Donna Douglas Dies

Elly May Dances With A Chimp

Had a slight crush on Elly May from The Beverly Hillbillies (pictured, left, above) which was on TV somehow in my youth.

elly may

The Beverly Hillbillies was more influential than people give it credit for.  At one time I looked into remaking it but the rights situation made it unfeasible for me.  Also, we might already have that story on TV in other forms.  Watching funny rubes who have a lots of money but aren’t “high class” fills a lot of TV hours.


Newer versions though often forget to include a well-meaning, restraining if stodgy character like Mr. Drysdale, the banker:



and his loyal secretarial assistant, Miss Jane Hathaway, whom Wikipedia describes as “the love-starved bird-watching perennial spinster”:

Miss HathawayHere she is enjoying a cigarette… perhaps too much?:

The actress who played Miss Hathaway, Nancy Kulp, seems pretty interesting:

Kulp received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Florida State University in 1943, then known as the Florida State College for Women, and she started pursuing a master’s degree in English and French at the University of Miami. Early in the 1940s she worked as a feature writer for the Miami Beach Tropics newspaper, writing profiles of celebrities, including Clark Gable and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.[6][7]

In 1944 Kulp left the University of Miami to volunteer for service in the US Naval Reserve during World War II. As a member of theWAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), Ltjg. Kulp received several decorations, including the American Campaign Medal,

Kulp moved to Hollywood, California, not long after she married Charles Malcolm Dacus (in April 1951), to work in a studio publicitydepartment, where director George Cukor convinced her that she should work in front of a camera.

She later ran for as a Democrat for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 9th District:

To her dismay, Hillbillies co-star Buddy Ebsen called the Shuster campaign and volunteered to make a radio campaign ad in which he called Kulp ” too liberal.” Kulp said of Ebsen, “‘He’s not the kindly old Jed Clampett that you saw on the show… It’s none of his business and he should have stayed out of it.‘ She said she and Ebsen ‘didn’t get along because I found him difficult to work with. But I never would have done something like this to him.'” Garnering 59,449 votes, or just 33.6% to Shuster’s 117,203 votes and 66.4%, she lost.

The life of Raymond Bailey, who played Mr. Drysdale, seems pretty interesting too:

Having no success getting any kind of movie roles, Bailey then went to New York where he had no better success getting roles in theatre. Eventually he became a crewman on a freighter and began sailing to various parts of the world, including China, Japan, the Philippines and the Mediterranean. While docked in Hawaii, he worked on a pineapple plantation, acted at the community theatre and sang on a local radio program.

In 1938, he decided to try Hollywood again. His luck changed for the better when he actually began getting some bit parts in movies, but after the United States entered World War II he joined the Merchant Marine and went back to sea. When the war was over he returned to Hollywood and eventually began getting bigger character roles.

Buddy Ebsen also spent time at sea:

Ebsen served as damage control officer and later as executive officer on the Coast Guard-manned Navyfrigate USS Pocatello, which recorded weather at its “weather station” 1,500 miles west of Seattle, Washington. These patrols consisted of 30 days at sea, followed by 10 days in port at Seattle.

Rest in p Donna D.  We’ll always remember you for your classic Twilight Zone episode as well:

eye of the beholder





2 Comments on “Donna Douglas Dies”

  1. priskill says:

    Aw, nice piece, although not sure “well-meaning” actually describes Drysdale. Loved this show as a kid and Jethro is the best — “I got me a 6th grade edjicashun — I want to be a brain surgeon — or a fry cook!” And who knew DD was in that TwiZone?

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