Donna Douglas (1933-2014)

Donna Douglas passed away January 2; she was 81. She gained fame as Ellie May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies, which premiered in 1962 and ran until 1971. Before that she worked everywhere on TV from Route 66 to 77 Sunset Strip. She even worked in the Twilight Zone.

Donna Douglas in 1967.

Donna Douglas in 1967.

Her first Twilight Zone episode, “The Eye of the Beholder”, aired in 1960.

The plot: Janet Tyler is undergoing her eleventh treatment (the maximum number legally allowed) in an attempt to look like everybody else. Will it work?

Nope. Failure. When the bandages are removed she looks like blonde actress Donna Douglas…and everyone else has a hogsnout instead of a nose.

Her other appearance in the series was “Cavender Is Coming” (1962), a backdoor pilot for a comedy that enjoys the odd distinction of being the only episode of Twilight Zone originally broadcast with a laugh track.

After “Hillbillies” ended, Douglas guested on Serling’s Night Gallery, and Project UFO, among others. In addition to Hillbillies revival projects, she appeared as herself on CBS’ sitcom The Nanny in 1999.

Postscript: She also appeared as a character in The Beverly Hillbillies comic, and one issue even had a vaguely stfnal theme, John King Tarpinian points out.

Beverly Hillbillies comic COMP

[Via SF Site News.]

4 thoughts on “Donna Douglas (1933-2014)

  1. Wonder who the cover artist was? Mort Drucker often drew these “celebrity” or TV-themed comics, but those were for DC. This is Dell, and the style is’t Drucker’s. It might possible be Jack Davis, but I just don’t know. Doubtful.

  2. What amazed me with the sad news of Ms. Douglas’ passing, was the realization thst she was 28 or 29 when she began work onTHE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES. In that Hollywood era, under the circumstances, that wss customarily considered “ancient.”

    The NEXT season of the series would have had Ellie May married (to an airline pilot, as I recall), but then James Aubrey, head of CBS, decided to axe all their “rural comedies,” although they were all still successful!

  3. JAMES H. BURNS: The late Mr. Aubrey was said to be ruthless both in his personal and professional lives, and he could see the demographic coming of the early Baby Boomers and the increased concentration of audience in metropolitan areas. Combine that with the runaway critical and audience success of “modern” Norman Lear shows beginning with All in the Family, and you got the abrupt cancellation, even though high in overall ratings, of comedies which were favored by older and rural adults (The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and such) for younger-skewing programs like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and M*A*S*H.

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