‘The Waltons’: Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Once Remembered When a New Cast Member Joined the Show

by Katie Maloney

Actress Judy Norton opens up about how this Walton sibling’s wife on the show was accepted into the family.

The Waltons were a tight-knit bunch. Although they had their family disagreements, they were fiercely protective of each other. Actress Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen on the show, said that the cast was the same way in real life. So, not everyone was accepted with open arms into the family. Each cast member had to decide if an actor would truly be accepted into the show and real-life Walton family. Luckily, actress Leslie Winston who played Cindy Walton (Ben’s wife) was quickly embraced. Cindy arrived during the episode titled “The Outsider” in season seven. Ben and Cindy arrive at the Walton home at 3 am to announce that they’ve married. Although the family is hesitant at first, they eventually realize that Ben and Cindy truly are in love. During a video for her vlog, Judy Norton talked about how The Waltons cast protected the “family.”

“In real life, we have an interesting dynamic amongst the members of the cast. We’re very protective of each other. And we’re very protective of the people who interact with our ‘brothers a’ and sisters,'” said Norton. “So, for us, each time one of us started dating someone new…these new people had to pass muster. And we would talk, ‘Oh, so and so is dating someone new, what do we think of them?’ And passing muster among our cast is not an easy task and not everyone has passed.”

Judy Norton Shares How The Waltons Chose New Family Members Both On and Off the Set

Judy Norton quickly pointed out that the cast never intentionally did anything to hurt anyone, they just had their ways of sizing up new “family” members.

“Not because we intentionally do anything to undermine anyone’s relationship. We wouldn’t do that,” said Norton. “But maybe we’d be less welcoming and they might not be included in the same way. We would be polite but a little more distant perhaps.”

Norton added that the Walton family quickly accepted Leslie both on and off the set.

“Leslie, when she came on set, we really embraced her. And I think she really felt that,” said Norton. “We have heard from guest stars that they always felt very welcome. And we always tried to make them feel welcome. And we did the same thing with Leslie. So, she did feel very much like she was allowed to enter the Walton family.”

The character of Cindy was one of the few siblings’ spouses that remained on the show and even appeared in the reunion specials.

“And in real life, we’re still good friends. And we still do things together. She’s one of the cast that is included in parties and weddings and, anniversaries, and births, all of that,” said Norton. “So we have shared in each other’s lives ever since she arrived on the show in season seven.”