Elly May Clampett: Actress Donna Douglas Dies at 81

Kimberly RipleyLife

Share this Post

Elly May Clampett was one of the main characters on the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, which ran from 1962 to 1971. Donna Douglas, the actress who played Elly May, died on New Year's Day at the age of 81.

According to a report from TMZ, Douglas died at her home in Louisiana with her family members and close friends by her side.

Douglas's granddaughter confirmed her passing.

In addition to her role as Elly May Clampett, Douglas appeared in several other TV series, including Mr. Ed, The Twilight Zone, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Adam 12, and Route 66. She starred alongside Elvis Presley in Frankie and Johnny.

Still it was The Beverly Hillbillies for which she remained the most famous. Elly May Clampett was constantly bringing home her 'critters,' much to the ire of Granny (played by the late Irene Ryan). She was good at convincing her Pa, Jed Clampett (played by the late Buddy Ebsen) to go along with just about all of her crazy shenanigans. She and her cousin Jethro Bodine (played by Max Baer, Jr.) managed to drive poor Granny to drink from her 'special bottle of medicine.' Max Baer, Jr. is the only regular cast member of The Beverly Hillbillies who is still living.

Donna Douglas was involved in two rather high-profile lawsuits throughout the years. The first--in the 1990s--was filed stating Disney stole the idea for the film Sister Act from her. She lost the case. And in 2011, she sued Mattel for creating a Barbie doll with the likeness of Elly May Clampett without her permission. That case was settled out of court.

Were you a fan of The Beverly Hillbillies? Was Elly May Clampett your favorite character? She is now likely resting in the big Beverly Hills mansion in the sky, along with Jed Clampett, Granny Clampett, and even their friends from the bank, (Jed was, after all, a millionaire) Mr. Drysdale and Miss Jane.

Kimberly Ripley

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and ‘Nana’ to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.