‘The Waltons’: Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Opens Up About the ‘Confidence’ of Her Character

by Clayton Edwards
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The Waltons ran for nine seasons. After its original run, the series spawned six feature-length films. Judy Norton was there for all of it. She played Mary Ellen, the oldest daughter in the Walton family. Norton has a wealth of knowledge about the classic series because she was there for all of it. Today, she shares that knowledge with fans of the show.

Judy Norton hosts a web series on her YouTube channel. In that series, she takes fans behind the scenes of The Waltons. She tells stories about her time on the set. Additionally, she breaks down fan-favorite episodes of the show. However, when she dives into episodes, she doesn’t just deliver a series of trivia facts. Instead, Norton gives her perspective on the storylines. At the same time, she can talk in-depth about her character and how she built up to certain things in the show.

Earlier this year, Judy Norton discussed the season one episode, “The Actress.” In that episode, a famous movie star is stranded on Walton’s Mountain after her car breaks down. She ends up spending a few days with the family until John Boy can get her back on the road. While there, the actress endears herself to the family. She also exposes some of Mary Ellen’s insecurities.

In an installment of her web series from January of this year, Judy Norton discussed Mary Ellen’s confidence and insecurities.

Judy Norton On Mary Ellen’s Confidence And Insecurity

Judy Norton did a short dive into Mary Ellen’s confidence in the show. She refers to scenes from “The Actress,” as well as a handful of other episodes to highlight the duality of the character. On one hand, she was a very self-assured young woman. However, on the other hand, she had some major insecurities about her appearance.

For instance, Judy Norton points out episodes like “The Minstrel,” where Jamie draws her picture. Mary Ellen doesn’t think she’s pretty after seeing the portrait. She also looks to the episode, “The Homecoming.” In that episode, Mary Ellen asks her mother if Olivia thinks she’s pretty. Olivia says, “No. I think you’re beautiful.”

Judy Norton goes on to say that “The Actress,” truly highlights the insecurities of the character. In that episode, the famous and glamorous actress compliments Mary Ellen on her looks saying that she is a very pretty girl. Mary Ellen, however, doesn’t agree.

Norton said that she understood what her character was going through. About this, she said, “I understand having gone through those phases. Because I went back and forth a lot during those times. Sometimes doing The Waltons made it even more difficult.”

Judy Norton said that the extra difficulty came from doing episodes like “The Actress.” In episodes like this, Judy would have to look into herself and study her own insecurities. This allowed her to really understand the emotions that her character was dealing with.

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