Actress Donna Douglas, best known for portraying Elly May Clampett on the television series “The Beverly Hillbillies”, has died at age 81.
The actress played the role of Jed Clampett’s daughter Elly May in the hit TV show from 1962-1971.
Douglas was born Dorothy Smith in 1933, in Pride, Louisiana.
She was the only girl in a family of boys and was raised a tomboy.
She married at 17, divorced, then delivered her son, whom she shielded from the spotlight of publicity.
To support her son, she left him with family and flew to New York City where she landed her first gig in a toothpaste commercial.
She then landed a job as a “letter-turning” on The Perry Como Show in 1957, which led to another letter-turning job on the Steve Allen Show in 1959.
She then moved to Hollywood, where she got an uncredited “bit part” in “Li’l Abner,” also in 1959. Douglas got roles in “Twilight Zone” and “77 Sunset Strip,” then her break came with “The Beverly Hillbillies” in 1962.
In a 2009 interview, the actress said of her popular character, “Elly has always been good for me. That was a slice out of my life, a very happy slice out of my life.”
Douglas returned from California to her native Louisiana and lived just outside Baton Rouge near her only child.
The beloved actress passed away this morning at the age of 81.