Michael Learned reflected the hard work ethic of a mother raising children when she portrayed Olivia Walton on The Waltons. For her work, Learned won three Primetime Emmy Awards. To well-meaning viewers, it looked like Olivia had her stuff together. That’s the character, OK. Perfection is not something Olivia could reach. If she couldn’t, then forget about Learned in her real life.
Fans of The Waltons might be shocked to know that Learned does not walk around with a halo on her head. Far from it. Recently, Learned, now 84, spent time with TV daughter Judy Norton. They got together for an In The Kitchen segment together. Norton and Learned also chatted together away from the kitchen, too. During their chats, Learned admitted something to Norton that might shock some people.
“I have a filthy mouth, as you well know,” Learned said. “I let some kind of swear word escape once, and I saw people, it almost knocked them to the floor. ‘Olivia Walton knows that word!’ She also knows where those kids came from, too.”
Norton has been regularly doing retrospectives and interviews about The Waltons for a period of time. Having Learned On is a solid catch for Norton’s show. Meanwhile, Leanred was quite aware of people’s expectations for her around playing Olivia. “It’s a responsibility, really, when you’re playing that kind of a role,” Learned said.
‘The Waltons’ Let Michael Learned Show Love For Kids
Learned, in her role as Olivia, also showed that she had a deep love for her kids in the show. It is something that came naturally to her. “Well, that was easy because I loved my kids,” Learned said, according to Do You Remember. “I have the good fortune to enjoy my children, I got the great joy of having two families, my own and you guys.”
From 1972-81, The Waltons made an imprint on the world of television. It presented a way for people to connect when it came to seeing families represented. Learned worked well with Ralph Waite, who played John Walton. Learned owed Waite a debt of gratitude away from work. At one time, Learned struggled with drinking too much alcohol.
When Learned talked about it with Waite, he suggested that she try one of the meetings he’d regularly go to in his life. Learned took the suggestion and ended up going to her first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Waite had been a part of the community for some time.
TV Show Remains Popular Even Today
The Waltons remains a popular show in reruns. They can be seen on MeTV every weekday. Besides Learned, Norton, and Waite, a lot of people still connect Richard Thomas to the show. Thomas, of course, played John-Boy Walton on there. He’s continued to work since the show went off the air.
Learned still has some contact with fellow cast members.
When thinking of The Waltons, the show had some solid actors playing Grandpa and Grandma Walton. Will Geer, who played Grandpa, was known to sometimes “moon” fellow cast members. He was a true character in a good way. Veteran actress Ellen Corby played Grandma and did so with a lot of pride. Even after suffering a debilitating stroke, Corby came back to work on time.
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