Donna Douglas, best known for her role as hillbilly bombshell Elly May Clampett on the classic sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies has died at the age of 82.
Douglas passed away on New Year’s Day at Baton Rouge General Hospital, near her home in Zachary, Louisiana, Her family confirmed Friday to Baton Rouge’s The Advocate.
Family members remembered her Friday for her strong Christian faith and her love of animals, a trait Douglas shared with the “critter-loving” character she was known for portraying on CBS, during its nine-season run.
Douglas, born Doris Smith, was raised on a farm in rural Louisiana. She later attended high school in north Baton Rouge, before marrying at seventeen, but after a divorce, set out for New York to pursue a career in acting. She eventually landed on the hit show The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962.
“It was the American dream,” she told her hometown paper of her role in 1999. “You see, here are these little down-and-out people that had nothing. Everybody latches onto that.”
Douglas’ death now leaves Max Baer Jr. as the only remaining original Hillbillies cast member. Baer Jr., now 77, played the fictional Elly May’s cousin, Jethro.
The family is planning a private service, which is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 5.