‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Reveals What Career Path She Would’ve Chosen Second to Acting

by Suzanne Halliburton

Judy Norton, a star on The Waltons, does a charming web series about the show. She takes fans behind TV’s velvet rope and offers so many behind-the-scenes details.

And although The Waltons has been off the air since the 1980s, there are still plenty of fans who adore Mary Ellen and other characters on the show.

Last month, however, Norton took questions from fans and answered them in depth. One was an easy question — what would Norton have done if she never acted. She gave an unexpected answer.

“I started acting so young, I was about, oh gosh, maybe 4 or 5,” Norton said. “I started doing musical recitals. (And) I did theater, then TV, and I did commercials. Then when the series ended, I started going back to doing musical theater, then got into writing and directing. So when I was younger, when I was pretty much focused on acting.”

Costumer For The Waltons Introduced Norton to Horses

Now, here comes the interesting twist:

“I got into riding horses and jumping horses, which I loved,” Norton said. “No one else in my family had been involved with horses at all. I got interested because of a costumer I worked with on the Waltons who took me to a horse show and took me out to see her horse. And I said I wanted to do this.

“So at 15, I started doing that and there were points that I thought if I weren’t an actor, I’d want to train horses or be somehow involved with working with horses. So that was something early on that I was aware of. And then later on, I would always think about it. I wanted to stay in the creative field so that’s why I got into writing and singing and directing and things like that. The behind the scenes stuff in theater … because basically, I’m an artist at heart.”

No horses for the star of The Waltons. She stuck with the profession of acting, whether it was in front of a camera or audience, or behind the camera and curtains.

And in the same online show, Norton also talked of her admiration for what Mary Ellen did on The Waltons, once she graduated from school.

“I really enjoyed playing Mary Ellen,” Norton said. “Particularly, during when she was a nurse and riding up into the backwoods and taking care of people, so I really enjoyed those stories. I felt what my character was doing was very valuable. So that felt good.”

Check out Norton’s full show on The Waltons: