Elinor Donahue is most known for her roles as Betty Anderson on Father Knows Best and Ellie Walker on The Andy Griffith Show. With iconic TV show credits like that, she must be worth a pretty penny. Those are some of her most-known roles, but she’s done a lot of acting. She’s amassed over 100 acting credits during her career. She’s managed to rack up a net worth of $3 million.
She first started acting in vaudeville as a child. As a teen, she evolved into having bit parts. Her first movie role was in the 1942 film Girls Town, although it was uncredited. She acted as Betty Anderson on Father Knows Best from 1954 to 1960. Immediately after that, she starred as Ellie Walker on The Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1961.
These were by far Elinor Donahue’s two most popular roles. In fact, she was even nominated for awards for those roles. She won a TV Land Legend Award for The Andy Griffith Show in 2004. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series for Father Knows Best in 1959.
Elinor Donahue’s Time On ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
If you’re a fan of the show or of Elinor Donahue, then you know she didn’t stick around on the comedy for long. She managed to make a lasting impression on fans as town’s “lady druggist” in only 11 episodes, though. It’s interesting that she was able to fit a role so perfectly, considering she never even read for her part. According to her, she only knew that she was going to be on the show. The rest is history.
Donahue was only in the first season of The Andy Griffith Show, but she was originally supposed to stick around longer. In fact, she had a three-year contract with the popular show. Unfortunately, she had personal reasons for leaving the show as quickly as she did.
According to her, she was going through a tough time in her life. She was tired, and the timing for such a long-term acting commitment wasn’t great. Overall, Elinor Donahue just felt that she wasn’t giving the show her all. She felt insecure in the role, and some even thought that the show didn’t do enough to round out her character. Whatever it was, she needed a break.
Even though she needed time off from the show and wanted to rest, a part of Donahue secretly hoped that the show would make her stay. If they had denied her request, she would’ve stayed. If they had done that, it could’ve been a sign that they saw long-term value in having her on the show. However, The Andy Griffith Show understood her struggles and gave her to OK to leave.