Douglas in 1967
Doris Ione Smith
September 26, 1932
|Died||January 1, 2015 82) (aged|
Zachary, Louisiana, U.S.
|Cause of death||Pancreatic cancer|
|Resting place||Bluff Creek Community Cemetery|
|Residence||Zachary, Louisiana, U.S.|
|Education||St. Gerard High School|
|Occupation||Actress, singer, writer|
|Home town||Pride, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, U.S.|
|Children||Danny P. Bourgeois|
Donna Douglas (born Doris Ione Smith; September 26, 1932 – January 1, 2015) was an American actress and singer, known for her role as Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971). Following her acting career, Douglas became a real estate agent, gospel singer, inspirational speaker, and author of books for children and adults.
The Beverly Hillbillies is an American sitcom television series originally broadcast on CBS from 1962 to 1971. The show had an ensemble cast featuring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer Jr. as the Clampetts, a poor backwoods family from the Ozarks region who move to posh Beverly Hills, California, after striking oil on their land. The show was produced by Filmways and was created by writer Paul Henning. It was followed by two other Henning-inspired "country cousin" series on CBS: Petticoat Junction, and its spin-off Green Acres, which reversed the rags-to-riches, country-to-city model of The Beverly Hillbillies.
Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella. The first published use of the term "gospel song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate.
Douglas was born Doris Ione Smith [ citation needed ]in the community of Pride, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, on September 26, 1932. The younger of two children, she was the only daughter of Emmett Ratcliff Smith, Sr. and his wife, Elma (née Robinson). Her birth name is listed both as Dorothy Smith and Doris Smith in various articles.
Pride is an unincorporated community in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States. Its ZIP code is 70770.
East Baton Rouge Parish is the most populous parish in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 440,171. The parish seat is Baton Rouge, Louisiana's state capital.
Douglas attended St. Gerard Catholic High School,where she played softball and basketball and was a member of the school's first graduating class. Douglas was named Miss Baton Rouge and Miss New Orleans in 1957.
Redemptorist Upper School was a private, Roman Catholic high school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is located in north Baton Rouge, under the remit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge.
Douglas moved to New York City to pursue a career in show business and started as an illustration model for toothpaste advertisements.She was featured as the "Letters Girl" on NBC's The Perry Como Show in 1957 and as the "Billboard Girl" on NBC's The Steve Allen Show in 1959. These and other television appearances led New York photographers and newspaper reporters to award her the "Miss By-line" crown, which she wore on CBS' The Ed Sullivan Show .
Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como was an American singer, actor and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years, after signing with the label in 1943. "Mr. C.", as he was nicknamed, sold millions of records and pioneered a weekly musical variety television show. His weekly television shows and seasonal specials were broadcast throughout the world. In the official RCA Records Billboard magazine memorial, his life was summed up in these few words: "50 years of music and a life well lived. An example to all."
The Steve Allen Show is an American variety show hosted by Steve Allen from June 1956 to June 1960 on NBC, from September 1961 to December 1961 on ABC, and in first-run syndication from 1962 to 1964.
The Ed Sullivan Show was an American television variety show that ran on CBS from June 20, 1948, to June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan. It was replaced in September 1971 by the CBS Sunday Night Movie.
Hal B. Wallis saw the Sullivan episode and cast her in the role of Marjorie Burke in the movie drama Career (1959), starring Anthony Franciosa, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine. This was followed by a bit part in the musical comedy Li'l Abner (1959) and the role of a secretary in the comedy/romance Lover Come Back (1961), starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day.
Harold Brent Wallis was an American film producer. He is best remembered for producing Casablanca (1942), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and True Grit (1969), along with many other major films for Warner Bros. featuring such film stars as Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, and Errol Flynn.
Career is a 1959 American drama film co-written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Dean Martin, Tony Franciosa, and Shirley MacLaine.
Anthony Franciosa was an American film, TV and stage actor. He began as a successful stage actor, gaining a Tony Award nomination for the drug-addiction play A Hatful of Rain. After relocating to Hollywood he made numerous feature films, including A Face in the Crowd (1957), The Long, Hot Summer (1958), and Career (1959), for which he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor/Drama. In television he played lead roles in five television series: the sitcom Valentine's Day (1964–65), drama The Name of the Game (1968–71), Search (1972–73), Matt Helm (1975) and Finder of Lost Loves (1984).
She made numerous television appearances in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including The Twilight Zone episode "The Eye of the Beholder" (1960).She played Barbara Simmons in four 1961 episodes of the CBS detective series Checkmate . Her other credits included in U.S. Marshal , Tightrope , The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet , Bachelor Father , Adam-12 and Route 66 . Douglas also appeared in Thriller , season 1, episode 16, "The Hungry Glass".
The Twilight Zone is an American anthology television series created and presented by Rod Serling, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. Each episode presents a standalone story in which characters find themselves dealing with often disturbing or unusual events, an experience described as entering "the Twilight Zone," often ending with a surprise ending and a moral. Although predominantly science-fiction, the show's paranormal and Kafkaesque events leaned the show towards fantasy and horror. The phrase “twilight zone,” inspired by the series, is used to describe surreal experiences.
"Eye of the Beholder" is episode 42 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on November 11, 1960 on CBS.
Checkmate is an American detective television series created by Eric Ambler, starring Anthony George, Sebastian Cabot, and Doug McClure. The show aired on CBS Television from 1960 to 1962 for a total of 70 episodes. It was produced by Jack Benny's production company, "JaMco Productions" in co-operation with Revue Studios. Guest stars included Charles Laughton, Peter Lorre, Lee Marvin, Mickey Rooney and many other prominent performers.
Although Douglas was an active actress in the 1960s, she was still relatively unknown when selected from among 500 young actresses to work on The Beverly Hillbillies. This series ran for nine consecutive seasons, beginning in 1962 and ending in 1971. Continually typecast as a result of her Hillbillies role, Douglas decided to focus on her career as a gospel singer.
During the 1966 summer hiatus of The Beverly Hillbillies, Douglas made her only starring feature film appearance, cast as Frankie in Fred de Cordova's Frankie and Johnny (1966) with Elvis Presley.The film proved popular but it did little to advance Douglas' big-screen career.
With the 1973 death of Hillbillies co-star Irene Ryan, and Max Baer Jr.'s refusal to participate, Douglas joined Nancy Kulp and Buddy Ebsen in 1981 as the only original cast members to appear in the reunion movie Return of the Beverly Hillbillies .Douglas was a guest star on a number of other television programs and the subject of paper dolls, dolls, coloring books, and various toys during the height of the show's popularity. In a 2003 interview with "Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict", she summed up her views on the role: "Elly May was like a slice out of my life. She is a wonderful little door opener for me because people love her, and they love the Hillbillies. Even to this day it's shown every day somewhere. But, as with any abilities, she may open a door for you, but you have to have substance or integrity to advance you through that door."
In 1992, Douglas and Baer attended Buddy Ebsen's 84th birthday celebration in Beverly Hills, California. In 1993, Douglas, Ebsen, and Baer reunited on The Jerry Springer Show , and for a final time in a CBS-TV television special, The Legend of The Beverly Hillbillies.
In December 2010, Mattel released a new collection of three Barbies called the Classic TV Collection. These dolls were Samantha Stephens (from Bewitched , played by Elizabeth Montgomery); Jeannie (from I Dream of Jeannie , played by Barbara Eden; and Elly May Clampett.
Douglas received her real estate license after The Beverly Hillbillies finished production.She did not work in that field long, however, as she remained in show business and found other projects.
Douglas frequently performed as a gospel singer and was a speaker at church groups, youth groups, schools and colleges across the United States.One focus of her charitable work was speaking in support of various Christian children's homes, mostly in the American South. She appeared at conventions and trade fairs. She recorded several gospel albums, the first released in 1982, and recorded a few minor country music records during the 1970s and 1980s.
Douglas wrote and published a religious-based children's book titled Donna's Critters & Kids: Children's Stories with a Bible Touch. The book included Bible stories featuring animals combined with a coloring book. In November 2011, she released a new children's book titled Miss Donna's Mulberry Acres Farm.In 2013, Douglas published a cookbook, Southern Favorites with a Taste of Hollywood which collects recipes of Southern cooking from show business friends and colleagues such as Buddy Ebsen, Phyllis Diller, Valerie Harper and Debbie Reynolds. The book also has a section on good manners called "Hollywood Social Graces".
Douglas married her first husband, Roland Bourgeois, Jr., in 1949, with whom she had her only child, Danny Bourgeois, in 1954. The couple divorced that same year.She married Robert M. Leeds, director of The Beverly Hillbillies, in 1971; they divorced in 1980.
Douglas remained a close friend of Buddy Ebsen for 32 years. In a 2011 interview with The Lincoln Times-News, she described Ebsen as "a wonderful man, very much like my own father, a quiet, reserved, and caring person".
In 2003, Douglas' mother, Elma Smith, and Buddy Ebsen died. Douglas and Baer visited Ebsen in the hospital, and following his death both delivered a eulogy at his funeral. A decade later, Douglas revealed the depth of her feelings for Ebsen in an interview with "Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict": "I loved Buddy Ebsen. He reminded me so much of my own dad. Most of my scenes were with Buddy, and most of Max's with Irene. Buddy was just a wonderful man. I related to him so easily. The night before he died, Max and I went up to the hospital to see him."
On June 10, 1993, Douglas and her partner Curt Wilson in Associated Artists Entertainment, Inc., filed a $200 million lawsuit against Disney, Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, their production companies, and Creative Artists Agency claiming that Sister Act was plagiarized from a book, A Nun in the Closet, owned by the partners. Douglas and Wilson claimed that in 1985 they had developed a screenplay from the book.
The lawsuit claimed that there were more than 100 similarities and plagiarisms between the movie and the book/screenplay owned by Douglas and Wilson. The lawsuit claimed that the developed screenplay had been submitted to Disney, Goldberg, and Midler three times during 1987 and 1988.In 1994, Douglas and Wilson declined a $1 million offer to settle the case. The judge found in favor of Walt Disney Pictures and the other defendants. Wilson stated at the time, "They would have had to copy our stuff verbatim for us to prevail".
On May 4, 2011, Douglas filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Mattel and CBS Consumer Products used her name and likeness for a Barbie doll in the Classic TV Collection without her authorization. The suit alleged that packaging for the "Elly May" Barbie doll featured a photo of her portraying the character. Douglas maintained she never endorsed the doll nor gave Mattel permission to use her name to promote its sale.On December 27, 2011, Douglas settled her suit against CBS Consumer Products and Mattel, in which she had been seeking $75,000. In the lawsuit, Douglas claimed that CBS and Mattel needed her approval to design the doll, while CBS and Mattel maintained that they did not need her consent or approval because the network held the exclusive rights to the character. Details of the settlement were confidential; both sides claimed to be content with the outcome.
In addition to her frequent traveling for celebrity appearances and speeches, Douglas enjoyed gardening, spending time with friends and family, and answering her fan mail.
Douglas died at Baton Rouge General Hospital, aged 82, on January 1, 2015, from pancreatic cancer.Her interment was in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana's Bluff Creek Cemetery.
Charlene Smith, Douglas' niece by marriage, said that Douglas returned to live in East Baton Rouge Parish in about 2005: "She was always happy, always beautiful. You always saw her with all her makeup on. She never looked her age."Smith said that at Christmas 2014 Douglas gave her a Bible that she had signed. Douglas often added scriptural verses to her gifts.
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Zachary is a city in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States. It lies 16 miles (26 km) north of the city of Baton Rouge, and had a population of 14,960 at the 2010 census, up from 11,275 in 2000.
Buddy Ebsen, was an American actor and dancer whose career spanned seven decades. His most famous role was as Jed Clampett in the CBS television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971); afterwards he starred as the title character in the television detective drama Barnaby Jones (1973–1980).
Barnaby Jones is a television detective series starring Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as a father and daughter-in-law who run a private detective firm in Los Angeles, California. The show was introduced as a midseason replacement on the CBS network and broadcast from 1973 to 1980. Halfway through the series run, Mark Shera was added to the cast as the cousin of Ebsen's character, who joins the firm. William Conrad guest-starred as Frank Cannon of Cannon on the first Barnaby Jones episode, "Requiem for a Son", and the 1975 two-part crossover episodes, "The Deadly Conspiracy". The series was produced by QM Productions. It had the second longest QM series run following the nine years of The FBI. The series bore the Quinn Martin trademark where commercial breaks divided each episode into 4 "Acts" concluding with an epilogue. The opening credits were narrated by Hank Simms.
Green Acres is an American sitcom starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as a couple who move from New York City to a country farm. Produced by Filmways as a sister show to Petticoat Junction, the series was first broadcast on CBS, from September 15, 1965, to April 27, 1971. All episodes were filmed in color.
Nancy Jane Kulp was an American character actress best known as Miss Jane Hathaway on the CBS television series The Beverly Hillbillies.
Petticoat Junction is an American sitcom that originally aired on CBS from September 1963 to April 1970. The series takes place at the Shady Rest Hotel, which is run by Kate Bradley, her three daughters Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Betty Jo, and her uncle Joe Carson. The series is one of three interrelated shows about rural characters produced by Paul Henning. Petticoat Junction was created upon the success of Henning's previous rural/urban-themed sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971). The success of Petticoat Junction led to a spin-off, Green Acres (1965–1971). Petticoat Junction was produced by Wayfilms.
Beatrice Benaderet was an American radio and television actress and voice actress. Born in New York City and raised in San Francisco, she began performing in Bay Area theatre and radio before embarking on a Hollywood career that spanned over three decades. Benaderet first specialized in voiceover work in the golden age of radio, appearing on numerous programs while working with comedians of the era such as Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and Lucille Ball. Her expertise in dialect and characterization led to her becoming Warner Bros.' leading voice of female characters in their animated cartoons of the early 1940s through the mid-1950s.
Irene Ryan was an American actress who found success in vaudeville, radio, film, television, and Broadway.
Raymond Thomas Bailey was an American actor on the Broadway stage, films, and television. He is best known for his role as wealthy banker Milburn Drysdale in the television series The Beverly Hillbillies.
Maximilian Adalbert Baer Jr. is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, and director. He is widely known for playing Jethro Bodine, the dimwitted adopted nephew of Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. After the death of Donna Douglas in January 2015, Baer became the last surviving member of that show's main cast.
Paul William Henning was an American producer and screenwriter. Most famous for the television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, he was also crucial in developing the "rural" comedies Petticoat Junction (1963–1970) and Green Acres (1965–1971) for CBS.
Filmways, Inc. was a television and film production company founded by American film executive Martin Ransohoff, and Edwin Kasper in 1952. It is probably best remembered as the production company of CBS’ “rural comedies” of the 1960s, including Mister Ed, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres, as well as the comedy-drama The Trials of O'Brien, the western Dundee and the Culhane, the adventure show Bearcats!, the police drama Cagney & Lacey, and The Addams Family. Notable films the company produced include The Sandpiper, The Cincinnati Kid, The Fearless Vampire Killers, Ice Station Zebra, Summer Lovers, The Burning, King, Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill, and Blow Out.
The Beverly Hillbillies is a 1993 American comedy film starring Jim Varney, Diedrich Bader, Erika Eleniak, Cloris Leachman, Lily Tomlin, Dabney Coleman, Lea Thompson, Rob Schneider and Penny Fuller. It is based on the 1962–1971 TV series of the same name and features cameo appearances by Buddy Ebsen, Dolly Parton, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The film was directed by Penelope Spheeris.
Maxie's World is an American animated children's television program produced by DIC Animation City. Distributed by Claster Television and Saban International and originally aired in first-run syndication in the United States from September 14, 1987 through October 27, 1987 and September 18, 1989 through September 1, 1990, The Family Channel from 1993 and 1998, and the UK aired in CITV from 1990 and 1995 and GMTV from 1993 and 1995, it consists of one season, comprising a total of 32 episodes, each 15 minutes long. After its original run, it continued to be broadcast throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s as part of a syndication package featuring rebroadcasts of Beverly Hills Teens and It's Punky Brewster.
Northwest Passage is a 26-episode half-hour adventure television series produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer about Major Robert Rogers during the time of the French and Indian War (1756–1763). The show derived its title and the main characters Rogers, Towne, and Marriner from the 1937 novel of the same name by Kenneth Roberts, and from the 1940 MGM feature film based on the novel. The scope of the novel was much broader than that of the series, and the second half of the book included an historically based attempt by Rogers to find a water route through North America as a "passage" to the Pacific Ocean. This attempt, lending its name to the novel and used by Roberts as a metaphor for the questing human spirit, is referenced in the first episode.
Return of the Beverly Hillbillies is a 1981 American made-for-television comedy film based on the 1962–1971 sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies which reunited original cast members Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas and Nancy Kulp reprising their characters of Jed Clampett, Elly May Clampett and Jane Hathaway, along with newcomers Werner Klemperer as C.D. Medford, Ray Young as Jethro Bodine and Imogene Coca as Granny's 100-year-old mother; noticeably absent are cast members Irene Ryan (Granny) and Raymond Bailey, who had died in 1973 and 1980 respectively, and Max Baer Jr. who declined to participate.
Donna Douglas, best known for her role as the tomboy, critter-loving Elly May Clampett on the 1960s fish-out-of-water CBS sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, died on New Year's Day.
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