Donna Douglas is best known for her role as the stunningly beautiful Elly May Clampett on the classic sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. She portrayed the role from 1962 to 1971, making her a household name and one of the most recognizable actresses of the era. However, after the show ended, she took a surprising career change that many of her fans may not be aware of.
Born in 1932 in Louisiana, Donna Douglas grew up in poverty with her family. She began her career as a beauty queen, winning the title of “Miss Baton Rouge” and “Miss New Orleans” in the late 1950s. She then went on to pursue acting and landed her breakout role as Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies.
After the show ended, Douglas struggled to find work as an actress. She continued to make appearances on various television shows and films, but the roles were often small and not particularly memorable. In the early 1970s, she decided to take a break from acting and focus on her personal life.
During this time, Douglas became a born-again Christian and began devoting herself to various charitable causes. She also wrote a children’s book, “Miss Donna’s Mulberry Acres Farm,” and released a gospel album titled “Donna Douglas Sings Gospel.”
In the late 1980s, Douglas made a surprising career change and began working as a real estate agent. She found success in the field and even opened her own real estate company in Louisiana.
Douglas remained active in the entertainment industry, making occasional appearances on talk shows and attending fan events. She also continued to work in real estate until her passing in 2015.
Despite her successful career as an actress and later as a real estate agent, Douglas’ personal life was not without its challenges. She was married twice, and both marriages ended in divorce. She also experienced tragedy when her son died in a car accident in 1980.
In her personal life, Donna Douglas was married twice. Her first marriage was to Roland Bourgeois Jr. in 1949, when she was just 16 years old. The couple had a son, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1954. Her second marriage was to Robert M. Leeds in 1971, but that marriage also ended in divorce in 1980.
Douglas was a devout Christian and often credited her faith with helping her through difficult times in her life. She was also known for her philanthropic work, supporting various charities throughout her life. On January 1, 2015, at the age of 81, Douglas passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Despite these setbacks, Donna Douglas was known for her positive attitude and unwavering faith. She continued to inspire fans with her work and her personal life, making her a beloved figure both on and off the screen.
In conclusion, Donna Douglas may have been most famous for her role as Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, but her surprising career change and her dedication to charity work and her faith make her a fascinating figure in her own right. Her legacy continues to live on through her work and her impact on the entertainment industry.