Donna Douglas was asked to milk a goat for her ''Beverly Hillbillies'' audition
Douglas had only been in acting school for a week.
Donna Douglas was no doubt destined to play Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. During an interview with The Tennessean, she explained her start as an actor, which began with her moving to New York before departing to California. Douglas explained that she felt the best way to gain knowledge was through action. She explained, "I had to learn as I went along. That's how I got started. I never said a word until I got to Hollywood."
When Douglas tried out for the part of Elly May, she was up against 500 other actors who were also auditioning. She noted that she had only been in acting school for a single week before she read for the part. Still, Douglas was determined and optimistic. She said, "I was pretty simple but I knew I could learn."
Most auditions are stressful because an actor is required to read for a group of casting directors and producers who will determine their future employment. However, Donna Douglas's Beverly Hillbillies audition had an extra unforeseen layer of stress. According to an article in the Associated Press, Donna Douglas had to milk a live goat. Luckily, Douglas had a remarkably similar upbringing to Elly May and knew her way around a farm animal. Douglas explained, "I had milked cows before. I figured they were equipped the same, so I just went on over and did it."
This very well could have been what won her the role, which was excellent news for Douglas, who quickly became attached to the character. She told The Tennessean, "When I read for that part I was so thankful. I wanted to do a family show. When you work together nine years you're just like family. That was a dream role."
She continued, "I knew everything about Elly May from day one. I never needed direction on my character. It was homemade."