‘The Waltons’: CBS Wanted to Fire Ellen Corby After Her Stroke — How She Proved Them Wrong

Ellen Corby was a game of The Waltons as Esther Walton ‘s grandmother. When Corby suffered a stroke in 1976, she missed a season and a half of the TV show. The show showed that Grandma had aphasia because of the stroke that hindered her communication. Corby also had to prove to CBS that she could continue working, and she did.

Ellen Corby and Will Geer
Ellen Corby and Will Geer CBS through Getty Images

Corby died in 1999 but is still remembered by her coasters to this day. The Waltons cast reunited for Stars in the House to raise money for the Actors Fund. Eric Scott, Kami Cotler, Judy Norton and Michael Learned shared memories of Corby while former production assistant John Dayton poured the dirt on CBS plans for her.

‘The Waltons’ made an amazing program out of Ellen Corby’s return

When Corby returned The Waltons, the show made a lot of Grandma return from the hospital. The whole family welcomes her. However, that was not the first time the actors had seen Corby.

“You have to remember one thing,” Scott said. “Some of us would visit her at her house while she was recovering and making stuff. So we had already seen her and spent time with her, but it was a gift to get back. We didn’t look at it as a fact that she has a really bad hand and she’s going to come on TV and she’s going to show it in its raw form. She made it so beautiful. Look back on the shows and she got what she wanted from every scene she did afterwards. ”

The black and white Waltons
LR: Richard Thomas, Will Geer, Judy Norton, Ralph Waite and Michael Learned CBS through Getty Images

Corby would also host the behind-the-scenes team.

“She could play and play the piano,” Learned said. “It was the strangest thing, and she did, between us taking. She used to sing ‘Let Me Call you Sweetheart. She could sing all verses one, two and three but it was difficult for her to speak. ”

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