From 1972 to 1981, the classic family drama, The Waltons, ran for nine seasons.
The series is based on Earl Hamner Jr.’s book “Spencer’s Mountain” and is set during the Great Depression and World War II in rural Virginia.
Throughout the duration of the series, actress Mary McDonough played middle sister Erin Walton. He gave McDonough some much-needed advice about a personal dilemma she was having when the young actor landed a recurring role in the series.
In” The Waltons, John Ritter portrayed a minister.”
John Ritter played the young Reverend Matthew Fordwick in a recurring role until he became known for the series “Three’s Company,” In one of his first roles, Hamner recalled casting Ritter.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Hamner said of Ritter, “I’m proud to say that was one of John’s first roles in Hollywood. “He played a young preacher who was so sanctimonious and so simple and just such an upstanding citizen that the entire congregation was outraged when he inadvertently drank some of the formula created by the two old ladies who bootlegged liquor. John assumed the role and played with it.
Ritter apparently displayed his comedic talent in ‘The Waltons’ during his tenure, where he mostly fooled around with co-star Richard Thomas (John-Boy).
‘The Waltons’: The love story of Olivia and John didn’t just exist on television
“He was not only a great actor on the show, but also in the movie studios, where sometimes there would be tension on the set,”He was not only a great actor on the show, but also in the movie studios, where there would sometimes be tension on the set.”He and Richard made everyone laugh.”He and Richard made everyone laugh.
The Waltons’ star lived in the series during her teen years.
When she was 11 years old, McDonough was cast as Erin. As the seasons advanced, she felt forced to retain a certain look.
The tension started to manifest itself in the ‘The Waltons’ star physically.
Erin, my character, was supposed to be the beautiful one,” McDonough said in 2015 on Oprah: Where Are They Now?. “So this expectation to be flawless, to look perfect, to act perfect became the message to me. I had an ulcer when I was 15, and my hair began to fall out, and I had a rash on my head, and I remember my parents rushing me to the doctor.
And that doctor said, ‘Well, is there any strain on her? ‘And my parents said,’ No, she’s the world’s luckiest girl, are you kidding me? ‘”
McDonough went through the usual physical changes that come with puberty in her youth. But her physical changes did not seem to be viewed by people on set favorably.
The costume designer looked at me and asked, ‘Ok, do you think you’re going to fit in with the clothes that you wear last season, or did you put on more weight?’ “‘” recalled the Waltons alum. “Then it struck me in the heart like a knife.
And I wasn’t fat; I was just getting old.
And no one was saying,’ Hey, you’re regular. You’re all okay.”
The words of wisdom of John Ritter
To control her weight and appear slim on tape, McDonough started adopting unhealthy habits.
“When they would write episodes where I wore a bathing suit, I would starve myself and lose weight for that episode,” she said. “Then, after the episode was done, I would go over to the truck and eat donuts.”
Ritter became aware of the insecurities of McDonough and encouraged her to do some critical introspection.
Ritter was able to steer her down a better path by taking the time to really listen to McDonough and giving her some practical tools.
Throughout her life, the Waltons star started passing that wisdom on to others.
He said, ‘No, no, I want you to start keeping a journal,’ “says McDonough. “And I began journaling that night, and it saved my life. … What was a hideous experience for me to go through was the job I’m doing today.