Donna Douglas took a break from The Beverly Hillbillies to star in a film with Elvis Presley

The actress snagged the role of Frankie in the 1966 film "Frankie and Johnny."

Many opportunities seem to follow when you gain stardom from being on a popular series like The Beverly Hillbillies. For Donna Douglas, the chance of a lifetime came when she was offered a role in a film that starred legendary musician Elvis Presley.

She started her journey by participating in beauty contests and snagging small parts in movies like Career and Li'l Abner. During an interview with Valley Times in 1965, Douglas revealed that Beverly Hillbillies producer Paul Henning asked her if she could handle the role of Elly May.

"I just looked at him and grinned," she recalled. "Could I handle Elly May? Why it was just like my own life." Although many critics believed the series wasn't a good look, that didn't stop it from being the No. 1 show in audience ratings. The cast caught the attention of millions of fans, resulting in a rise in fame.

In the interview, Douglas then talked about how she got cast opposite Elvis Presley in Frankie and Johnny.

"After we finished the season for 'Hillbillies,' I went to Australia to publicize the show," she added. "I could have gone on a personal appearance tour in this country during our summer vacation, but something told me not to. And sure enough, when I got back, they called me about the picture."

Douglas played the role of Frankie in the film, and it was her first starring movie role. The actress had to take a break from The Beverly Hillbillies to accept the part.

Once she finished filming, she had to go back to being Elly May. Douglas played the part for three years before she got the film role and was under contract with the television show for another three.

The actress lived by one phrase during her career: "You can have success if you can handle it." She handled her success perfectly with her "head in the air and feet on the ground."


Watch The Beverly Hillbillies on MeTV!

Weeknights at 9 PM, Saturdays at 6 & 6:30 AM, Sundays at 2 & 2:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

35 Comments

JohnGrant 1 month ago
In the few other roles I've seen Donna, I still couldn't figure out her real character/persona
gymgirl 1 month ago
Unless she was not so bright like her character in Beverly Hillbillies, she should have known Elvis was the player type. At least she was able to say she dated Elvis.
Blondie7 gymgirl 1 month ago
Not true.
RedSamRackham 1 month ago
* I've read that Donna was sadly heart-broken when Elvis ended their off-screen romance after the film was completed. She believed that he was the real deal but alas it was just one of his flings.
same 1 month ago
Donna Douglas real name Doris Smith also dated Elvis while filming Frankie and Johnny.
RedSamRackham same 1 month ago
* Elvis claimed that he scored with all but 1 of his leading ladies. Mary Tyler Moore (A Change Of Habit) said that she was that one!
jolowiczk711 1 month ago
We lost a lot of good artists this year. My prayers are that God will be a little kinder to us in 2023. Not ready to lose many more.
LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Off Topic:
A moment to remember the loss of a great singer/songwriter and a founding member of the vocal group the Pointer Sisters.

R.I.P. Anita Pointer : Passed December 31, 2022


cperrynaples 1 month ago
Some bad news for Batfans: Because of MeTV's decision to expand Svenghoulie, they will not show "Flop Goes The Joker"! Needless to say, Robin did escape the spinning knives, but really the best part of that episode was when Alfred traps Joker on the Batpole! You can see that scene on You Tube and it's very funny!
* Personally that annoying Tuna puppet is the reason I no longer watch Toon In With Me or Sventoonie even though I do enjoy classic cartoons.
Henderson RedSamRackham 1 month ago
I agree. The host is annoying too, that 's why you tape it, then fast forward over them.
LoveMETV22 1 month ago
So according to the IMDb bio on " The Beverly Hillbillies" Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan and Max Baer Jr. all appeared in 274 episodes Donna Douglas appeared in 273 episodes.

So the sentences:
" The actress had to take a break from The Beverly Hillbillies to accept the part."
and
"Once she finished filming, she had to go back to being Elly May", don't make total sense.

It's not likely that " Frankie and Johnny" was filmed during the one episode that Donna didn't appear on TBH, but more likely that the series took a hiatus while DD was involved in her role on F&J.
Load previous comments
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 1 month ago
Yes, It wouldn't make sense, to dissect the figures, I guess out of fairness to IMDb, that would mean any site or service that compiles such information. I wonder though if there's any website or database somewhere that has actual numbers , not only TBH but all shows, ( probably not).
Pacificsun cperrynaples 1 month ago
I could be wrong but doesn't Wiki also depend on Readers' contributions? And many times fans are very accurate because they track such as part of enjoying the fandom.

As to Ray Collins, as a courtesy to Raymond Burr (probably at his insistence) it was stated somewhere they kept his credit active to continue his health benefits. And when he passed, to honor his contribution as an actor.
* And IMHO Beverly Hillbillies jumped the shark with that series of episodes when that annoying Shorty Kellums character overshadowed the sitcom's main characters.
Nala92129 cperrynaples 1 month ago
The show's producers continued to list Ray Collins in the credits, so he could continue to get help with medical bills & housing in the Actors Motion Picture Home.
Andybandit 1 month ago
I would take time away from a show I was in to be in a film with Elvis Presley.
Sway 1 month ago
Love Elly May and her critters.
LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Great story. A Win-Win situation for Donna Douglas. Great Movie too.
A scene from the movie with Donna, Elvis and Harry Morgan.
justjeff LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Cute clip. I wonder who the singing voice was for Donna Douglas....?
LoveMETV22 justjeff 1 month ago
Eileen Wilson was the voice dubbed for Donna Douglas' singing scenes in Frankie and Johnny.
justjeff LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Thank you! Now I know... I was thinking it was perhaps Marnie Nixon...
LoveMETV22 justjeff 1 month ago
Thank you for that share. Which led me to the Wiki page for Marni Nixon. I didn't know she was credited with voice work in two of my favorite movies. West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965) among others.
justjeff LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Now we've *both* learned something!
JeanInTN LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Thank you for that info! I had always wondered whether she did her own singing or not in the movie! The singer did a great job - as did Donna Douglas. It's a cute movie!
LoveMETV22 JeanInTN 1 month ago
Your welcome. I was happy justjeff added the Marni Nixon comment. I still keep West Side Story and The Sound of Music among my favorites, I'll just watch them differently.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?