Mary Elizabeth McDonough

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Mary Elizabeth McDonough
Mary Elizabeth McDonough (2012, crop).jpg
McDonough at The Waltons 40th Anniversary in September 2012
Born (1961-05-04) May 4, 1961 (age 60)
OccupationActress, writer
Years active1971present
Rob Wickstrom
(m. 19881996)
(m. 2011)

Mary Elizabeth McDonough (born May 4, 1961), [1] sometimes credited as Mary Beth McDonough, is an American actress and writer, best known for her role as Erin Walton on The Waltons from 1972 to 1981.


Early life

Mary Elizabeth McDonough was born May 4, 1961 in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles, California, the third of four children to Lawrence and Elizabeth (née Murray) McDonough. [2] Her father was an Irish American ex-marine from Nebraska, while her mother was from La Junta, Colorado. [3] McDonough was raised Catholic, in what she described as a working-class family. [4] She and her siblings were raised in Northridge, and attended Our Lady of Lourdes School in Los Angeles. [5] McDonough was an active theater student, and became interested in acting in elementary school. [6]


McDonough on set of The Waltons, 1973 Mary McDonough (1973 press photo).jpg
McDonough on set of The Waltons , 1973

McDonough began her career as a child actor, portraying Erin Walton in the series The Waltons beginning in 1972, a role which she would portray until the series' finale in 1981. [7] She made her feature film debut with a minor part in the action film Lovely But Deadly (1981) before co-starring with Melissa Sue Anderson in the television horror film Midnight Offerings (1981). [8] McDonough was subsequently cast in a lead role in the slasher film Mortuary (1983), opposite Lynda Day George and Bill Paxton. [9] She later reprised her role of Erin Walton in the Waltons television reunion films A Wedding on Walton's Mountain, Mother's Day on Walton's Mountain, and A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain (all released in 1982). In 1987, she had a lead role in the dark comedy Funland , about an unhinged amusement park operator.

In the 1990s, McDonough appeared as Erin Walton in a further three Waltons films: A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion (1993), A Walton Wedding (1995), and A Walton Easter (1997). [10] [1]

In the 2000s, she returned to television acting, guest-starring on Boston Legal and The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006–2009). McDonough was a radio guest and has been on international and syndicated shows such as Get Focused Radio with Kate Hennessy. She can be seen on the internet in the show McDougall M.D. as part of the broadcasts on the TBN network.

In 2018, McDonough's book Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane was adapted into the Hallmark Channel film of the same name starring Alicia Witt and Colin Ferguson. [11] McDonough appeared in the film in a minor supporting role.

Personal life

McDonough suffers from lupus erythematosus, which she claimed on her In the Know plastic surgery awareness website stemmed from leaking silicone from her breast implants. [12]



1981 Lovely But Deadly Denise
1983 Mortuary Christie Parson
1984SnowballingKaren Reed
1985Impure ThoughtsSister Juliet
Waiting to ActLinda
1987 Funland Kristin Cumming
1989The Making of MeWife / Mother of newborn Short film
1994Heaven SentKathy Chandler
1997One of Those NightsAndrea Harris
2014The Costume ShopJessica's Mom
Monster Hunters USA And Day Care CenterMom DailyShort film
2018 Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane Caroline ReynoldsHallmark television film
Amateur Math Teacher


1981 General Hospital Heidi HopkinsTV series
1971The Homecoming: A Christmas Story Erin Walton TV pilot for The Waltons
1972-1981 The Waltons Main role (213 episodes)
1979 Beat The Clock Herself (contestant)Game show (5 episodes)
1980The Waltons: A Decade of the WaltonsErin WaltonTV film
1981 Midnight Offerings Robin PrentissTelevision film
1982 A Wedding on Walton's Mountain Erin Walton
Mother's Day on Walton's Mountain
A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain
The Love Boat Laura Barber1 episode
1983Abby FosterEpisode: "Abby's Maiden Voyage"
1989 Hunter Vera DonovanEpisode: "A Girl Named Hunter"
1993 Bodies of Evidence Sarah GentryEpisode: "The Formula"
A Walton Thanksgiving Erin WaltonTV film
1995 A Walton Wedding
The Secret World of Alex Mack Betsy PhillipsEpisode: "Suspect"
1996 Promised Land Claire's MotherEpisode: "Christmas"
1997 A Walton Easter Erin WaltonTV film
ER Jean TwomeyEpisode: "Random Acts"
1998 Diagnosis: Murder Colleen AkinsEpisode: "Baby Boom"
The Pretender Mrs. FalkEpisode: "Crash"
1999 Ally McBeal Attorney Gloria SteppEpisode: "Only the Lonely"
Walker, Texas Ranger Jill AllenEpisode: "Safe House"
2001 The Division Mrs. BerwinEpisode: "Secrets and Lies"
2002 The West Wing BethEpisode: "Game On"
Will & Grace MomEpisodes: "Humongous Growth", "All About Christmas Eve"
2006 Boston Legal Janice WarnerEpisode: "Smile"
Where There's a WillDr. BurtonTV film
2006-2009 The New Adventures of Old Christine Mrs. WilhoiteRecurring role (8 episodes)
2007 Christmas at Cadillac Jack's MadgeTV film
2012Lake EffectsElizabeth

Other work

1998CreampuffAssociate producer
2000For the Love of MayDirector & writer

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  1. 1 2 Collar, Cammila. "Mary McDonough Biography". AllMovie . Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  2. McDonough 2011, pp. 1–4.
  3. McDonough 2011, pp. 2–3.
  4. McDonough 2011, pp. 2–6.
  5. McDonough 2011, pp. 7–8.
  6. McDonough 2011, p. 8.
  7. McDonough 2011, pp. 100–107.
  8. "Midnight Offerings". Moviefone . Archived from the original on June 30, 2012.
  9. "Mortuary". AFI Catalog of Feature Films . American Film Institute. Archived from the original on May 8, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  10. "Mary McDonough Filmography". AllMovie . Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  11. Ng, Philiana (August 15, 2018). "Hallmark Reveals Casts for Two Christmas Movies (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight . Archived from the original on November 22, 2018.
  12. McDonough, Mary (5 September 2003). "Our Stories - Mary McDonough". Archived from the original on 11 April 2004. Retrieved 26 January 2018.


Further reading