ELLEN CORBY Star of 'The Waltons'

1911 June - 1999 April

Created by David 11 years ago
Ellen Corby came to Hollywood in the 1930's and became a script girl to the legendary comedy duo 'Laurel and Hardy'. Ellen mainly played bit parts in movies but had a break in 1948 when she appeared as Aunt Trina in the highly successful film 'I Remember Mama' which starred Irene Dunne and Barbara Bel Geddes (later Miss Ellie in 'Dallas'). Ellen was noticed by her performance which gained her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Unfortunately she didn't win, but she did win a Golden Globe award for the role. Ellen continued in many character roles through the 50's and 60's appearing with her favourite co-stars John Payne and James Stewart. Ellen had one line and a few scenes in the memorable classic film 'It's a Wonderful Life'. Ellen's biggest role came in 1971 in the pilot movie 'The Homecoming' which told the story of the Hamner family. Narrated by Earl Hamner (John Boy's character) Ellen found instant fame as Grandma Esther Walton. THe pilot was a hit and so 'The Walton's' was created into a series in 1972 and she starred along side Will Geer as her husband Zebulon. In 1976 Ellen suffered a severe stroke and defied doctors by returning for the series in 1977. A week later Will Geer died and Ellen filmed a tear jerking episode on Walton's Mountain as tribute to him. Ellen continued making guest appearances until the series ended in 1982. A 'Walton's' Reunion in 1993 saw the whole cast re-unite including original John Boy Richard Thomas and two further re-unions in 1995 and 1997. I had the honour and pleasure of meeting Ellen in 1988 and 1991 when I went to Los Angeles for a holiday and spent several hours at her home and meeting the wonderful Stella Luchetta who organised the meeting. Ellen treated me for lunch at Mirabelles and I was her chaffeur for the afternoon. Ellen was a very special lady and I always spoke to her on her birthday and at Christmas. Ellen sadly died in 1999 aged 87 and I will never forget her. Goodnite Grandma.