Donna Douglas disliked Hollywood
The Beverly Hillbillies star never got swept up in it all.
For a large portion of the population, Hollywood is the promised land. It represents dreams and the way they intersect with reality. Hollywood is the entertainment epicenter of the Western world, and it continues to build and maintain that mythology to this day.
But one star who wasn't falling for La La Land was Donna Douglas. As Elly May, Douglas delighted on The Beverly Hillbillies. But, after a taste of the filmland limelight, Douglas quickly became disillusioned with the whole system.
"I've never really liked it here," she told the Salt Lake City Deseret News in 1965. And who could blame her? Douglas was an outsider who longed for simpler times surrounded by people who loved and cared for her. Instead, she found herself in the belly of the beast, with her career taking some unexpected turns following the success of The Beverly Hillbillies.
"I want to return to Louisiana and the home and swimming pool I built there for the family."
At the time, Douglas was making Frankie and Johnny with Elvis Presley. While this was doubtlessly her highest-profile movie role, Douglas was outspoken about her disappointment in the movie and her regret in taking the role. Instead, she would've rather been back home with family.
Rather than use her paychecks to plant further roots in Hollywood, Douglas sent "a good chunk of money to add to that I've been sending my parents for the past few years."
It just goes to show you how one person's dream is another's nightmare. What worked for many didn't work for Donna Douglas, and Frankie and Johnny was her final film role until 2013. After The Beverly Hillbillies, Douglas mostly retreated from the spotlight and rarely appeared in anything more than one-off guest roles in television series.