Today is Donna Douglas' birthday. You'll know her best for her role as Ellie Mae Clampett on 'Beverly Hillbillies', and properly for her role as the patient in 'The Twilight Zone' episode "Eye Of The Beholder". The last movie that she made (out of only five or six) was a biggie - playing the title character of Frankie in "Frankie And Johnny"... opposite Elvis Presley.
Some sources list this as her 80th birthday; others claim she's a year younger. Whichever, it's nice to pay tribute to the people who enriched my tele-viewing experience while they're still alive. So I'd like to offer up a Super Six List of Donna Douglas' best TV roles. (My brother did the same thing with his "Morning Five" at the newspaper where he's an editor. And although he took some of my suggestions, he explored her forays into other fictional universes......)
1] The aforementioned "Twilight Zone"
The interesting thing about "The Eye Of The Beholder" was that it was a different actress under the bandages, or at least doing the voice-over. (She was deemed a better actress, but not as beautiful as Donna Douglas for the big reveal.)
Ms. Douglas had a recurring role as Barbara Simmons in four episodes of this detective series.
3] 'McMillan & Wife'
Donna Douglas previously worked with Rock Hudson in "Lover, Come Back" (where she played Tony Randall's secretary). In this episode, "The Man Without A Face", she played the alluring Rita, who teased Mac into a reunion with his former associates in the CIA.
4] 'Mr. Ed'
She played three different roles in three different episodes of 'Mr. Ed' but it's the first one that merits attention. Although the show was about a man who talked to a horse, the episode was about a man who would talk to a chair near the end of his career. The name of the episode? "Clint Eastwood Meets Mister Ed".
Donna Douglas made her TV debut in the episode "The Casino" as Nancy.
6] 'The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!'
This was her penultimate TV role. (Her last role was in a video short.) What makes this special is that she reprised her role as Ellie Mae Clampett! With her appearance as Ellie Mae in a TV special and in a reunion TV movie, she is eligible for membership in the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame. And wouldn't she make a lovely candidate as the May Queen next year (when I think she really will turn 80?)
Happy birthday, Donna Douglas! And if she shares the day with her Toobworld sister, happy birthday to Ellie Mae too!