EBR actress Donna Douglas dies at 81
BATON ROUGE - Donna Douglas, the Louisiana actress best known as Elly May Clampett on the 'Beverly Hillbillies' TV show, has died according to family members.
Douglas passed away Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 81 years old.
"Yesterday, our family lost a mother, grandmother, sister and a friend," Douglas' granddaughter said. "She will be remembered for her strong Christian presence, upbeat spirit, and unbelievably kind heart. Her career and life brought joy and smiles to so many, and our family respectfully asks for privacy during this difficult time. We appreciate the thoughts and prayers from all those who knew and loved her."
Douglas was born near Zachary and competed in beauty pageants before moving to New York to pursue a career in entertainment. She began regularly appearing on network TV shows through the 1950s and 1960s before landing the role as Elly May in 1962, a role she would keep through the award-winning series run from '62 to '71. She also starred in several movies, including opposite Elvis Presley in Frederick de Cordova's 'Frankie and Johnny' in 1966.
In her later years Douglas worked in real estate, performed as a gospel singer, traveled as an inspirational speaker and wrote two children's books. She was also involved in two legal disputes, first suing Disney in the '90s claiming they stole the idea for "Sister Act" from her. In 2011 she sued Mattel for making a Barbie doll using her likeness without permission. She lost the "Sister Act" case and settled the Barbie case.
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