Why Did Michael Learned Leave 'The Waltons' After 6 Successful Years?

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Popular for her role in 'The Waltons', read on to know why did Michael Learned leave The Waltons even after six successful years on the television series.

Written By Shruti Mukherjee | Mumbai | Updated On:
why did michael learned leave the waltons

Michael Learned has some iconic roles to her name in Hollywood but none quite so popular as Ma Walton or Olivia Walton it seems. This character was from the popular television series The Waltons which aired in 1972 reportedly brought international success to Learned. However, six years later, she decided to terminate her contract and leave the show. Recently, after an interview with an international portal, it became clear why did Michael Learned leave The Waltons

Why did Michael Learned leave The Waltons?

In the interview, Michael Learned reportedly revealed that when John-Boy came back on The Waltons with a new face and voice, something changed in her. She felt that she could not continue with the show. Learned also reportedly added that she felt she was simply sitting around on the set for as long as 14 hours saying "More coffee John?" She also said that this might have been because she was bored. Learned reportedly decided to quit thinking she had enough money to sustain herself and her children but it proved otherwise in the future as she herself confessed. 

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Michael Learned's exit from The Waltons was announced through tuberculosis of her character, Olivia Walton and her subsequent stay at the sanatorium. However, despite her exit from the television series, Learned continued to appear in the movies of The Waltons. For her role as Ma Walton, Michael Learned earned four Golden Globe nominations and six Emmy nominations out of which she won three. Apart from her, the cast of The Waltons also included Judy Norton Taylor, Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite, Earl Hammer Jr. and other prominent names. 

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Michael Learned reportedly starred in The Waltons because she had to support her three children after her divorce from Peter Donat in 1972. Apparently she had not received any alimony after her divorce and this prompted her to take on the role. But The Waltons brought great fame to the actor who then went on to act in various television series and movies like Nurse, Living Dolls, A Walton Thanksgiving, A Walton Wedding, Murder in New Hampshire, and A Deadly Business

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