‘The Waltons’: Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Opens Up ‘Odd’ Similarities and Differences Between Two Characters on the Series

by Keeli Parkey

Thanks to her “Behind the Scenes of ‘The Waltons’” videos, actress Judy Norton has educated fans on many details about the beloved family drama. Her videos have covered a variety of topics.

In a video she posted to her YouTube channel during December 2020, the Mary Ellen Walton actress focused on two characters from the show. These were Ike Godsey and Corabeth Godsey. These popular characters were played by actor Joe Conley and actress Ronnie Claire Edwards in the series.

According to Norton, Conley and Edwards were like the characters they played on “The Waltons” in some ways – and different from them in others.

“In real life, Joe was less like Ike than Ronnie Claire was like Corabeth, which is kind of odd,” Norton said.

The Mary Ellen actress then talked about how Conley split his time between his job on the series and another career.

“Joe in real life was also a real estate broker. And throughout the course of ‘The Waltons’ he still operated as a real estate agent and broker,” Norton said. “Fortunately, he had offices with staff that could run … Because he didn’t work every day on ‘The Waltons’ he was still able to combine those two activities in his life.”

Judy Norton Said Ronnie Claire Edwards ‘Was Larger Than Life’

While Ronnie Claire Edwards was not as much like her character as Joe Conley was his, there were some similarities.

“Ronnie Claire was like Corabeth in that she was larger than life,” Norton said. “She had a dramatic flair. And because she was from the South that was not a put-on accent. She really did talk like that.”

Norton also said that Edwards was a very capable actress.

“And, although she was not as unaware as Corabeth was about how – the effect she was creating – Ronnie Claire knew exactly what she doing,” Judy Norton said. “And so it was put on for effect but in a more natural way. She knew exactly what she was doing.”

Judy Norton Talked About How Ike Godsey Actor Joe Conley Was Close to the Cast of ‘The Waltons’

One quality of actor Joe Conley’s that stood out to his costars on “The Waltons” was his singing voice, according to Judy Norton. She also remembered him for his friendship with another one of their costars.

“He and Eric Scott [who played Ben Walton] were very close,” Norton said. “There were storylines with Ike and Ben, namely when they put together a little song and dance troupe, which we saw in one episode. And then we heard Ike sing – Joe sing – from time to time. He had a beautiful voice – a trained voice.”

Remaining close to their costars is something that has brought joy to Judy Norton.

“Eric stayed close with Joe throughout his life. And we, as a cast, were also close with Joe and his wife,” she said. “Joe would get together with Eric regularly right up until his passing. So, I was really happy to see that those relationships continued.”

You can watch Judy Norton talk about “The Waltons” below. Her comments about Ike Godsey and Corabeth Godsey begin around the 5:30 mark of the video.