Leslie Winston and Eric Scott developed a special bond beyond The Waltons

The actors playing Ben and Cindy Walton both happily married but still became inseparable.

One of the earliest appearances of Cindy Brunson Walton comes in one of the most emotional episodes of The Waltons, an episode called "Founders’ Day."

Fans will tell you that the final two minutes of this particular episode include some of the best Waltons scenes ever shot.

For actor Leslie Winston, joining The Waltons cast for the last three years of the series gave her just enough time to bond with the cast and become herself a memorable part of the show’s enduring legacy.

In 2009, Winston told the Globe-Gazette that being on The Waltons was "an absolutely sensational experience for me."

She had very little acting experience prior to joining the cast, rising up in drama school at UCLA and getting cast in a movie just one semester shy of graduating.

The movie led to a casting in a late-night TV revival of Peyton’s Place, and then to her role as Cindy, who over 42 episodes becomes the wife of Ben Walton.

Winston said the whole cast was like a giant family and after the show ended, she kept in touch with all the actors who played Walton children.

But her bond with the actor who played her TV husband, Eric Scott, was perhaps the strongest.

Scott was happily married to actor Karey Louis Scott, and Winston was happily married to a TV writer named Bob Yannetti, and the two couples became such good friends, they were inseparable, always coming together through life’s major moments.

In fact, when Winston married Yannetti in the early 1980s, they were greeted when the plane touched down in Hawaii for their honeymoon by Eric and Karey.

"Eric and Karey joined us on our honeymoon in Hawaii," Winston told the Post-Gazette during a group interview with both couples in 1982. "Remember, you guys met us at the plane with flowers, wearing matching Hawaiian outfits."

Eric and Karey were so much part of Winston’s family that when her father turned 50, Winston surprised her dad by flying out to Iowa, bringing along both her real and TV husband, and her TV husband’s wife, the group seemingly becoming a package deal.

Her dad was pleasantly surprised to see the whole crew there.

"He about had a heart attack when he saw us," Winston said.

After The Waltons ended, Winston appeared in The Waltons reunion TV movies as Cindy, then pursued other TV appearances.

"It was good that I didn’t have a really prominent part," Winston said. "It helps now because people in the industry don’t see me as just Cindy Walton. And The Waltons was a very respected show. That helps, too."

Just when she felt she had gathered some momentum landing roles on hit productions, though, she had a tragic fall and shattered her elbow, putting her out of commission for a year.

After a year passed, Winston felt like it was hard to bounce back in Hollywood, with few desirable parts being offered.

She and her real husband Bob decided perhaps that meant that it was finally time to start a family.

Becoming mother to two daughters, Winston decided to pivot her career from acting to behind-the-scenes work.

She started doing "looping" work, an audio role doing post-production on hit TV shows like Ally McBeal and Boston Legal.

She said she liked looping because she never had to waste time auditioning for a gig she didn’t get, and that meant she had more time to do stuff with her daughters, like being their Brownie troop leader.

"I have been very, very fortunate," Winston said of her career.

While she was on The Waltons, Winston recalled how she felt that the dinner table scenes "were nightmares for the directors" because there were so many actors to keep track of.

She liked that her role was a quiet part of the Walton family, and because she played Cindy, for the rest of her life, she kept in touch with her Waltons castmates, attending their weddings, and all their kids’ baptisms and bar mitzvahs.

Though she joined the cast late, she always felt she had a warm and welcome place among them.

"The whole bunch of us are really close," Winston said.

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WordsmithWorks 24 months ago
Another deep dive home run for MeTV.
Michael 24 months ago
Founder's Day airs Monday. It was the third episode with this Cindy, The Outsider is when Ben brings her home after marrying her. But as I said earlier, Cindy appears in the episode about Pearl Harbor, same name, same red car, but a different actress and a wilder side.
LoveMETV22 Michael 24 months ago
Yes, the Pearl Harbor Episode was " Day of Infamy" where Robin Eisenman plays Cindy Brunson.
I like when Grandma gives Ben a little wisdom through Cindy, LOL.
Grandma after giving Cindy a broom says: "Old Fool, Young fool", and Cindy imparts that wisdom Bens way.
LoveMETV22 24 months ago
Thank You MeTv an enjoyable story with added information on Leslie Winston and Eric Scott's friendship both on and off the set. "Founders Day" was an excellent episode. I believe the phrase in the story
"the final two minutes of this particular episode include some of the best Walton's scenes ever shot."
expressed the opinion of some Walton's fans. As Earl Hamner is narrating a retrospective view ( I believe through Jason's eyes.
WordsmithWorks LoveMETV22 24 months ago
Thanks for saving me the trouble of finding this clip.
JustGeri LoveMETV22 24 months ago
I believe the narration is from John Boy’s perspective. And is the older gentleman shown sitting up front, is that Earl Hamner?
LoveMETV22 JustGeri 24 months ago
Thank You, I think your right, although John Boy did not appear on that particular episode,
Earl Hamner's narrations are traditionally from the John Boy perspective.
The older gentleman shown sitting up front was Actor Dean Jagger playing Professor Bowen, Jason's Professor at Kleinberg in that episode.
JustGeri LoveMETV22 24 months ago
Oh I know Dean Jagger as the General from the White Christmas movie. I knew he looked familiar, but couldn’t place him.
LoveMETV22 JustGeri 24 months ago
Yes he appeared in quite a few Films and TV series. Good actor.
Andybandit 24 months ago
I never heard of Leslie Winston. I like when actors and actresses remains friends with their co-star.
MrsPhilHarris 24 months ago
I don’t recall her. I think I had stopped watching by then.
Michael 24 months ago
In season 3, there's an episode where Ben helps a girl at school. Her mother left when she was a baby, and her father was mad about it. But she hears from her, she'll be in town briefly and wants to see her. The daughter needs a ride, but needs to keep it quiet. So Ben "borrows" John Boy's car, which is involved in an accident when someone else goes for a ride.

Much layer, I wondered if Cindy was that girl, but she's not. But the show makes a parallel, her mother left or gave her up for adoption. Cindy doesn't know this until her father dies. So Ben again steps in and helps her find her mother.
LoveMETV22 Michael 24 months ago
Yes that was the episode " The Lie" when Ben helps Nancy Madden played by Cindy Fisher find her mother. So the "Cindy" part was there. The parallel episode was "The Carousel" Episode where Cindy Walton and Ben try to find her biological mother.
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