Valry Guerrero

Written by Valry Guerrero

Modified & Updated: 09 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Mary Elizabeth McDonough is a versatile and talented actress who has left an indelible mark on both the television and film industries. Best known for her role as Erin Walton in the iconic television series, “The Waltons,” McDonough captivated audiences with her heartfelt and authentic performance. However, there are many fascinating facts about McDonough that go beyond her on-screen presence. From her philanthropic endeavors to her personal journey, McDonough’s life is a remarkable testament to strength, resilience, and creativity. In this article, we will delve into 17 astounding facts about Mary Elizabeth McDonough that showcase her multifaceted talents and captivating personality.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mary Elizabeth McDonough began acting at 10, wowed audiences as Erin Walton, and continues to inspire with her advocacy for mental health, women’s rights, and organic living.
  • McDonough’s diverse career spans acting, directing, producing, and coaching, while her dedication to important causes and family values shines through her impactful work.
Table of Contents

Mary Elizabeth McDonough started her acting career at the age of 10.

Mary Elizabeth McDonough, best known for her role as Erin Walton on the hit TV show “The Waltons,” began her acting journey at a young age, showcasing her talent and passion for the craft.

She was a regular cast member on “The Waltons” for nearly a decade.

With her captivating performance as Erin Walton, McDonough became a beloved member of the cast and contributed to the show’s immense success during its run from 1972 to 1981.

Her portrayal of Erin Walton earned her critical acclaim.

McDonough’s exceptional acting skills and ability to bring depth to her character garnered her praise from both critics and audiences alike.

She wrote a memoir titled “Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton.”

McDonough shared her experiences and life lessons in her memoir, offering readers a glimpse into her personal journey as an actress and the impact her role on “The Waltons” had on her life.

McDonough has appeared in numerous television shows and films.

After her time on “The Waltons,” McDonough continued to make notable appearances in various TV shows and movies, showcasing her versatility as an actress.

She has been a vocal advocate for mental health awareness.

McDonough has used her platform to raise awareness about mental health issues, sharing her own struggles and encouraging others to seek help and support.

She is an accomplished director and producer.

In addition to her acting career, McDonough has successfully ventured into directing and producing, showcasing her talent behind the camera as well.

McDonough has worked on several theater productions.

Her love for the performing arts extends to the stage, where she has been involved in various theater productions, further exhibiting her range as an actress.

She is an advocate for organic living.

McDonough promotes the importance of living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, advocating for organic food choices and environmentally-friendly practices.

McDonough has made guest appearances on popular TV shows.

Her talent and recognition in the industry have led to guest appearances on well-known shows such as “ER,” “Will & Grace,” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” to name a few.

She has been honored with awards for her acting contributions.

McDonough’s exceptional performances have earned her recognition and accolades, including awards for her work in television and film.

McDonough is a passionate advocate for women’s rights.

She actively supports organizations and initiatives that promote gender equality and empower women to achieve their full potential.

She has shared her expertise as an acting coach.

McDonough has dedicated her time to coaching aspiring actors, sharing her knowledge and skills to help them develop their craft and pursue their dreams.

McDonough is a philanthropist.

She is involved with various charitable causes and uses her influence to make a positive impact in the world.

She continues to stay connected with “The Waltons” fanbase.

McDonough remains engaged with the loyal fans of “The Waltons,” attending fan events and maintaining an active presence on social media.

McDonough is a sought-after speaker.

Her experiences as an actress, author, and advocate have made her a compelling and inspiring speaker, sharing her story and motivating others.

She values family and cherishes her time with loved ones.

Above all else, McDonough places great importance on her family and cherishes the moments spent with her loved ones.

These 17 astounding facts about Mary Elizabeth McDonough showcase her multifaceted career, her dedication to important causes, and her enduring impact as an actress and advocate.

Whether it’s her unforgettable portrayal of Erin Walton on “The Waltons,” her commitment to mental health awareness, or her unwavering support for women’s rights, McDonough continues to inspire and make a difference in the world.


From her humble beginnings as a child actress to her inspiring journey as an author and advocate, Mary Elizabeth McDonough has left an indelible mark in the entertainment industry. Her talent, resilience, and dedication have made her a beloved figure among fans. Throughout her career, McDonough has faced triumphs and challenges, but she has always managed to come out stronger. With her genuine personality and passion for her craft, McDonough continues to captivate audiences worldwide. As we reflect on her accomplishments and contributions, it is clear that Mary Elizabeth McDonough’s legacy will endure for years to come.


1. When did Mary Elizabeth McDonough start her acting career?

Mary Elizabeth McDonough started her acting career at a young age. She made her debut in 1971, at the age of ten, with a role in the television series “The Waltons.”

2. How many seasons was Mary Elizabeth McDonough part of “The Waltons”?

Mary Elizabeth McDonough portrayed the character of Erin Walton in the popular television show “The Waltons” for a total of nine seasons, from 1971 to 1981.

3. What other notable roles has Mary Elizabeth McDonough played?

Aside from her iconic role as Erin Walton, Mary Elizabeth McDonough has appeared in various television shows, including “ER,” “The Love Boat,” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

4. Is Mary Elizabeth McDonough also an author?

Yes, Mary Elizabeth McDonough is an accomplished author. She has written several books, including her memoir “Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton,” which became a bestseller.

5. What advocacy work is Mary Elizabeth McDonough involved in?

Mary Elizabeth McDonough is a strong advocate for women’s health and empowerment. She has spoken openly about her personal struggles and has used her platform to raise awareness about important topics such as body image and self-esteem.

6. Does Mary Elizabeth McDonough still continue to act today?

Yes, Mary Elizabeth McDonough continues to act in various projects. She remains active in the entertainment industry and continues to portray characters that resonate with audiences.

Mary Elizabeth McDonough's remarkable journey in the entertainment industry is truly inspiring. Her dedication to her craft and passion for making a positive impact on the world are admirable. If you enjoyed learning about this talented actress, why not explore other fascinating topics? Discover the captivating world of silent movie stars who paved the way for today's film industry. Uncover intriguing facts about the beloved American television series "Bewitched." Or, delve into the lives and works of famous authors who have shaped literature throughout history. There's always something new and exciting to learn!

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