“She was a very good Christian lady,” says Smith. “Whenever she gave presents, they always came with [passages] from Scripture.” Douglas shared her faith in God at hundreds of churches, schools and organizations across the country. According to Baton Rouge TV station WAFB, when Douglas signed an autograph, she included the scripture Proverbs 3:5-6 (“Trust the Lord with all your heart…”)
A former Miss Baton Rouge and Miss New Orleans, Donna grew up in Pride, Louisiana, where she played softball and basketball and was a member of her high school’s first graduating class.
She went on to enjoy a busy career in television and film, including appearances on “The Twilight Zone,” opposite Elvis Presley in the film Frankie and Johnny, and on the programs “Mr. Ed” and “Route 66,” among others. However, her most popular role was that of Elly May Clampett, the sweet, naïve Ozark girl whose family suddenly went from rags to riches and moved to California. According to the Associated Press, Douglas didn’t mind the association. “So many kinds of people relate to Elly May,” she said. “So many people love her, and that means a lot to me.”
“The Beverly Hillbillies,” starring Buddy Ebsen (1908-2003) as Jed Clampett and Irene Ryan (1902-1973) as Granny, consistently ranked in the top most-watched programs during its nine-year run on CBS.
After the show ended, Douglas moved back to Zachary, Louisiana, to be near her only child, son Danny Bourgeois. She worked in real estate, recorded country and gospel albums and wrote a children’s book with biblical themes.
Donna is survived by her son, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and one brother.
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons