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Donna Douglas Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (31)  | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (4)

Born in Pride, Louisiana, USA
Died in Zachary, Louisiana, USA  (pancreatic cancer)
Birth NameDoris Ione Smith
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

An honest-to-goodness Southern Belle, similar to her most famous character role, "Elly May Clampett" on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Donna Douglas grew up in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area, loving "critters". She got married soon after high school, had a son, divorced and won a couple of beauty contests, all within the span of a few years. She moved to New York and soon appeared on television series, including a well-remembered guest-star shot on The Twilight Zone (1959) in one of the series' most famous episodes, The Twilight Zone: Eye of the Beholder (1960), in which she plays a woman who tries to undergo a series of experimental treatments to make her beautiful, only for the treatments to fail. The twist was she was beautiful, at least to the viewers, but considered hideous to the pig people of the planet, she was on. She immediately won the character role of "Elly May Clampett" on one of the greatest situation comedies of all time, The Beverly Hillbillies (1962). This extremely comical series debuted with The Beverly Hillbillies: The Clampetts Strike Oil (1962), on her 30th birthday, Wednesday, September 26th, 1962, which is among the narrowest & sheerest coincidences, that are hardest to believe.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ken Severson

Family (2)

Spouse Robert M. Leeds (26 June 1971 - 30 September 1980)  (divorced)
Roland Bourgeois (5 July 1951 - 1954)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Parents Smith Sr, Emmett Ratcliff
Robinson, Elma

Trade Mark (3)

Platinum blonde hair
Sparkling blue eyes
Lisp, breathless voice

Trivia (31)

Was a self-described tomboy in her younger days, and like her character Elly May Clampett, she was extremely fond of animals.
Spent hours autographing photos and personally responding to fan mail - even though she received far more than anyone else in the cast of The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).
Was Miss Baton Rouge, and then in 1957, Miss New Orleans.
Was proud of her role as Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) and occasionally made public appearances dressed as Elly May.
Had a second career as a gospel singer, as well as a popular real estate agent in Beverly Hills, California.
Appeared as a guest at the Western Film Fair in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1992, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2005.
During the filming of The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) she and Irene Ryan would annually put on a huge Christmas party for the show's staff and families.
Best known by the public for her role as Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).
She and her The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) co-star, Buddy Ebsen, had a lot in common. Like Ebsen, she too is a successful gospel singer and character actress, and is also Republican.
Tested for a role in Visit to a Small Planet (1960).
Acting protegee and friend of Buddy Ebsen.
She and Max Baer Jr. both visited Buddy Ebsen, in the hospital, the week before his death.
Best friend of Max Baer Jr..
Graduated from Redemptorist High School (now Redemptorist Upper School) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1951.
Douglas, along with Buddy Ebsen and Max Baer Jr., attended the memorial of Irene Ryan, when the actress passed away in 1973.
Her mother, Elma Robinson, died on December 31, 2003, at age 93.
Got married at age 16, and gave birth at age 21.
At her death, she was survived by son Danny Bourgeois, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, one brother and other extended family members.
Her birth name is listed both as Dorothy Smith and Doris Smith in various articles.
Donna Douglas performed as a gospel singer and wrote the book, "Miss Donna's Mulberry Acres Farm", which was published in 2011. Also that year, she sued Mattel, claiming that the toy manufacturer used her name and likeness for a Barbie doll, without her approval. The suit reportedly was settled. Earlier, she sued Disney, CAA, Whoopi Goldberg and others, claiming that the idea for the 1992 smash hit, Sister Act (1992), was stolen from the Dorothy Gilman book, "A Nun in the Closet", that she said she had optioned. Douglas lost that suit.
Her only child, Danny P. Bourgeois, was born September 14, 1954.
With her death on January 1, 2015, Max Baer Jr. is the last surviving star of The Beverly Hillbillies (1962).
Made appearances at conventions that celebrated "The Beverly Hillbillies" series.
Was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. [August 2014].
Born on exactly the same date as Richard Herd (of "V" and "T.J. Hooker" fame).
As Doris Bourgeois, she was "Miss Byline of 1958".
Just before filming was to begin on The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962, she sustained a severe whiplash injury to her neck when a vehicle rear-ended her car, which was stopped at a traffic light. Creator Paul Henning had cast Douglas as Elly May out of 200 candidates and wanted her for the role so badly that production was held up until she recovered.
Her stage name in the 1950's, while still living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was Dot Bourgeois, as can be seen in several articles in Baton Rouge newspapers of the day. Under that name, she won Miss Cinderella of 1955, receiving a six-day Caribbean cruise and completing the first stage of her bid to be Miss Louisiana. She did not win that contest, however, but did win several other local beauty contests, as well as being a judge in others. She made her film debut in an uncredited role in Band of Angels (1957), playing a Southern belle in a riverboat scene that was filmed in Baton Rouge in January 1957. The scene was supposed to take only one day but took a week due to typical Louisiana rain and cloudiness.
Possessed the ability to let out a piercing, very loud whistle, which she demonstrated occasionally on The Beverly Hillbillies.
In February 1964, she replaced actor Dan Blocker of Bonanza (1959) in an appearance at an event at the State Coliseum in Jackson, Mississippi, sponsored by local radio station WJQS. Blocker refused to attend due to segregated seating, but his co-stars Lorne Greene and Michael Landon did attend.
Moved to New York City in 1958 and studied with famed acting coach Lee Strasberg at the Actor's Studio. While there, she won Miss Byline, a contest judged by several New York journalists. Producer Hal B. Wallis saw her on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) and signed her to a seven-year contract with MGM, but her option was dropped soon after, because "I wasn't ready yet. I had a lot to learn about acting," according to Douglas herself in a 1962 interview. Shortly after arriving in Hollywood in 1959, she began acting classes with Jeff Corey and shared an apartment there with her pet canary, Francis, named after actor Anthony Franciosa, whom she met in the fall of 1957 while he was in Baton Rouge filming The Long, Hot Summer (1958).

Personal Quotes (11)

I really love pets. They're like children. They know if you really love them or not. You can't fool them.
[on the early careers of Buddy Ebsen, Max Baer Jr., Irene Ryan and herself, before co-starring on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962)] It was the American Dream. But I think it had a lot of good things in it, too. We were all so grateful to be working, Buddy Ebsen--he had started out in vaudeville, and he had done many things, but his career wasn't on an upswing or anything. Granny, [Irene Ryan] she wasn't really doing anything. Max Baer and I, we were babies just starting out, so everybody was so grateful to be working.
[on offering another role] I was offered to do a nighttime soap after The Beverly Hillbillies (1962). There was so much I didn't want to do because of family values. It was a big hit in a couple weeks, but it didn't matter to me, because I wanted to do a certain caliber of work and didn't want to do garbage.
Back then, it was more or less we couldn't change a line in our script. We weren't allowed to change lines. Today, actors change everything and won't do parts. It's very different today. Back then, the producers were in charge. Today, actors are more in charge.
I loved doing Elly May. She was a slice out of my own life. And, of course, The Beverly Hillbillies (1962) was a story about the American Dream. No matter who tried to slicker us or take advantage of us, we always came out on top. We were never the losers. So the right attitude was important. We set a good examples. "The Hillbillies" set high standards.
[on the death of Buddy Ebsen] He has a very, very special place in my heart. And he certainly was an inspiration in many directions, I think he has left a positive influence, politically. He loved his country.
[on her on- and off-screen chemistry with Buddy Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett] Buddy Ebsen was the one I worked with the most, so I became closer to him than the others, in a lot of ways, he was like a father to me both on- and off-screen.
[on Buddy Ebsen] You know, the story I had heard of all those stories, I heard Buddy say, "When we did an interview, just a few weeks ago", he said, "What is making the show so successful? What most successful show is that?" Well, the guy's tall, and says, "Who do you know is tall?" Somebody said, "Buddy Ebsen was tall", and he said, he got the part. They built it around him, because we had Jim on the span, and you had Chuck Connors. All these guys were so tall.
[death bed message to Max Baer Jr.] Tell Maxie I thought I was going to get better.
The two things I am most asked is if I still love critters and can I still whistle like Elly May. The answer is yes to both.
[Baton Rouge Advocate, September 18, 1957, regarding her entering the World Championship Hot Pepper Eating Contest in New Iberia, Louisiana] Hot peppers have always been my secret training for health and beauty. I never saw an icicle start any fires.

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