‘The Waltons’: Judy Norton Said Sissy Spacek Was ‘Very Professional and Dedicated’ While Guest-Starring

by John Jamison
(Photo by Brownie Harris/Corbis via Getty Images)

Judy Norton crossed paths with several famous faces during her time on The Waltons. Here at Outsider, we’ve covered the likes of Ron Howard and Merle Haggard appearing on the beloved ’70s family drama. But did you know Academy Award-winning actress Sissy Spacek stopped by for a multiple-episode arc too?

According to Norton, working with the Carrie and Coal Miner’s Daughter star was nothing short of a delight. Of course, Spacek’s 1973 appearances on The Waltons came years before she portrayed Carrie or Loretta Lynn to critical acclaim.

The Mary Ellen Walton actor talked about the experience of working with Spacek at that stage of her career. However, Norton admits that she can’t recall it perfectly.

“What a joy to work with someone like that. I don’t have a lot of specific recollections about her. I didn’t have a lot of scenes with her. But she was very professional. She was right on top of what she was doing all the time and very dedicated. I thought she really created this character beautifully,” Norton said in a new installment of her YouTube series, Behind the Scenes.

The way Norton tells it, Spacek was going places. Even though the 6-time Academy Award-nominated actress wasn’t a household name when she appeared on The Waltons, it was only a matter of time.

“It was so clear from even this early part of her career how talented Sissy Spacek is, and it was such an honor to have somebody like that who has gone on to have such a distinguished career to be a guest on our show a couple of times,” said Norton.

Spacek played a Walton Mountain teen named Sarah Jane Simmons. The character dreams of leaving rural Virginia behind and appeared in two episodes of Season 2 titled “The Oddysey” and “The Townie.”

Other Stars from ‘The Waltons’ Named Sissy Spacek One of Their Favorite Guest Stars

It’s hard to argue that any guest star on The Waltons went to have as distinguished a career as Sissy Spacek. At least, in terms of acting. But just because someone is a talented actor doesn’t automatically mean the rest of the cast will love her.

But by most accounts, Sissy Spacek was a welcome addition to The Waltons cast when she appeared on the show in the 1970s. John Boy actor Richard Thomas has gone on record saying she was one of his favorite guest stars. And in her memoir, Erin Walton actor Mary McDonough had only kind things to say about Spacek.

“She and Richard cut up and are in more than a few gag reel shots together. Sissy even looked like us with her red hair and freckles,” McDonough’s memoir reads. “It was so fun to watch all of her movies over the years. I liked to think we were a stop on her train to the Oscars.”