‘The Waltons’ Star Michael Learned Had Hilarious Reaction to Winning First Emmy: ‘No Expectation of Winning’

by Keeli Parkey

Like many actors, actress Michael Learned wanted to show up on the set and go about her business with professionalism and passion. And, according to an interview she gave during 2020, she never thought she would receive an award for her work on “The Waltons.”

But, as fate would have it, Learned did win an award for her role as Olivia Walton. In fact, according to the Yahoo!Life article, the actress won three Emmy Awards for her work on “The Waltons.”

She would win a fourth Emmy Award later on for her work on the CBS show “Nurse.”

But, it is her first Emmy Award for “The Waltons” that still stood out to Michael Learned as of 2020.

‘The Waltons’ Actress Michael Learned Felt First Emmy Awards Ceremony Was a ‘Big Thrill’

“Well, the first Emmy was a big thrill because I didn’t expect it at all,” Learned said. “My son Chris was my date, with his long ’70s hair, braces and a tiny little goatee. We both got all dressed up, I was in my first big gown with a feather boa no less — so Hollywood! — and the makeup people from the show came over for nothing and did my hair. …”

Even all dressed up at the awards ceremony, winning an Emmy wasn’t even in the cards for the actress. Or, she believed at the time. However, as fate would have it, the actress was able to add “Emmy winner” to her resume.

“I had no expectation of winning, and when they called my name, they mispronounced it slightly. It was a female actress and nobody knew who ‘Michael Learned’ was, so I think they were a little confused, like, ‘This must be a mistake,'” Learned said.

In fact, the actress needed her son, Chris, to give her the reality check she needed. It was his reaction that signaled to her that she had just won her first Emmy Award for her work on “The Waltons.”

“So we were just sitting there and suddenly I saw Chris’ eyes go wide like plates, and I realized they were talking about me! What a thrill, I can’t even begin to tell you,” Learned recounted.

Michael Learned Once Said Her Parenting Style Was Different from Her Television Role

As the mother of the Walton clan, Olivia Walton had a pretty tough job to do. And, as portrayed by Michael Learned, the matriarch of the family was fairly strict. However, in real life Michael Learned wasn’t so tough on her own children.

She also talked about her parenting philosophy in the that 2020 interview with Yahoo!.

“… We had a wonderful housekeeper named Mrs. Blair who was a lifesaver for me, I couldn’t have asked for anyone better,” Learned reportedly said. “She was a little stricter with the kids than I was, and we needed that because I was very permissive as a parent. …”