The Waltons a classic TV show and an important piece of television history. The show looked at the impact of the Great Depression, and later World War II, on rural communities with humility and nuance while being able to draw a large audience.
The show focused on the eponymous family, and played the role of the family’s matriarch, Olivia Walton, played by actress Michael Learned. Olivia Walton was written as a healthy and stable rock that the rest of the family could depend on. Michael Learned was, in some ways, similar to the character she was portraying.
But despite the perseverance she showed on screen, this actress may have had some demons in the face of her off-screen life.
Michael learned on ‘The Waltons’
The Waltons a 1970s television drama series based on the Earl Hammer Jr. novel. It was based on a film made for TV in 1971, and was popular for a TV series.
The exhibition takes place in the 1930s and 40s, beginning near the beginning of FDR leadership and ending at the end of World War II. The Walton family live in an Appalachian community in West Virginia, and have to cope with the changing economy as they try to keep food on the table through a mill and small-scale farming. .
The show has an element of nostalgia; it shows a close-knit family and community that is dependent on each other through the hardships of their time.
One particular aspect of The Waltons and that he did not move away from discussing more dangerous matters. Family members have to deal with the sociopolitical situations of the 1930s, and later, the effects of World War II.
In addition, there were plots depicting timeless family tragedies – infant mortality, stroke effects, and complex religious relationships. The Waltons it may look a bit trite and valuable today, but it was more than fluff.
While Michael Learned had a few responsibilities before she starred The Waltons, The Waltons it was her big television break. Before entering the world of acting, however, Learned was a diplomatic child, and at the age of 11 her family moved to Austria.
In Europe, Learned went to a school of performing arts, which led her to pursue acting. During the 1960s she and her husband Peter Donat were world famous in theater, but by the 70s Learned was watching the TV career.
Learned had great success with The Waltons, and even won a few awards. Her prominence from the show, her knowledge and her skill led to her increasing film and television careers, and today, she is a veteran of the industry.
The secret struggles of Michael Learned
Despite her success, Learned had a demon ahead of her. Although she was married with three children during the 1960s, by 1972 she had separated from Peter Donat, had no money, and was struggling with alcohol addiction.
When she wore it The Waltons, she was in the midst of this slavery, as well as breaking and living out of a motel.
The only member of the show who struggled with alcohol was not an educator. Costar Ralph Waite, played by John Sr., said he was “drunk on the side” when he was involved in the show.
But the story has a happy ending: the two actors, while still working on the show, decided they had to celebrate. Michael Learned was able to kick the habit, and today, it is still solemn.