‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Shares Advice For Aspiring Actors

by Clayton Edwards

Judy Norton isn’t the most prolific actor in Hollywood. However, what she lacks in quantity of roles she makes up for in quality. For instance, she was in Stargate SG-1 and several smaller films and television shows. But, the thing that most people know her for is her stint on The Waltons. She played the Walton family’s eldest daughter Mary Ellen for the series’ entire run. Then, she reprised her role for all six of the made-for-TV movies that came from the series. So, as far as acting goes, she is fairly knowledgeable.

Judy Norton runs a web series that usually takes fans behind the scenes of The Waltons. She takes time to break down entire episodes in some installments of her web series. On others, she talks about broader topics related to the show. However, some of the most interesting installments are the ones where she answers questions from her fans. You never know what you’re going to get from one of those. Sometimes, it’s Waltons-based trivia. Other times, she gives insight into her life or career in general.

In her most recent installment, Judy Norton took the time to answer a wide array of questions from her audience. At one point during the video, she gave some advice to aspiring actors.

Judy Norton on Getting Into Acting

One fan wanted to know “How would you advise teens who want to become actors or older people who may wish to pursue acting?”

Judy Norton got into the business decades ago. So, she first looked to the past and discussed how people used to break out onto the scene. However, many of these options are still viable today. She started with, “Sometimes it’s through school. That they went to theatre school or they went and studied in a film program at college.” On the other hand, she realizes that not everyone is cut out for theatre school or a collegiate film program. “Sometimes people come up through community theatre or doing things like that.”

Judy Norton then said that you don’t have to go to get acting education from a traditional source. “Taking classes is always a great way to learn your craft and also to network. There are people who are experts who do different kinds of workshops and seminars.” Really, she said, it boils down to learning your craft and networking with other people in the business.

Then, Judy Norton highlighted some of the differences between getting work when she started and now. “Nowadays there are so many ways to be able to reach out to people. The traditional ways involved getting an agent and having that agent submit you for work. Now, there are sites that allow you to submit yourself directly. There are advertisements in trade magazines and things like that within the industry.”

Finally, Judy Norton summed up her advice by saying, “So, [there are] a lot of different ways to get going at whatever age you’re interested in. Then, it’s a lot of perseverance and a good degree of luck.”