Vancouver Sun

Douglas played tomboy on Beverly Hillbillie­s


NEW YORK — Donna Douglas, who played the buxom tomboy Elly May Clampett on the hit 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillie­s, has died.

Douglas died Thursday in Baton Rouge, La., of pancreatic cancer, her niece Charlene Smith said. Douglas was 82. She was best known for her role in The Beverly Hillbillie­s, the CBS comedy about a backwoods Ozark family who moved to Beverly Hills after striking it rich from oil discovered on their land.

The series, which ran from 1962 to 1971, also starred the late Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan as well as Max Baer Jr., who turns 77 on Sunday.

As Elly May, she seemed blissfully unaware of her status as a bumpkin blond bombshell. Typically she was clad in a snug flannel shirt and tight jeans cinched with a rope belt, and she seemed to prefer her critters to any beau.

Chosen from more than 500 other actresses, Douglas said she felt at ease playing the role because, like her character, she grew up a poor Southern tomboy.

The show was assailed by critics, and the network president who put it on the air. The public, however, felt quite the opposite: It ran for nine seasons, often in the top 10.

After The Beverly Hillbillie­s, Douglas worked in real estate, recorded country and gospel music albums and wrote a book for children that drew on biblical themes.

Douglas was married to Roland John Bourgeois, Jr. until 1954, and then to The Beverly Hillbillie­s director Robert M. Leeds. They divorced in 1980. Survivors include her son, Danny P. Bourgeois.

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