‘The Waltons’: Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Called Her Audition ‘Unusual’ for One Reason

by Joe Rutland

Actors go on many auditions for roles. Judy Norton calls one she did to get the Mary Ellen role on “The Waltons” a bit unusual.

“They did something sort of unusual in that they had all the actors who were auditioning for the kids there at the same time,” Norton said in a 2019 interview with The College Crowd Digs Me. “They would put together a group of boys and girls and take us in, like, six at a time.”

Norton said she had one audition, then casting executives called her back a couple of times. It was the same type of setup as before.

Norton Recalls ‘The Waltons’ Execs Wanted To See Kids Together

“On the final audition, I guess they just wanted to see us all together,” she said. “There were the six of us and they had us all in the room. They looked at us and said, ‘OK. You are the actors we’d like to have do this film.'”

They did “The Homecoming” for CBS. It was well-received, so much so that it lead to the creation of “The Waltons.”

Norton was kind of a veteran when it came to acting, starting out when she was 6 years old.

“So I was always going out on various auditions,” she said. “And this particular audition was just for that Christmas movie, ‘The Homecoming.'”

Judy Norton Had No Idea Movie Would Lead To TV Series

She said that there was no idea the movie would lead into a regular TV series. Norton recalls that she was involved a scene in a barn where Mary Ellen and other kids were cracking walnuts.

“Mary Ellen had quite a lot to do in that scene,” Norton said. “So it allowed me the opportunity to stand out a bit.”

Norton managed to really take advantage of the role and hold her own against other talented actors. Richard Thomas, who played John-Boy Walton for a number of seasons, already had a lot of Broadway and TV experience.

Still, Judy Norton made memories as Mary Ellen on “The Waltons.” Those memories are still available for people to see around the world.