This actress opened up about some of her favorite memories on the set of The Waltons and her career after the show.
Actress Mary McDonough was cast as Erin Walton when she was 10 years old. First, she played Erin in The Homecoming, the movie that inspired The Waltons series. Almost overnight, McDonough’s life as a normal kid changed and she was living the Hollywood life.
Decades later, in 2011, McDonough shared the details of her onset experiences in her memoir, Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton. In the book, McDonough shares what it was like working with The Waltons cast, crew, and guest stars. During an interview, McDonough talked about her book and life on the show.
“You know, there are good times and bad times with everything. And I wanted in the book to share the really good memories and good times on the set,” said McDonough. “The special fond memories of each cast member as well as the behind-the-scenes antics. We did have a lot of fun. And we’re still very close and it’s a wonderful thing to be part of.”
However, the book isn’t just about her life on the set of The Waltons. It also tackles important women’s issues. And McDonough hopes that readers will pick up on that.
“I hope the word really gets out about it being a woman’s book, not just a ‘Walton’s’ book,” said McDonough.
Mary Opens Up About Body Image Struggles Following The Waltons
In addition to behind-the-scenes stories from the show, McDonough also opened up about body image issues and insecurities that she battled her whole life. She said that these struggles were exacerbated by being thrown into a television world she didn’t know how to navigate.
“Yeah and my total fear, the fear of something that was new and unknown. It wasn’t so much of, ‘Oh, I couldn’t do anything new,’ but it was being constantly put into situations where I didn’t know what was expected of me,” said McDonough. “But I had this pressure that I had to do it perfectly even though I didn’t know what I was doing. That’s why I refer to it in the book as, ‘I’m walking the plank all of the time.’ I was terrified to make mistakes.”
Eventually, these insecurities led McDonough to get breast implants after The Waltons ended. She said she was trying to fit into a Hollywood image.
“Oh yeah. I would never have made such a stupid choice had I not already had self-esteem issues and body image issues already in place,” said McDonough. “I was always trying to fit in. Trying to fit into the costumes, the beauty pageant stuff, the everything that had happened, you know? And of course, it started way before that with my second-grade teacher, trying to fit in and be perfect.”
Shortly after getting the implants, McDonough fell ill. The silicone from the implants leaked into her body and caused flu-like symptoms. Eventually, she was diagnosed with Lupus. After her diagnosis, McDonough became the Founding President of Lupus LA. Since then, she’s spent over 14 years advocating for women’s issues.