Child Actor Finds New Role


If you're over a certain age or have cable, you may know the television show "The Waltons." The show had a 9-year run starting in the early '70s. Plots followed the lives of three generations of Waltons who lived together in rural Virginia during the Depression and WWII.

Among the actors was Mary McDonough, who portrayed Erin Walton. Her 2011 book is called "Lessons from the Mountain: what I learned from Erin Walton." The book is a recollection of her life as an actor, a mother, a patient and a citizen. There are no shocking revelations about her fellow Waltons, so if that's what you're after, skip this book.  It would seem that the cast had genuine respect for one another, so portraying a close-knit family was not difficult.

Yet, after the show was cancelled, Ms. McDonough struggled to find other roles. Thinking her figure was part of the problem, she had breast implants. Immediate complications were brushed off by her doctor. As her health deteriorated over the next 10 years, McDonough came to believe the implants were poisoning her. She investigated the issue, demonstrated, testified in front of Congressional committees, became an activist for women's health, and had the implants removed. Most of the book deals with how she overcame her insecurities in order to advocate for herself, her daughter and other women.

--Julie C., Headquarters

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