I was going to politely and respectfully ignore the passing of Donna Douglas, 82, who became world famous when she began playing Elly May Clampett on CBS’s The Beverly Hillbillies, which ran from ’62 to ’71. I’m sorry but I don’t feel much enthusiasm for stars of TV series from the “vast wasteland” days of the ’50s and ’60s. Except, of course, for actors who appeared on The Twilight Zone. And then I remembered it was Douglas who played the “ugly” patient whose face is revealed at the end of “The Eye of the Beholder,” the famed episode that aired in ’60. Almost all of her dialogue was voiced by Maxine Stuart, who had one of those husky, Tallulah Bankhead-like voices (the kind women used to get from drinking whisky and smoking unfiltered cigarettes). This didn’t match Douglas’s milk-fed farmer’s daughter looks, of course, and is therefore one of that episode’s few stand-out flaws. Born in the worst days of the Depression in September 1932, Douglas was no spring chicken when The Beverly Hillbillies began — she was just turning 30, which is no big deal today but in the paternalistic early ’60s being 30 was almost regarded as “put out to pasture” time for dishy blondes. Douglas died of pancreatic cancer. Here’s the N.Y. Times obit.
Donna Douglas as she appeared in the final minutes of the legendary Twilight Zone episode, “The Eye of the Beholder.”