Michael Learned

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Michael Learned speaks of her early life and theatrical training. She recalls early roles on Canadian television and acting on stage in San Francisco in a production of "Private Lives" directed by Francis Ford Coppola. She discusses her iconic role of "Olivia Walton" on the classic CBS series The Waltons,  recalling how she replaced Patricia Neal who'd earlier played the role. She describes her chemistry with Ralph Waite who played "John Walton," her husband on the show. Learned outlines the various changes over the run of the show, including the declining health of Ellen Corby ("Grandma Walton"), the death of Will Geer ("Grandpa Walton"), and the departure of Richard Thomas ("John-Boy"). She speaks of leaving The Waltons and her subsequent return to television in the short-lived series Nurse. She talks about numerous guest-starring roles, made-for-television movie roles, and roles she played in various daytime dramas. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on November 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.

"The legacy of 'The Waltons' is that it lives on in the hearts of people who responded to the message of love and forgiveness and strength. Those are good messages."

Highlights
Michael Learned on her character of "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons
04:16
Michael Learned on Richard Thomas as "John-Boy" on The Waltons
01:21
Michael Learned on the death of Will Geer
01:04
Michael Learned on her decision to leave The Waltons
02:48
Michael Learned on advice to aspiring actors
01:21
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on her early interest in performing; on her early memories of television and movies
On becoming an actress; on appearing on Canadian television; on appearing in the play "Private Lives"
On being cast as "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons; on the character of "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons; on the chemistry with the children on The Waltons
On the premise and tone of The Waltons; on the production of The Waltons; on working with show creator Earl Hamner, Jr.

Chapter 2

On working with the producers of The Waltons; on The Waltons' catchphrases and the dinner table scenes
On the cast of The Waltons; on the departure of Richard Thomas from The Waltons; on the death of Will Geer
On doing publicity for The Waltons and the popularity of the show; on leaving The Waltons; on her Emmy nominations and wins for the show; on the legacy of The Waltons
On starring on Nurse; on guest-starring on Scrubs; on appearing in various made-for-television movies and guest-starring on various series including Gunsmoke

Chapter 3

On appearing on daytime dramas; on her stage work; on then-current projects
On what she likes about acting; on how things have changed for actresses since she started; on how she'd like to be remembered and advice to aspiring actors
Shows

General Hospital

View Show Page
Michael Learned on appearing on General Hospital and The Young and the Restless
01:31

Gunsmoke

View Show Page
Michael Learned on guest starring on television shows, including Gunsmoke

Homecoming, The: A Christmas Story

View Show Page
Michael Learned on The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, the made-for-television movie that served as the pilot for The Waltons
01:10

Nurse

View Show Page
Michael Learned on appearing on the series Nurse
05:15
Michael Learned on winning an Emmy for Nurse
01:55

Scrubs

View Show Page
Michael Learned on guest-starring on Scrubs
05:33

Waltons, The

View Show Page
Michael Learned on being cast as "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons
06:25
Michael Learned on The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, the made-for-television movie that served as the pilot for The Waltons
01:09
Michael Learned on the character of "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons
04:13
Michael Learned on her chemistry with the children on The Waltons
01:17
Michael Learned on her billing on The Waltons
02:54
Michael Learned on the premise and tone of The Waltons
02:50
Michael Learned on filming the first episode of The Waltons and early critical reaction
01:39
Michael Learned on her character of "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons
04:16
Michael Learned on the production of The Waltons
03:32
Michael Learned on working with The W altons creator Earl Hamner, Jr.
02:13
Michael Learned on working with producer Lee Rich on The Waltons
03:13
Michael Learned on working with producer Rod Peterson on The Waltons; on Ellen Corby's stroke
03:13
Michael Learned on The Waltons'  catchphrases and the scenes around the dinner table
03:32
Michael Learned on Ralph Waite as "John Walton" on The Waltons
01:48
Michael Learned on Richard Thomas as "John-Boy" on The Waltons
01:21
Michael Learned on Will Geer as "Grandpa Walton" on The Waltons
01:05
Michael Learned on Ellen Corby as "Grandma Walton" on The Waltons
01:41
Michael Learned on Judy Norton as "Mary Ellen Walton" on The Waltons
00:47
Michael Learned on Jon Walmsley as "Jason Walton" on The Waltons and the other Waltons children actors
02:50
Michael Learned on the departure of Richard Thomas from The Waltons
01:40
Michael Learned on the death of Will Geer
01:04
Michael Learned on doing publicity for The Waltons
02:14
Michael Learned on the popularity of The Waltons
02:25
Michael Learned on her favorite episodes of The Waltons
02:28
Michael Learned on her decision to leave The Waltons
02:48
Michael Learned on her Emmy nominations and wins for The Waltons
02:42
Michael Learned on returning to The Waltons after she left
02:36
Michael Learned on the legacy of The Waltons
01:37

Young and the Restless, The

View Show Page
Michael Learned on appearing on General Hospital and The Young and the Restless
01:31
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Michael Learned on advice to aspiring actors
01:21

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Michael Learned on her character of "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons
04:16
Michael Learned on The Waltons'  catchphrases and the scenes around the dinner table
03:32

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Michael Learned on how things have changed for actresses since she started acting
01:25

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Michael Learned on how things have changed for actresses since she started acting
01:25

Pop Culture

View Topic
Michael Learned on her character of "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons
04:16
Michael Learned on The Waltons'  catchphrases and the scenes around the dinner table
03:32

Television Industry

View Topic
Michael Learned on how things have changed for actresses since she started acting
01:25
Michael Learned on advice to aspiring actors
01:21

Women

View Topic
Michael Learned on how things have changed for actresses since she started acting
01:25
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Michael Learned on what she likes about acting
01:15
Michael Learned on advice to aspiring actors
01:21

Performers

View Profession
Michael Learned on what she likes about acting
01:15
Michael Learned on advice to aspiring actors
01:21
Genres

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Michael Learned on appearing on daytime dramas
05:35

Drama Series

View Genre
Michael Learned on playing "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons (Part 1)
30:47
Michael Learned on playing "Olivia Walton" on The Waltons (Part 2)
39:36
Michael Learned on appearing on the series Nurse
07:15
People

Francis Ford Coppola

View Person Page
Michael Learned on appearing in the Francis Ford Coppola play "Private Lives"
03:21

Ellen Corby

View Person Page
Michael Learned on Ellen Corby as "Grandma Walton" on The Waltons
01:41

Will Geer

View Person Page
Michael Learned on Will Geer as "Grandpa Walton" on The Waltons
01:05
Michael Learned on the death of Will Geer
01:04

Earl Hamner, Jr.

View Interview Page
Michael Learned on working with The W altons  creator Earl Hamner, Jr.
02:13

Patricia Neal

View Person Page
Michael Learned on The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, the made-for-television movie that served as the pilot for The Waltons  and replacing Patricia Neal as "Olivia Walton"
01:09

Lee Rich

View Interview Page
Michael Learned on working with producer Lee Rich on The Waltons
03:15

Richard Thomas

View Interview Page
Michael Learned on Richard Thomas as "John-Boy" on The Waltons
01:21

All Interviews

Q
S