One the the best TV reflects of the ‘70s was The Waltons, a family members drama collection in countryside Virginia throughout the good Depression and also World battle II. 

For seven-and-a-half seasons, actress Michael Learned starred as matriarch Olivia Walton, the model of an ideal parent. So when it was announced that she would certainly be leave the collection midway with Season 8, pan (and producers) to be crushed. It’s a decision the the now 81-year-old quiet regrets.

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The character’s final appearance ~ above the present was in the Season 8 illustration "The Waiting," i beg your pardon aired top top Nov. 22, 1979. 

Initially, the mother of 7 moves to Washington D.C. To be with her eldest child John-Boy, who's injured while report on the battle in Europe. However later in the series, it’s revealed the Olivia is gift treated for tuberculosis at a sanatorium in Arizona. 


Michael went on come co-star in 4 of the six reunion movies — confirming the Olivia does make it through her condition — but the Emmy winner to be MIA for all of Season 9. What made she quit the drama 18 month shy that the finale? Exhaustion. 

"On a tv thing it's for this reason minute, the moments space so minute. It's stop and start, stop and also start," Michael defined in one interview shortly after she exit. "In a scene where there's any real emotion, it's very hard come dredge that up and also then be stopped and then wait for fifty percent an hour and then dredge it up again." 

During a 2017 chat v Fox News, she added, "I just couldn’t carry out it anymore… ns felt a the majority of the times ns was sitting about for 14 hrs saying, 'More coffee, John?' The fact is i was bored. And I believed I had sufficient money, which wasn’t true."

Following her departure, the actors filmed simply 36 an ext episodes. "There’s to be times when I’ve remorse only in that it probably would have been much better to finish the entirety show," Michael admitted. 


Though she left top top her own terms, the actress still discovered it daunting to to speak goodbye. "I to be crying on and off camera," she recalled come The Washington Post

"I lastly got concerned — i checked through the director. I said, 'You know, she's just going to a sanatorium. Maybe what we're play is Michael Learned leaving The Waltons rather than Olivia.'"

The climate 33-year-old, who changed Patricia Neal together Olivia complying with the 1971 TV movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, begrudgingly auditioned for the role. "I didn’t desire to execute it. Yet I to be going with a divorce, and I had three kids to support," Michael said Fox News

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"I wasn’t attracted to it in ~ all! I had finished law 'Private Lives,' i m sorry Francis Coppola directed, and I played Cleopatra that very same season in ~ the American Conservatory theater in mountain Francisco. I wasn’t prepared to beat a 40-year-old farmer’s wife," she shared. "Of course in retrospect, it was a gift indigenous God. It saved my life."

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