‘The Waltons’: Mary Elizabeth McDonough Explained Why She Doesn’t Watch Show Today

by Quentin Blount
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One would think that as a famous actor or actress, you would enjoy going back and watching your work. But that wasn’t always the case for one of The Waltons actresses.

Mary Elizabeth McDonough is both a well-known actress and writer. But she is perhaps best remembered for her role as Erin Walton on The Waltons from 1972 to 1981. McDonough first rose to fame as a child actor, having been cast for her role on the popular TV series at just 11 years old.

On one hand, it would be kind of cool to look back at ourselves as a kid, starring in one of the most popular television series of its time. But on the other hand, it may also be a little embarrassing. And for Mary Elizabeth McDonough, it seems like it was more of the latter.

‘The Waltons’ Actress Explains Her Thoughts

The now-59-year-old looked back on her time on The Waltons in a memoir she wrote. And during a 2011 interview with Melissa Parker and Smashing Interviews Magazine, she explains her thoughts behind not wanting to watch The Waltons nearly 40 years later. One exchange during their back-and-forth perfectly illustrates McDonough’s perspective.

Parker begins to ask her, “When you watch the show now …”

Mary McDonough was quick to stop the interviewer right there.

“I don’t watch the show,” she admits. “You know, I didn’t watch it while I was writing the book because I wanted to write it from my memory of it and I thought that watching it would trigger memories, but Richard Thomas recently told me that I needed to watch it.”

From the perspective of the interviewer, it would be pretty sweet to watch yourself star on a TV show as a just a little kid. Parker says, “I would think that after so many years it would become surreal to you.”

McDonough goes on to say that if she were to watch The Waltons today that she would constantly critique herself.

Well yeah. It is very surreal,” she adds. “And if I watch it I just pick it apart and go, ‘Oh, I’m talking too fast. Why didn’t anybody give me an acting lesson?'”

But as a professional actress, McDonough’s point of view isn’t all that surprising. She wants to be at her best at all times, even as just a child.

For more on Mary Elizabeth McDonough and the rest of The Waltons cast, be sure to stay tuned in right here on Outsider.

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