This Waltons episode explains why Ronnie Claire Edwards was an Oklahoma treasure
Oklahoma critics swore by the talented actor till she got to Broadway and beyond.
When The Waltons fans rewatch an episode called "The Pearls," it’s a special treat for every viewer who "loves to hate" the extremely prim character of Corabeth Godsey.
Played by Ronnie Claire Edwards, Corabeth is a unique force on the Mountain, and The Waltons star Mary McDonough (Erin Walton) said Edwards was just as compelling a character in reality.
"She was larger than life and so whip-smart and funny," McDonough told The Windsor Star in 2016.
In "The Pearls," Edwards plays not just Corabeth, but an even more eccentric version of the character, taking on two roles to also portray Corabeth’s estranged sister Orma Lee.
This episode presents an opportunity for fans of The Waltons to see exactly why Edwards became a TV star in the first place — her undeniable and uncommon talent as a character actor.
When Edwards was a young girl growing up in Oklahoma, she grew up in a home where her parents were always repeating sage wisdoms.
Edwards told The Times and Democrat in 1977: "For instance, I always knew that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp and to thine own self be true and all of those."
And she clearly took these phrases to heart, being true to herself and studying first ballet, then modern dance, and then earning a bachelor of fine arts before making her name in the Oklahoma theater circuit.
Straight away, critics in her area took notice of her talent, publishing in their papers, "I will swear by Ronnie Claire Edwards" and declaring, "Ronnie Claire Edwards is an Oklahoma treasure."
She was only barely in her 20s, but she seemed to have the talent of a veteran character actor, bringing "uncommon" reads to very well-known roles.
That’s the type of creativity that sent her straight to Broadway and eventually found her cast in movies and on TV.
At that point in her career, many asked if she would shorten her name to make it more memorable, but Edwards decided to stick with the name she was given.
Playing Corabeth Godsey across more than 100 episodes of The Waltons would become Edwards’ best-known role, and she always considered it a compliment when fans told her how much her character got under their skin.
In her own words, Edwards described Corabeth as "a married old maid with pretension" and when you get a chance to watch "The Pearls," you get double the fun and twice the personality from the immensely talented stage actor turned TV star.