Biography

Mary Eleanor Donahue (born April 19, 1937), credited as Elinor Donahue, is an American actress, best remembered today for playing the role of Betty Anderson, the eldest child of Robert Young and Jane Wyatt, on the 1950s American sitcom Father Knows Best.

Donahue achieved stardom for her role as the elder daughter, Betty, on the television family series Father Knows Best. Her co-stars were Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Billy Gray as her younger brother, James "Bud" Anderson, Jr., and Lauren Chapin as her younger sister, Kathy.

Donahue was a musical judge in ABC's Jukebox Jury (1953–54). While in the first season of Father Knows Best she also appeared on The Ray Bolger Show, starring Ray Bolger as a song-and-dance man. Thereafter, she was cast with James Best, Ann Doran, and J. Carrol Naish in the 1956 episode "The White Carnation" of the religion anthology series, Crossroads. She guest starred on an episode of U.S. Marshal. She also appeared as a new bride in the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show episode titled "The Newlyweds" that aired April 2, 1956.

She played Georgiana Balanger in the episode "Dennis and the Wedding" (1960) on Dennis the Menace.[5] Donahue was also cast, in 1960, with Marion Ross in an episode ("Duet") of The Brothers Brannagan. She played Miriam Welby on ABC's The Odd Couple, Jane Mulligan on Mulligan's Stew, and Nurse Hunnicut on Days of Our Lives.

She was featured in 12 episodes of CBS's The Andy Griffith Show as pharmacist Ellie Walker, even getting a mention in the opening credits. The character was intended to be a love interest for Sheriff Andy Taylor, but after one season (1960–1961), Donahue decided to ask for a release from her three-year contract.[6]

In 1963, Donahue was cast in an episode of NBC's short-lived modern Western series, Redigo, with Richard Egan as the rancher Jim Redigo; then in 1964, she appeared as Melanie in "The Secret in the Stone" in the NBC medical drama dealing with psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour, starring Jack Ging and Ralph Bellamy.

Additionally, on February 9, 1963, she played Letty May in the episode "The Burning Tree" on Have Gun Will Travel.

In the 1964–65 season, Donahue costarred as Joan Randall, the daughter of Walter Burnley, played by John McGiver, on the CBS sitcom, Many Happy Returns about the complaint department of a fictitious Los Angeles department store. She guest-appeared on Star Trek in the second-season episode "Metamorphosis" (1967) as commissioner Nancy Hedford.

In 1966, she guest starred on the TV series A Man Called Shenandoah, episode 8, "Town On Fire."

Mary Eleanor Donahue (born April 19, 1937), credited as Elinor Donahue, is an American actress, best remembered today for playing the role of Betty Anderson, the eldest child of Robert Young and Jane Wyatt, on the 1950s American sitcom Father Knows Best.

Donahue achieved stardom for her role as the elder daughter, Betty, on the television family series Father Knows Best. Her co-stars were Robert Young, Jane Wyatt, Billy Gray as her younger brother, James "Bud" Anderson, Jr., and Lauren Chapin as her younger sister, Kathy.

Donahue was a musical judge in ABC's Jukebox Jury (1953–54). While in the first season of Father Knows Best she also appeared on The Ray Bolger Show, starring Ray Bolger as a song-and-dance man. Thereafter, she was cast with James Best, Ann Doran, and J. Carrol Naish in the 1956 episode "The White Carnation" of the religion anthology series, Crossroads. She guest starred on an episode of U.S. Marshal. She also appeared as a new bride in the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show episode titled "The Newlyweds" that aired April 2, 1956.

She played Georgiana Balanger in the episode "Dennis and the Wedding" (1960) on Dennis the Menace.[5] Donahue was also cast, in 1960, with Marion Ross in an episode ("Duet") of The Brothers Brannagan. She played Miriam Welby on ABC's The Odd Couple, Jane Mulligan on Mulligan's Stew, and Nurse Hunnicut on Days of Our Lives.

She was featured in 12 episodes of CBS's The Andy Griffith Show as pharmacist Ellie Walker, even getting a mention in the opening credits. The character was intended to be a love interest for Sheriff Andy Taylor, but after one season (1960–1961), Donahue decided to ask for a release from her three-year contract.[6]

In 1963, Donahue was cast in an episode of NBC's short-lived modern Western series, Redigo, with Richard Egan as the rancher Jim Redigo; then in 1964, she appeared as Melanie in "The Secret in the Stone" in the NBC medical drama dealing with psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour, starring Jack Ging and Ralph Bellamy.

Additionally, on February 9, 1963, she played Letty May in the episode "The Burning Tree" on Have Gun Will Travel.

In the 1964–65 season, Donahue costarred as Joan Randall, the daughter of Walter Burnley, played by John McGiver, on the CBS sitcom, Many Happy Returns about the complaint department of a fictitious Los Angeles department store. She guest-appeared on Star Trek in the second-season episode "Metamorphosis" (1967) as commissioner Nancy Hedford.

In 1966, she guest starred on the TV series A Man Called Shenandoah, episode 8, "Town On Fire."

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Female

Known Credits 59

Birthday 1937-04-19

Place of Birth Tacoma, Washington, U.S.A

Official Site -

Also Known As

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Acting TV ShowsMovies

Mulligan's Stew(6 episodes) as Jane Mulligan
2003 Cold Case(1 episode)
2001 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Heart Within as Rebecca Quinn Dickinson
1996 E! True Hollywood Story(1 episode)
1994 Friends(1 episode) as Aunt Lillian
1994 Ellen(1 episode)
1993 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman(8 episodes)
1992 Eek! The Cat(83 episodes)
1991 Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare as Orphanage Woman
1990 Get a Life(37 episodes)
1990 Pretty Woman as Bridget
1987 The New Adventures of Beans Baxter(17 episodes)
1985 The Golden Girls(1 episode)
1984 Murder, She Wrote(1 episode)
1983 High School U.S.A. as Mrs. Franklin
1983 Hotel(1 episode)
1978 Diff'rent Strokes(1 episode)
1978 Doctors' Private Lives as Mona Wise
1977 The Love Boat(1 episode)
1977 The Father Knows Best Reunion as Betty Anderson
1976 Battle of the Network Stars(1 episode)
1975 S.W.A.T.(1 episode)
1974 Police Woman(1 episode)
1974 Happy Days(1 episode)
1973 Police Story(2 episodes)
1972 The Rookies(1 episode)
1970 The Odd Couple(13 episodes)
1969 In Name Only as Esther Garrity
1969 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town(1 episode)
1967 The Flying Nun(1 episode)
1966 Occasional Wife(1 episode)
1966 Star Trek(1 episode) as Commissioner Nancy Hedford
1964 Many Happy Returns(26 episodes)
1963 Redigo(1 episode)
1962 The Eleventh Hour(1 episode)
1962 The Virginian(1 episode)
1961 Dr. Kildare(1 episode)
1960 The Andy Griffith Show(12 episodes) as Ellie Walker
1959 Girls Town as Mary Lee Morgan
1959 Dennis, The Menace(1 episode)
1958 77 Sunset Strip(1 episode)
1957 Have Gun – Will Travel(1 episode)
1954 Father Knows Best(207 episodes)
1953 Letter to Loretta(2 episodes)
1953 General Electric Theater(1 episode)
1952 Love Is Better Than Ever as Pattie Marie Levoy
1951 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars(1 episode)
1951 Her First Romance
1950 My Blue Heaven as Mary (uncredited)
1950 The Happy Years as Connie Brown
1950 Singing Guns as Mike Murphy's Kid
1948 Ford Theatre(1 episode)
1948 Tenth Avenue Angel as Cynthia (uncredited)
1948 Three Daring Daughters as Alix Morgan
1947 The Unfinished Dance as Josie (as Mary Eleanor Donahue)
1946 Winter Wonderland as Betty Wheeler (as Mary Eleanor Donahue)
1944 And Now Tomorrow as Janice
1943 Mister Big as Muggsy
1942 Girls' Town as Bit Role (uncredited)

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