Thanks to reruns, we can watch The Waltons in this modern era. The show ended more than 40 years ago. Not many people remember it from the original airing. But at the time, The Waltons earned the title of the best TV series at the time. Fans nowadays struggle to recognize the aging cast. And it is only normal and logical. So, what happened to the cast of The Waltons?
The Waltons aired for nine seasons on CBS between 1972 and 1982. It inspired movies with the same characters. Some of the show’s cast members have passed away. Others are still here, but unrecognizable. During its run, the show won 2 Golden Globes and earned more than 70 nominations in different categories. Let’s see what happened to the cast of The Waltons?
Jon Walmsley – Jason Walton
Some fans remember Jon Walmsley for his contribution and accomplishments as a musician. But others remember him as an accomplished actor. He had a great nine-year run as Jason Walton during the 1970s. Following the end of the show, he played a part in many of the Waltons reunion projects and movies in the 1980s and 1990s. He also voiced Christopher Robin for the Winnie the Pooh cartoons.
Jon continued playing the character through the 1990s, in Walton Thanksgiving Reunion, Walton Wedding, Walton Easter, and more.
In the 2000s, Jon had some cameo and guest-appearance roles in shows like 7th Heaven, 8 Simple Rules, It’s always sunny in Philadelphia, and more.
Walmsley also worked as a composer and producer. He composed the music for the Waltons show, but also for series like 7th Heaven and 8 Simple Rules.
Mary Beth McDonough – Erin Walton
The American actress and writer made her name as Erin Walton on The Waltons. She played a part in the show from 1972 to 1981.
She started as a child actor, and after the show ended, she made her debut in the movies. Her first movie role came in the action Lovely but Deadly. In 1981, she also appeared in Midnight Offerings.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Mary appeared in Walton’s reunions and movies.
And then in the 2000s, she returned to television with guest-appearance on Boston Legal and The New Adventures of Old Christine.
She also wrote a book, Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane. In 2018, Hallmark channel adapted the book into a movie, starring Colin Ferguson and Alicia Witt. McDonough had a minor supporting role in the movie.
Eric Scott – Ben Walton
Eric rose to fame as Ben Walton, and never reprised that success in another franchise. Fun fact: Eric appeared in the television movie that inspired the show, The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.
During the 1980s, Eric starred in a couple of movies, including The Loch Ness Horror and The Fall Guy. But he never reached the success he had with The Waltons.
That is why he continued portraying Ben Walton in Waltons specials during the 1980s and 1990s.
He is now the owner of Chase Messengers, a parcel delivery service located in Encino, California.
Michael Learned – Olivia Walton
Olivia is a fan-favorite character. For her portrayal of Olivia, Michael won Primetime Emmy three times. And then she won an Emmy for her appearance in Nurse in 1982. She tied the record for most wins with Tyne Daly.
Michael appeared in a couple of movies and shows before The Waltons, but only in minor roles. Olivia is her first big role in either film or television. Fun fact: For the first five seasons, producers called her Miss Michael Learned. They didn’t want to confuse viewers about her gender.
And then in season six, they removed Miss before her name. At this point, the show garnered millions of viewers.
When she disappeared from the show, producers explained it with a disease. They said she developed tuberculosis and entered a sanatorium in Arizona. Michael did guest-star apperances until the end of the show and appeared in four of the six Waltons reunions movies.
Following the end of The Waltons, she appeared in the hospital drama Nurse in 1982. Because of low ratings, the show lasted for only two seasons.
By the end of the 1980s, Learned appeared in two movies, Hothouse and Living Dolls. During Scrubs season five, she guest-starred in five episodes.
Kami Cotler – Elizabeth Walton
Cotler appeared in all of the Waltons reunions movies. But she semi-retired from acting following the end of the show. Cotler reduced her acting roles to attend the University of California, Berkeley. Kami got a degree in Social Sciences.
Fun fact: her first teaching job took her to a small rural Virginia school, much like the fictional character she played in The Waltons. In 2004, she took a job as the co-director of the Ocean Charter School and stayed there until 2007.
She now has her own educational consulting business. Cotler founded Principal of Environmental Charter Middle School, a facility in Los Angeles County, California. She also served on the board of the American Montessori Society.
Kami has her own boutique travel company and manages a café in San Francisco.
Judy Norton – Mary Ellen Walton
Born in Santa Monica, California, Judy got famous thanks to The Waltons. At the age of 13, she started practicing Scientology. Soon enough, she started working as a minister in the church. She got married at the age of 18 but divorced just two years later.
Many viewed her as a child actress even in her 20s. In August 1985, just four years after The Waltons, she posed nude for Playboy. She wanted to shed the family image.
Norton is an avid athlete. She participates in horse jumping and skydiving and plays tennis as well. As a singer, she released her CD Reflections in August 2016.
David W. Harper – Jim-Bob Walton
David started his acting career as the second-youngest of the seven Waltons siblings. He remained with the series until the very end. Following the end of The Waltons, Harper appeared in the mini-series The Blue and the Gray and the movie Fletch.
He also played a role in the Walton’s reunions during the 1980s and 1990s. He left the show business long ago but still appears in Waltons-relations functions. He went to school to study business.