‘The Waltons’: Why Grandma Actress Ellen Corby’s Acting Career Was ‘Thrown’ at Her

by Keeli Parkey
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Above all else, “The Waltons” is a television show about family. That’s what it is at its core. And, this focus is one of the reasons fans kept tuning in week after week after week.

Another part of the show’s success was the actors who brought those beloved characters to life. On the list of those actors was Ellen Corby. She famously played one of the eldest members of that beloved television family. That person was Grandma Walton.

Corby talked about her work on “The Waltons” and her acting career during an interview in 1976. According to IMDb.com, Corby was born on June 3, 1911, in Racine, Wisconsin. She passed away at the age of 87 in Los Angeles, California, on April 14, 1999.

According to what this actress from “The Waltons” had to share in 1976, her acting career was sort of a surprise for her. She talked about this on the legendary late-night show, “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.”

It was after Corby shared details about her early days in Hollywood that Carson asked her to talk about what led her to acting. Turns out, Corby got her start in entertainment with a job as a script clerk. She worked in that role for 11 years before a career in front of the camera came calling.

‘The Waltons’ Actress Ellen Corby Told Johnny Carson Why She Got Into Acting

Once he heard that “The Waltons” actress Ellen Corby had worked as a script clerk, Johnny Carson wanted to know if that job is what led her to become an actress. It’s a logical thing to assume, after all. However, according to Corby’s response, that was not the case.

“… Well, no. It was sort of thrown at me,” Corby told Johnny Carson in 1976. ” I came out – I was quite young. I came out and I was all ready. … was going to the greatest, you know?”

As have many others before her, and many others after, “The Waltons” actress discovered that making it in Hollywood was not quite so simple. But, she didn’t let that keep her from working hard to become a successful actress.

“Well, in short order I found out that’s not the way it worked,” Corby told Carson. “So, I did a little extra work. I did three double jobs until they told me I wasn’t a double. And, I said, ‘I know it. I’m getting out of this.'”

The actress kept working hard. And, luckily for her, she later found success. You can watch Ellen Corby talk about her career and appearing on “The Waltons” below.

Outsider.com