Michael Learned (Actress) as Olivia Walton - The Waltons
 
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Updated: 5/14/09

Name: Michael Learned

Born: April 9, 1939, Washington, District of Columbia

Claim To Fame: She is known for her role as Olivia Walton on The Waltons.

Family Life: She has been married three times. Her first husband was Canadian-American actor Peter Donat, from 1956-1972. She had three children by this marriage (which ended in divorce): Caleb, Christopher and Lucas. Her second marriage, to Glenn Chadwick, lasted from 1975-1977, again ending in divorce. In 1979, she married actor/screenwriter William Parker IV.

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Info: From 1972-1979, Learned starred as Olivia Walton on the television series The Waltons. She was nominated for six Emmy Awards and won three for this role.

She later starred as Nurse Mary Benjamin in the hospital drama Nurse, which ran on CBS during the 1981-82 season, and won yet another Emmy for her role in 1982. She had a starring role in the unsuccessful 1989 sitcom Living Dolls and reprised her Waltons role for a number of TV movies and reunions in the 1990s.

She played "Judge Helen Turner" on the ABC soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live as part of the "baby switch" storyline on both shows. She guest-starred in Scrubs as Mrs. Wilk in episodes "My Missed Perception", "My Buddy's Booty", "My Cabbage", "My Half-Acre", and "My Five Stages" from Season 5.

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Trivia: Eldest of six sisters, she lived on a farm during her first ten years of life.

Stage-trained at San Francisco's ACT company where she frequently appeared with her first husband, actor Peter Donat. They married when she was 17.

Is the godmother of Christopher Plummer's daughter, Amanda Plummer.

Was billed as "Miss Michael Learned" on The Waltons because she was relatively unknown at the time, and producers did not want confusion among viewers about her sex.

Where Are They Now: Learned has recently been spending her time on stage, in productions on Broadway, Off Broadway, and elsewhere, including in the 2006-2007 national touring production of On Golden Pond. In the fall of 2008 she starred in Innovation Theatre Works' production of Driving Miss Daisy, playing the title role of Daisy Werthen opposite Willis Burks II as Hoke and Dirk Blocker as Daisy's son Boolie.

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