It was reported yesterday that Donna Douglas, most famous for her portrayal of Elly Mae Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, had passed away January 1, at 81. Or 82.
Except for the ubiquitous TV show, she never made her mark in Hollywood. She chose to embrace her typecasting because people loved the show and her role in it. After the show was cancelled, she got involved in real estate, and reverted to her first loves of gospel singing and charity work.
Unlike so many of the blonde bombshells who descended on Hollywood after WWII, she stayed true to herself, and was obviously not the dumb blond stereotype.
Marilyn Monroe (the most (in)famous for the dumb blonde, who wasn’t) tried to parlay her talents into a serious acting career. Her insecurities and need for love from (in)famous politicians did her in. Ms. Douglas avoided those pitfalls.
If there ever was a model for ‘stay true to yourself’, it was Donna Douglas.
Goodbye Donna D.*
Though I never knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled…
More than just our Elly Mae
*borrowed from Elton John’s Goodbye Norma Jeane