This Waltons guest star was dubbed the next Mary Tyler Moore

Deirdre Lenihan was "television’s next potential headliner"... until she wasn’t.

In The Waltons episode "The Revelation," John-Boy proposes to his girlfriend Daisy, and when she said yes, it was a real moment on the show.

But by the episode’s end, Daisy has called off the wedding, and the next time we see her, Daisy is just an old flame to John-Boy, never to be rekindled.

When Daisy actor Deirdre Lenihan began appearing on The Waltons, many expected she would soon join the cast as a regular.

She was cast to play the role right after the series she was set to star in was cancelled, and The Waltons seemed like a good place for the young star to land. The Waltons was one of TV’s top dramas and many newspapers had dubbed Deirdre "television’s next potential headliner" after she was discovered.

Critics compared her to Mary Tyler Moore and Shirley MacLaine.

But Lenihan’s career never quite took off the way she hoped, even after she auditioned for her first movie ever – called Glass Houses – and immediately got cast as the lead.

From there, casting directors came calling, yes, wanting to cast Lenihan as the star of several TV shows, and the one she liked best was called Needles and Pins, which has since been forgotten, unfortunately.

Needles and Pins was about a young fashion designer who has just taken her first job in the garment industry, and it was the show that was supposed to position Lenihan to be the next Mary Tyler Moore.

Joining her on the cast was Get Smart’s Bernie Kopell and Three’s Company’s Norman Fell, but despite the strong cast and rave reviews from critics, the show was frequently preempted by other network content.

Viewers quickly lost the thread on Lenihan’s fashion show, and soon it was pulled off air.

Some fans were upset.

One critic got so mad when his network affiliate wouldn’t air the show, he insisted that "Deirdre could be the gal everybody will be talking about" and he’d never get a chance to see her perform.

The show getting cancelled freed Lenihan up to become John-Boy’s first serious girlfriend, but after they broke up, Lenihan’s acting career soon ended too.

In 1980, she took a few TV roles, then stepped out of the spotlight.

Perhaps fittingly, given the comparisons to Mary Tyler Moore, her final performance was on an episode of Lou Grant.

Before she retired, Lenihan told the Atlanta Constitution that she liked acting because she had an "acute imagination."

But she also admitted to the Press-Telegram in 1973, when her doomed series Needles and Pins was about to premiere, that she wasn’t exactly prepared for fame anyway.

"It’s rather frightening to think about," Lenihan said when asked what she thought of millions of viewers watching her performance on Needles and Pins. "I’m not sure I could stand to watch myself on TV."

Anyone out there remember watching Needles and Pins?

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JacquelineC 27 months ago
She does have a strong resemblance to Shirley MacLaine.
Zip 27 months ago
To me Daisy on The Waltons was a rather sad sort of person. Of course I only remember her on "The Marathon" episode where John-Boy meets up with her at a dance marathon. She seemed sad to me because she made that marathon her whole life and didn't leave with John-Boy when he decided it wasn't worth it and there were other things that make life satisfying than just winning a lot of money.
Michael Zip 27 months ago
Not during the depression when she neededto get out of town.

She was desperate, which is why she hooked up with a random guy, John Boy, to do the marathon. You had to have a partner to sign up.

It was one of those episodes where the depression was forefront. Dance marathons werea depression thing, desperate times, desperate people. The show needed someone for that, and John Boy wasn't desperate.
Zip Michael 27 months ago
The depression affected everyone, including the Walton family, yet they still maintained their sense of values, as shown by John-Boy. If you have a good sense of morals, values, and faith, worldly circumstances will not affect you in ways that cause you to do things you wouldn't normally do. And of course it helps if you have a supportive family with the same values.
I still find her to be a rather sad individual, because she did not have those attributes.
Michael 27 months ago
Daisy will be on The Waltons on Tuesday, the marriage proposal and return to Walton's Mountain.
LoveMETV22 Michael 27 months ago
"The Revelation" is an important episode for not only is it a return but also a departure episode.
SheriHeffner Michael 27 months ago
I liked this episode. And yes she was very good in the episode. Back when the shows were airing women that decided to be single mothers were rarely shown. I thought that Daisy was brave to keep Melissa and to proudly tell everyone without doing what other unmarried mothers done, pretend to be a widow. And the little girls that played Melissa, especially the three year old, were so adorable.
UpstateClassicTVFan1 27 months ago
I loved "Needles and Pins." It had a New York/Borscht Belt sensibility, which may have worked against its finding a larger audience. I think I watched every episode.
taminator013 27 months ago
The only things that I remember her being in were a few episodes of "Emergency!" where she was a female paramedic. They appeared to be geared toward making a spin off. She wasn't really all that impressive an actress, but the performances of most of the other actors/actresses, with the exception of the "Emergency!" regulars, were pretty dismal......
Lacey 27 months ago
While it may have been a hit with critics, Needles and Pins was NOT destined to be a hit show. The writing was stereotypical of shows that last 13 weeks and might be rerun as summer replacements. The cast is the same cast you will see in just about every failed show in the 1970s. I mean the EXACT same cast. And she might have had real talent, but it did not come through here.
trainer1158 Lacey 27 months ago
You're right. Norman Fell is always good, but the rest was awful.
LoveMETV22 Lacey 27 months ago
Regardless of what critics thought. It all began and ended with NBC's executives. The concept, scripts, promotion, etc.... You could put the best or worst talent in the roles but it wouldn't compensate for something that was poorly conceived to begin with. Deirdre Lenihan, Norman Fell and Bernie Kopell had individual successes (at various levels) outside of the " Pins and Needles" doomed series. There were reasons it was a forgotten series.
SheriHeffner Lacey 27 months ago
What network was it on?
Moverfan 27 months ago
Don't remember it at all. Of course, I was only 11 years old in 1973...
SheriHeffner Moverfan 27 months ago
Me either. I was 10. I watched The Waltons and The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. And Walt Disney.
Moverfan SheriHeffner 27 months ago
I watched the Bradys and the Partridge Family and Disney...and of course things like Ironside and The Odd Couple...I watched a lot of stuff you wouldn't think an 11-year-old should watch, come to think of it...
Kenner 27 months ago
Hey- maybe METV can show whatever episodes there are of Needles & Pins. Probably unavailable though.
WordsmithWorks 27 months ago
Sounds like she just got tired of "the business" and moved on.
Runeshaper 27 months ago
This story is interesting and kind of sad all at the same time.
MrsPhilHarris 27 months ago
I remember the name of the show but not the show.
Barry22 27 months ago
Bernie Kopell and Norman Fell , part of a "strong cast"? Please. Was Bert Convy busy?
daDoctah Barry22 27 months ago
Yeah, he had a project going with John Davidson and William Schallert.
LadyAgnes Barry22 27 months ago
Bernie Kopel was in so many successful series, & was such a versatile actor. I would see him as an asset. Not a Norman Fell fan.

I would love MeTV to run thos just so we could see it. I never saw it. I was in grade school, we had 1 TV, & my mother didn't allow the TV on much. Each of us was allowed to reserve1 hour of TV a week. I reserved 8pm Thursdays for The Waltons.
Moverfan Barry22 27 months ago
He played Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick's nephew on The Snoop Sisters. They wrote mystery novels together and every so often they helped him solve crimes--he was a police officer (lieutenant, I think). It was part of the NBC Mystery Movie group, but it didn't last much more than a season.
jomo Barry22 19 months ago
Best zinger ever!
Mike 27 months ago
Just So You Know:

Deidre Lenihan is now 75 years old.

She married actor James Sloyan (you'd know the face) in 1973; they remain married to the present day.

Their daughter, Samantha Sloyan, is a successful actress, whose credits include a recurring role on Grey's Anatomy (she is now 43 years old).

Time Flies, don't it?
MrsPhilHarris Mike 27 months ago
You are correct, I do know the face of her husband.
cperrynaples MrsPhilHarris 27 months ago
Yes, I believe he was the school principal in "Back To The Future"! He looked the same in '55 & '85!
MichaelSkaggs cperrynaples 27 months ago
That's a different guy. He was the adult Alexander in "Star Trek-TNG" and was Blair's father on "The Facts Of Life." He also does the voice overs for Mitsubishi autos.
Mike cperrynaples 27 months ago
For the record:
The Back To The Future principal was James Tolkan, best known for being completely bald villains.
James Sloyan's best-known movie role was as the slicker who gets conned - and later murdered - at the beginning of The Sting.
kkvegas MichaelSkaggs 27 months ago
Blair's father on The Facts of Life was played by Nicolas Coster.
Moverfan Mike 27 months ago
If James Sloyan was on a medical drama called Westside Medical in the early/mid seventies, I actually had a major crush on her husband!
LoveMETV22 27 months ago
Enjoyed Deirdre Lenihan's appearances on the Walton's:
- The Obsession
- The Moonshiner
- The Revelation
- The Return
- The Achievement
- The Marathon
Aside from Needles and Pins, she also appeared on:
The Streets of San Francisco, Cannon, Police Woman, Emergency! and a few others.
Not a lot of clips for N&P, aside from the opening credits.
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LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 27 months ago
Weigel has the ability to share their programming across their various network platforms.
I understand their focus with the programming choices for StartTV and H&I. The two largest of their networks in the quantity of programs appears to be MeTV and MeTV +. So they could swap some of the programs between networks. There are programs on each network that would fit on the others. MeTV, Decades and MeTV+ appear to have the most flexibility as they are not specific genres like StartTV and H&I. No list of programs as I'm sure most know which shows would fit where. I'm looking at the list of shows for each network and their are a few that could be shared across platforms. (JMO). Not meant to be repetitive as lots of us have raised the point
ad infinitum. Add: Hello Pacificsun.
LoveMETV22 tootsieg 27 months ago
I haven't either, and there doesn't appear to have a lot in the way of video clips for it either.
LoveMETV22 Lantern 27 months ago
As far as affiliations go- Yes Decades is part of Weigel Broadcastings digital channels, there is also MeTV+, H&I, StartTV, Movies (A partnership with Fox), and their newest Story Television. Because they are affiliated doesn't mean that they are carried by all Cable/Satellite or OTA broadcast stations. It's partly Weigel/Cable, Satellite/ and OTA and local channels decision as to what they carry. Some locales have more, some less. I like a lot of the programs their different networks carry and wish your thought was how it is. Unfortunately it isn't.
Moverfan LoveMETV22 27 months ago
Speaking of Decades, I got their email newsletter the week of April 11 and at the end of the summary of Monday's edition of Through The Decades, they said something like "On the day of his birth, we profile David Letterman". Very nice of them...except Monday was April 11 and David's birthday is April 12. They profiled David Cassidy that day (the boys share the birthday).
Michael 27 months ago
Most of the relationship was off screen.

He meets her at a dance marathon, she badly needing money to get out of town. Did the writers know at the time that she'd had a child out of wedlock? The next time they meet John Jr is in New York, and I think accidentally bumps into her. Then there's that weird sequence at the end of a season, John Boy does not return when Elizabeth breaks her leg(s), but does the next episode to restart the coal mine, and write about it. Next episode he's back in NY, and asks Daisy to marry him, which prompts them to go back to Walton's Mountain, until she discovers her mother adopted Daisy's daughter. End of marriage preparation, John Boy goes to London to write about the war, and that John Boy is not seen again until the movies.

Daisy puts in two more episodes for appearance sake, and then is gone.

Marcia from high school had more appearances as a love interest. John was a serial dater, a bunch seemed to have potential, but like his newspaper, fizzled. Even Selina Linville, played by Kathleen Quinlan, had two appearances, and she wanted him to go to Spain for the war with him.
LoveMETV22 Michael 27 months ago
Jmo: Marcia Woolery always seemed to be stringing John- Boy along with her coy, fickle type mannerism. The interest seemed more on John-Boy's side than the other way around. They did portray her character brillantly in that way.
Michael LoveMETV22 27 months ago
I was just trying to think of the women in John jr's life. Sissy Spacek wanted him, but when she reappears for her second episode, she's about to have a baby (I assume she got married). Daisy may have been more serious, but we don't see it develop. I think John was interested in the librarian that came on horse, but I can't remember the episode. Maybe with the second John Boy, or another character. He wanted to get out of town, so he likely saw women as an impediment.

Meanwhile, where I watch it, Pearl Harbor arrived yesterday. And Cindy makes her first appearance. Except a different actor, and presented as an "easy" woman. When she returns, the character is still called Cindy, and same red car, but really a different character.
LoveMETV22 Michael 27 months ago
Yes the initial episode "Day of Infamy" Cindy was played by Robin Eisenman.
The remaining episodes starting with " The Outsider" she was played by Leslie Winston.
Michael Michael 27 months ago
And then there was Jenny Pendleton, two episodes, played by Richard Thomas's girlfriend Sian Barbara Allen. And she comes back the next season as John Boy gets sick.
ncadams27 27 months ago
I remember the show but never saw it. It aired in 1973 - Friday at 9 on NBC. Sanford and Son had a strong lead-in at 8, but by 8:30, most viewers turned to Six Million Dollar Man on ABC or Good Times followed by the Friday Night Movie on CBS. CBS was dominant and ABC was rapidly gaining more viewers with shows like Happy Days, The Rookies, and Six Million Dollar Man. NBC was a distant third.
MichaelSkaggs ncadams27 26 months ago
I remember the show mostly because of the big buildup for it. NBC didn't strike Friday ratings gold until the next year, 1974, with "Sanford and Son" "Chico And The Man" 'The Rockford Files" and "Police Woman." Some have called it NBC's best lineup ever.
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