‘The Waltons’: Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Once Appeared on a Game Show

by Katie Maloney

Judy Norton enlisted the help of her co-stars and crew from The Waltons to compete on this popular game show.

To land a starring role on one of the countries most popular shows for nine seasons straight, you have to be ambitious. And Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen on The Waltons certainly was ambitious. During an episode of her video series, Behind the Scenes with Judy Norton, Norton revealed that she’s always had a competitive side. And she got to unleash her competitive nature when she participated in the game show called Battle of The Network Stars. The show consisted of a series of various sporting events that television stars from ABC, CBS, and NBC would compete in. A total of 19 of these competitions were held between 1976 and 1988, and Judy Norton competed in three of them.

“I did three Battle of the Network Stars. And I’m very competitive. I love sports. Sports have been my hobby throughout my life,” said Norton. “So, doing battle, I loved everything about it. I loved the competition. I loved meeting the other actors. And challenging myself to do new things.”

Judy Norton talks about Battle of the Stars.

The Waltons Cast and Crew Taught Judy Norton How to Play Football For the Game Show

However, there was one competition that stood out to Norton as her favorite: football. She had never learned how to play football but that didn’t stop her (remember the competitive nature?). Instead, she enlisted the help of her Waltons family to help her learn the skills she needed to dominate on the game show.

“One of the things that was the most fun for me was – I never played football. I have never thrown a football or caught a football. So, I remember taking a football to set with me on The Waltons because we were filming. And having the guys on the crew throw the football and having me learn how to catch it,” said Norton. For that [Battle of the Network Stars], I didn’t have to learn how to throw. I just had to be able to catch.

Any free time Norton had, she used to practice her football skills with members of the The Waltons crew.

“So, at downtime when I wasn’t working or when a crew member had a little bit of time because they were shooting something he wasn’t needed for, I’d have him throw a football,” said Norton. “So, the crew was very instrumental in helping me learn how to catch a football. Which came in very handy. I did very well in football in Battle of the Network Stars.”