"The legacy of 'The Waltons' is that it lives on in the hearts of people who responded to the message of love and forgiveness and strength. Those are good messages."
About This Interview
In her two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Michael Learned speaks of her early life and theatrical training. She recalls early roles on Canadian television and acting on stage in San Francisco in a production of "Private Lives" directed by Francis Ford Coppola. She discusses her iconic role of "Olivia Walton" on the classic CBS series The Waltons, recalling how she replaced Patricia Neal who'd earlier played the role. She describes her chemistry with Ralph Waite who played "John Walton," her husband on the show. Learned outlines the various changes over the run of the show, including the declining health of Ellen Corby ("Grandma Walton"), the death of Will Geer ("Grandpa Walton"), and the departure of Richard Thomas ("John-Boy"). She speaks of leaving The Waltons and her subsequent return to television in the short-lived series Nurse. She talks about numerous guest-starring roles, made-for-television movie roles, and roles she played in various daytime dramas. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on November 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.