Michael Learned is a four-time Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated American actress best known for her role as Olivia Walton on The Waltons.


The Waltons

She 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 gender. She was nominated for six Emmy Awards and won three for her role of Olivia Walton. In 1979, her contract was not renewed; some sources indicate that she opted not to re-sign with the show.

Her seminal character's abrupt disappearance was explained by Olivia's developing tuberculosis and entering a sanitarium. For continuity's sake, she did make occasional guest appearances until the show's cancellation. She was also nominated for four Golden Globe Awards.


She later starred as Nurse Mary Benjamin in the hospital drama Nurse, which ran on CBS during the 1981-82 season. Though the series was well-received critically, it was not a rating success and lasted only two seasons. She was, however, nominated for two Emmy Awards for "Outstanding Lead Actress" and won yet another Emmy for her role in 1982.

Other television credits

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", and "My Five Stages" from Season 5.


She has appeared in many stage productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and elsewhere, including most recently in the 2006-2007 national touring production of On Golden Pond.

Personal life

She was born on April 9, 1939, in Washington, D.C., but lived on a farm with her five sisters for the first ten years of her 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. Records indicate she has been married to John Doherty since 1997, although it is not known how her marriage to Parker ended.[citation needed]Error on call to Template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specified.



The Other Man (1963) Wojeck (1968)


The Waltons (1972-1979) (as Miss Michael Learned) Gunsmoke (1973) Match Game 73 (1973) Hurricane (1974) It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy (1974) Police Story (1974) Widow (1976) CBS: On the Air (1978) Little Mo (1978) The 30th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (1978) The Television Annual: 1978/1979 (1979)


Nurse (1980) Touched by Love (1980) A Christmas Without Snow (1980) Nurse (1981) Politics of Poison (1982) Night of 100 Stars (1982) Mother's Day on Waltons Mountain (1982) The Parade (1984) St. Elsewhere (1984) Power (1986) All My Sons (1986) A Deadly Business (1986) Picnic (1986) Mercy or Murder? (1987) Hothouse (1988) Roots: The Gift (1988) Living Dolls (1989) Murder, She Wrote (1989) Who's the Boss? (1989)


External links

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