‘The Waltons’: Why the Series’ Cancellation Was ‘Bittersweet’ for Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton

by Anna Dunn

Series cancellations are often hard on the actors. This was true for actress Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen on the hit series, The Waltons. Even if a show’s cancellation isn’t particularly a surprise, it can still be tough news.

“We found out that the show was not being renewed after season 9 and before we were going to start season 10,” Norton described in one of her youtube videos where she talks about The Waltons. Norton also said the news wasn’t necessarily a surprise. With almost ten seasons’ worth of episodes, The Waltons started to reach a natural conclusion.

“I think a lot of us sort of felt like the show was coming to an end,” she said. “There was that sort of feel about it. But expecting something and actually hearing about it are two different things.”

Not to mention, many on the cast of The Waltons didn’t hear about the show cancellation the way they should have. Higher-ups didn’t communicate with cast members on the issue. Many found out from the news or from friends.

“I heard about it through the grapevine. Nobody called and said the show hadn’t been picked up. I think someone called and told me they heard it on the news,” she said.

‘The Waltons’ Cancellation Was the End of an Era

Once the cancellation was over, it was hard for Judy Norton to adjust to life off the set of The Waltons. Many actors and actresses struggle after losing a role they played for so many decades. For child actors, the loss is particularly hard as they grow up in that environment.

“As long as the show was running, there was a predictability to the show that I loved. I knew where I was going to work. That I was going to be working 9 months out of the year with people I loved working within a situation I was very familiar with. But I also knew the show was going to end, and I had to determine what my next steps were,” Norton said.

Losing that predictability can be hard on actors, and Norton admitted that “ever since then, there’s a sense of something missing.”

But she loves when she gets to do specials with the cast. Now, Norton hosts her own series on YouTube, Behind the Scenes With Judy Norton, where she tells fans insider information about what it was like to work on the show and analyzes her own favorite episodes. Losing The Waltons must have been hard, but now, Norton gives the show new relevance with her interesting perspective.