Michael Learned

Michael Learned
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Michael Learned Biography

She was born on April 9, 1938 in Washington, D.C., but lived on a farm with her five sisters for the first ten years of her life. 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. In 1979, she opted not to renew her contract; her disappearance was explained by Olivia Walton's developing tuberculosis and entering a sanitarium. For continuity's sake, she did make occasional guest appearances until the show's cancellation. Michael Learned won three Emmy awards for her role on "The Waltons". 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 critically well received, it was not a ratings success, and lasted only one season. She did, however, win yet another Emmy award for Best Lead Actress in a drama series. She also had a starring role in the 1989 sitcom "Living Dolls", and reprised her "The Waltons" role for a number of TV movies and reunions in the 1990s. Currently, she is playing "Judge Helen Turner" on the ABC soap operas "All My Children" an "One Life to Live" as part of the "baby switch" storyline currently playing out on both shows. 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. Her second marriage, to Glenn Chadwick, lasted from 1975 - 1977, again ending in divorce; she has been married to William Parker since 1979. Read Full Bio >>

Michael Learned Awards

YearAwardCategoryForResult
1982 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series "Nurse" (1981). Won
1981 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series "Nurse" (1981). Nominated
1978 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series "The Waltons" (1971). Nominated
1977 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series "The Waltons" (1971). Nominated
1976 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series "The Waltons" (1971). Won

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Michael Learned Trivia

  • Married to Canadian-American actor Peter Donat, by whom she had 3 children, until their divorce.
  • Won four acting Emmy awards: three for "The Waltons" (1972) and one for her subsequent series "Nurse" (1981).
  • She was originally billed "Miss Michael Learned" on "The Waltons" (1972) not out of ego or demand, but for the simple fact that Ms. Learned was unknown to the public at the time she won the role of Olivia and the powers that be did not want the audience to be confused about her gender.
  • Eldest of six sisters, she lived on a farm during her first ten years of life.
  • Stage-trained at San Francisco's ACT company where she frequently appeared with her first husband, actor Peter Donat. They married when she was 16.
  • She is the godmother of Christopher Plummer's daughter, Amanda Plummer. As a matter of fact, Amanda's middle name is Michael, after her.


Michael Learned Photos

  • Michael Learned

    CBS at 75

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