The Beverly Hillbillies star Donna Douglas has died at the age of 81, according to a report by CBS affiliate WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
According to WAFB, Donna Douglas died on January 2 at her home in Zachary, Louisiana.
Donna Douglas starred as Elly May Clampett, the naive only daughter of oil-rich Clampett clan, in the CBS sitcom that ran from 1962 to 1971. Buddy Ebsen played patriarch Jed Clampett, who moves his family from the Ozarks to Beverly Hills after stumbling into oil riches.
Elly May was known for her love of all kinds of “critters,” as well as for her shapely figure, form-fitting jeans and cascade of blond curls. She was a series regular through the run of the top-rated show, which was the first in a triptych of corny countrified sitcoms from creator Paul Henning that included Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.
The character’s love of “critters” was inspired by Donna Douglas’ real-life affection for animals, having grown up on her grandparents’ farm in rural Louisiana.
As a teenager, Donna Douglas moved into acting after winning several beauty pageants in her home state. She was crowned Miss Baton Rouge and Miss New Orleans in 1957, according to WAFB. She moved to New York to pursue acting and landed work as a model, in TV commercials and finally bit parts on The Perry Como Show and The Steve Allen Show.
Donna Douglas logged a slew of TV guest shots in the late 1950s and early ’60s before landing on Beverly Hillbillies.
During the run of The Beverly Hillbillies, Donna Douglas had a guest shot on the gritty CBS legal drama The Defenders. She co-starred with Elvis Presley in the 1966 movie Frankie and Johnny.
Donna Douglas’ acting career was on the wane by the mid-1970s. She turned her focus to music and the Christian media marketplace, recording several gospel albums and writing children’s books.
In recent decades Donna Douglas’ mostly been seen on screen in Beverly Hillbillies revival projects, including the 1981 telepic The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, and in vintage TV retrospectives and events.
Donna Douglas made an appearance as herself on the CBS’ sitcom The Nanny in 1999.
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Earl Scruggs, the pioneering banjo player who is credited with helping create modern country music, has died in Nashville aged 88.
Earl Scruggs died of natural causes at a Nashville hospital on Wednesday, his son Gary said.
The musician was known for his unique banjo playing technique, which involved just three fingers. It later became known as “the Scruggs picking style”.
Earl Scruggs’ innovative method can be heard on the theme tune to the 1962 series The Beverly Hillbillies.
He rose to the fame when Bill Monroe hired him to play in the Blue Grass Boys, one of the defining groups in the bluegrass musical genre.
Hollywood actor and fellow banjo player Steve Martin previously paid tribute to Earl Scruggs in the New Yorker newspaper.
“When the singer came to the end of a phrase, he filled the theatre with sparkling runs of notes that became a signature for all bluegrass music since,” Steve Martin said.
“A grand part of American music owes a debt to Earl Scruggs. Few players have changed the way we hear an instrument the way Earl has, putting him in a category with Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, and Jimi Hendrix.”
Earl Scruggs, the pioneering banjo player who is credited with helping create modern country music, has died in Nashville aged 88
Earl Scruggs later teamed up with Lester Flatt to form the Foggy Mountain Boys, also known as Flatt and Scruggs.
One of their most well known records included Foggy Mountain Breakdown, which featured in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde.
It was their recording of The Ballad of Jed Clampett that was used in The Beverly Hillbillies.
They eventually disbanded, and a rift grew between the two musicians, although they were inducted together in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985.
Earl Scruggs went on to form a group with his three sons in The Earl Scruggs Revue, playing alongside rock acts such as Steppenwolf and James Taylor.
In 1992, Earl Scruggs was among 13 recipients of a National Medal of Art.
Speaking at the time, Earl Scruggs said: “I never in my wildest dreams thought of rewards and presentations. I appreciate those things, especially this one.”
In 2001, Earl Scruggs released his first album in a decade, Earl Scruggs and Friends, featuring collaborations with other artists including Sir Elton John, Dwight Yoakam, Sting and Melissa Etheridge.