Ellen Corby ''adopted'' Jon Walmsley as her grandson
Most grandparents don't play favorites, but it's clear who Grandma's favorite Walton kid was.
When "Grandma Comes Home" from the hospital on The Waltons, it was also a recovery for the actor Ellen Corby, who played Grandma and had previously suffered a stroke.
The whole family was glad to have Grandma back on the mountain, but behind the scenes of the show, it's likely that "Jason" actor Jon Walmsley was grinning the biggest upon Corby's return to good health.
Although all the kids on the show called Corby "Grandma" on and off camera, Walmsley and Corby developed a very sweet bond that was a bit deeper. In interviews throughout the Seventies, both Walmsley and Corby confirmed that they had "adopted" one another as family.
"Jon has no grandparents," Corby explained to the Florence Morning News in 1974. "I have no grandson, so we've more or less adopted one another."
That same year a TV news bulletin ran in The Tampa Bay Times, noting that Walmsley had fallen "very ill from we don't know what" and he was sad he "couldn't be in Atlanta with his adopted grandmother Ellen Corby."
For more proof, there's an adorable photo in this 2005 biography, Earl Hamner: From Walton's Mountain to Tomorrow, showing Walmsley and Corby with Hamner at the 1975 Emmy Awards. By all appearances, Walmsley was Corby's date when she won the Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Other news stories show the pair frequently together, seemingly inseparable, a supportive grandmother and grandson.
For Corby, she had lost her husband before The Waltons started, but it was the loss of her mom in 1963 that perhaps left the biggest void in her life.
"My mother was the most important person in my life," Corby said. "A great deal of me disappeared with her. I started to search for something to sustain me, something to cling to, something to enable me to return to my purpose in life, to be creative."
Walmsley became a support system for Corby, just as she did for him. They often traveled and attended events as a duo.
For Corby and Walmsley the significance of their adoption of one another deepened as they continued showing their sincere commitment to one another over the years. This was a special bond even on The Waltons, a show where the whole cast famously became close.
"I've enjoyed watching the children in the series grow," Corby told The Journal Times in 1976.
Yet, when Corby was talking to the Florence Morning News, the reporter noted that Corby's "face lit up in typical grandmother fashion" when the conversation turned to Jon.
Let it be known that while most grandparents don't play favorites, it's clear which Walton kid was Grandma's pride and joy.