Donna Douglas (The Beverly Hillbillies)

September 26, 1932 – January 1, 2015


Donna Douglas
Donna Douglas


Elly May Clampett, born Doris Smith, died on January 1, 2015 from complications of pancreatic cancer.


According to Shelly Brown of The Browns gospel singers…



Trivia: A few years ago, Donna Douglas sued Disney over the film Sister Act. Supposedly, Donna’s production company owned rights to a very similar project, A Nun in the Closet, and thought the Whoopi Goldberg film was a direct rip off. I don’t know how that ended. Anyone? friend Brad Davidson sends this in:  I was reading your “Beverly Hillbillies” piece and, specifically, the Donna Douglas part. In it, you indicated Donna Douglas had sued Disney, claiming their production of Sister Act infringed on rights of a piece she owned.

Well, I found the scoop. In 1992, the production company owned by Donna Douglas and Curt Wilson filed a lawsuit against Disney claiming Sister Act was lifted from one of their screenplays. They claimed there were over 100 similarities between the two.  However, a federal court in Los Angeles said there were not enough similarities to constitute copyright infringement and Donna lost the case. The decision was appealed but the decision was upheld.

Just thought I would clarify. I found this information in the July 2, 2000 issue of the Pittsburgh

Thanks Brad!



In the Movieland Wax Museum, they have statues of The Beverly Hillbillies.



Don’t you find wax museums disturbing, yet compelling?

The real Hillbilly house is located next door to the Reagan’s, in Bel Air. I found it ironic that Ron and Nancy live next door to the Hillbilly house. They are more than a little like the Drysdales, don’t you think? Unfortunately, the new owners of the house had it completely revamped, and its no longer visible from the street, but this is what it used to look like.



For the life of me I cannot remember where the Drysdale house is, but this is the picture I took. friend Harry adds some fun trivia about the “Beverly Hillbillies” mansion: The 20,000-square-foot mansion in Bel Air was built as a surprise gift for a rich guy’s wife. He planned to surprise her with the mansion by saying they were going to a housewarming party. As they were heading down the *long* driveway, the wife turned to the husband and said, “Who would ever live in such a pretentious home?” Can you imagine what the hubby was thinking inside? I think it would be along the lines of, “Oh shit!” At any rate, they did move into the house but sold it after one year.

Cool info, Harry.  And cute poochie.  Everyone, meet Andy.  Andy, meet everyone.




In May of 1993, before he made complete schlock television (which I love, by the way), Jerry Springer did a week of shows in San Francisco. One of them was a Hillbilly reunion, with Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, Max Baer (for the first time ever), and Louis Nye who played Sonny Drysdale in an episode or two. My friend Steve Cox penned the definitive book about the show, and he was a guest too. I begged Steve to let me go, and he said okay, so I flew there. It was fantastic.  Through a bizarre turn of events, I had dinner the first night. Max is an offensive human being, and got ripped on vodka. Every once in a while he would laugh, and Jethro would be sitting at the table across from me. Weird. So cool though. In the middle of dinner, I excused myself and hit the payphone. I called everyone I could in 5 minutes to brag, “You will NEVER guess who I am having dinner with right now!” Max started fucking with us when he got more drunk, pretending he decided that he wasn’t going to do the show after all. That got really annoying, but all in all, it was great. I remember Max saying something about how he and Irene Ryan used to get a kick on the set, joking about how naíve Donna Douglas was. They found it quite charming, but still kind of funny. He spoke of Nancy Kulp’s dykedom, and the fact that Donna Douglas slathers on makeup with a trowel. He did tell one story about how he and Reenie were doing a scene together once, and for some reason unbeknownst to him, she kicked him with one of those army boots she wore. He asked her (not so politely) why? She pointed upwards, “You were in my key light.”

The next day, I had breakfast with Steve and Louis Nye, as you do, where he reminisced about his appearance as ZOMBO, on The Munsters. Well, actually, I reminded him of it. He had no memory of it at all, but he was a sweet guy. We met up with Buddy Ebsen, who looked like he was a thousand years old back then, and Max again.



We sat in their trailer, until they got ready for the show. Jerry Springer was nice. I met him a few times (once, in front of Nicole Simpson’s house – honest to God), and Donna Douglas, the freaky one. (thanks to Charlie, for lightening that one up).

She lived in a world of her own – a very Christian world. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, she’s just a bit odd about it. She was in a movie with Elvis, and I think she screwed him, because now if you ask her about him, she freaks. Anyway, I got to chat with them all, and it was an experience I will never forget. The show ended up being pretty good, except for Max blathering on about that stupid casino he wants to build, which he is still going on about. friend Robert sends us the link to Max’s casino project.  Thanks, Robert! friend Cecilia sends in this great shot of Max.  Mm.



June 2003:  Recently Earl Scruggs, the co-composer of the Beverly Hillbillies theme, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Donna and Max attended.




A few years ago, they made a feature length movie called The Beverly Hillbillies. Cloris Leachman played Granny too well; the late Jim Varney played Jed Clampett – not very well. Lily Tomlin was flawless as Jane Hathaway (a little too good), and handsome Deidrich Bader from The Drew Carey Show played Jethro.



It was largely forgettable, except for a fantastic appearance by my absolute favorite country singer, Dolly Parton. Buddy made an appearance as Barnaby Jones. That was amusing.

I guess I am obligated to mention that made for TV movie, The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies. Buddy, Donna, Nancy – they were the only ones in it. Imogene Coca played Granny’s mother (yes), and, oh, it was just painful. Usually I can still feel a tad nostalgic, but it was dreadful. Just dreadful.



8 thoughts on “Donna Douglas (The Beverly Hillbillies)

  • December 29, 2021 at 5:40 am

    maxs father was world heavy weight boxing champ max sr ..once max told his dad that he wanted too be a boxer ..max sr hit him with a Haymaker knocking him out …judging by the stories he may have loosened a few bolts

  • July 25, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    The comment about Elvis raping Donna Douglas is just trolling. Firstly if she never spoke about it- how would you know and secondly Elvis was many things but a rapist isn’t one of them. He was known as respectful all cast and crew members on anything he worked on

    • April 20, 2022 at 9:41 am

      Apparently you haven’t read about the “pajama parties” he used to have for teenage girls…….when he was in his late 20s. Look it up.

    • May 20, 2022 at 10:05 am

      Mike, if you re-read what was written, said Miss Douglas had never PUBICILY spoken about the assault. After her death people she told in private started speaking. Thinking further perhaps it was just an attempt. In either case, let’s hear your supposition on what would make Miss Douglas “freak out” at the mere mention of Elvis’s name? Read such strong reactions are usually the result of traumatic incidents. Natalie Wood was observed on at least one occasion literally shaking after Kirk Douglas’s name was mentioned in her presence. Think it might have anything to do with his violently raping her at 15? Even Kirk’s son, movie star Michael, has declined to defend his dad’s reputation when questioned on this.

  • June 12, 2021 at 12:41 am

    I saw that movie in the 1990’s when I was a kid, before I ever saw any episodes of the 1960’s tv show it was based on, so obviously the movie didnt make much sense until I saw the tv show years later. The “original” Elly May will always be Erika Eleniak in my mind, no offense to Donna. And they wonder why the younger crowds are so messed up.

  • September 5, 2020 at 5:30 am

    Max Baer is still amongst us. Comeon 2020 do your job!

  • August 25, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    The reason Donna Douglas freaked when Elvis was mentioned. He (allegedly) violently raped her. She has never spoken about this publicly –

    Max Baer, Jr…. less than surprised by your review. He always struck me as “Jethro the move producer” in real life. As in way too sophisticated for us mere mortals, when in fact the opposite was true.

    The house used in the Varney-Leachman Beverly Hillbillies remake was the site of the original John Gilbert estate and was later owned by a string of illustrious owners, including David O. Selzneck and Elton John.

    The guy who built the monstrosity shown in the film was a (personal opinion only) complete nut job. He built it as a spec project, asked a stratospheric price, refused to lower his ask, (despite multiple offers) & lost it to forclosure almost a decade after it was first listed! One of the most seriously insane listings in Southern California, and that’s saying something.

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