recent episode of her video series, “Behind-the-Scenes with Judy Norton.” Norton, who played Mary Ellen on “The Waltons,” shared what she and her character have in common.

“There were a lot of similarities. I was definitely a tom-boy growing up. I’ve always been involved in a lot of sports. So, that part was very much the same,” said Norton.

She added that both she and Mary Ellen were “rebellious.” However, Mary Ellen was much more willing to act on those rebellious tendencies than Judy Norton was in real life.

“I had a rebellious streak but I didn’t like to get in trouble. So, unlike Mary Ellen who wasn’t afraid to get in trouble, I followed the rules more than Mary Ellen might. And I didn’t intentionally do things that would get me in trouble,” said Norton.

Norton said that playing her character on “The Waltons” allowed her to experience “the best of both worlds” when it came to being rebellious while staying out of trouble.

“So, the great thing about playing Mary Ellen is I got to be rebellious without suffering the consequences,” said Norton with a laugh. “So, best of both worlds.”

Judy Norton talks about “The Waltons”

There Is One Talent That Judy Norton Has That Mary Ellen Didn’t While On ‘The Waltons’

Mary Ellen may have been a bit braver when it came to acting rebellious. However, Norton possessed a talent that Mary Ellen never had on the show – the ability to sing. Unfortunately, fans never got to hear Norton sing while playing Mary Ellen on “The Waltons.” Norton explained why during the same episode of her video series.

“I think because Jason was really the musical one. At that point in time, Mary Ellen was becoming a nurse and very much engaged going down that path. So it didn’t make very much sense for my character to suddenly be singing in any capacity,” said Norton. “Plus, truth be told, I started studying voice when I was 16. Because I found out that I couldn’t really carry a tune. So, during a lot of the show, I don’t think I would have been all that impressive if I was singing. It took me a number of years of voice lessons to feel like I was ready for Primetime so to speak.”