Contained in the Hidden Homosexual Lives of ‘The Waltons’ Grandparents Ellen Corby & Will Geer regardless of Their Marriages


Ellen Corby and Will Geer captivated viewers of the traditional present “The Waltons” with their veteran performing expertise as grandma and grandpa. The collection by no means re-casted the duo, even once they skilled onerous occasions.  

Actor Will Geer and actress Ellen Corby have co-starred as an inseparable on-screen pair on the American beloved drama collection, “The Waltons.” The present by no means even thought-about recasting the aged couple when every had well being points. 

Nevertheless, they have been homosexual in actual life and have been concerned in gay relationships. The pair put up a façade with their marriages, and other people believed they supposed to safeguard their careers. Listed below are the main points about Geer and Corby’s relationship.  

Actress Ellen Corby and actor Will Geer as Grandma and Grandpa within the drama collection “The Waltons.” / Supply: Getty Photographs


Corby was married to a person named Frank Corby from 1934 to 1944. She was born in June 1911 in Racine, Wisconsin however grew up in Philadelphia. 

Her mom died on September 9, 1963, at age 76. The lack of Corby’s mother left a major void. She as soon as expressed this about her dad or mum’s passing: 

“Quite a lot of me disappeared together with her. She was a big a part of my life, rather more than my husband ever was.” 

Ellen Corby starring as Mary Ellen Fenway in a CBS tv movie suspense collection “The Whistler,” throughout an episode aired on February 3 in 1955. / Supply: Getty Photographs

Nancy, a former WHPL librarian, revealed that loyal viewers of “The Waltons” would have been shocked had Corby and her co-star Geer’s sexuality been made identified: 

 “A loyal viewership of that heart-warming TV collection ‘The Waltons’ would have had a collective seizure had it been extensively identified that Grandpa and Grandma Walton have been queer in real-life.” 

Whereas Geer had a male lover, “Corby had a relationship of a number of a long time together with her feminine companion. The ladies donated their giant play assortment to the West Hollywood library,” mentioned Nancy. 

Screenwriter Ellen Corby pictured beaming whereas holding a glass drink. / Supply: Getty Photographs

Corby final appeared as Grandma Walton within the 1997 TV film, “A Walton Easter.” By the late Nineties, the screenwriter was a partial invalid and spent a lot of her time within the Los Angeles dwelling she had shared since 1976 with a pricey buddy of 45 years, Stella Luchetta.  

The pair sometimes watched “Waltons” reruns. Corby, 87, spent her final days in a nursing dwelling and sadly died on April 14, 1999. After she handed away, they introduced that she was survived by her “buddy” Luchetta.  

Corby’s profession spanned practically 60 years, and her memorable position as Grandma Walton earned her three Emmy Awards. To her demise, having had a stroke within the late Nineteen Seventies minimize her participation on the TV present brief, which ran from 1972 to 1981.  

Ellen Corby as Esther Walton on “The Waltons” on June 16, 1978 in Los Angeles. / Supply: Getty Photographs


The Wisconsin native turned a surrogate grandmother to seven youngster actors on “The Waltons.” In an interview with The New York Instances in 1973, Corby mentioned: 

“These kids on the present are like my very own grandkids, and I’m the grandma round right here.” 

From left to proper: (again row) Mary McDonough (as Erin Walton), Jon Walmsley (as Jason Walton), Judy Norton (as Mary Ellen Walton), Eric Scott (as Ben Walton) center row: Will Greer (as Zeb Grandpa Walton), Richard Thomas (as John Boy Walton), Michael Discovered (as Olivia Walton), Ralph Waite (as John Walton) backside row: David Harper (as Jim-Bob Walton), Ellen Corby (as Ester Grandma Walton), Kami Cotler (as Elizabeth Walton) in “The Waltons” on January 1, 1977. / Supply: Getty Photographs

In real-life, Corby by no means had grandchildren as a result of she by no means had kids of her personal. Nevertheless, enjoying a grandmother allowed her to satisfy that position: 

“This present is what I’ve ALWAYS needed.” 

Ellen Corby as Esther Walton and Jon Walmsley as Jason Walton in “The Waltons,” on January 1, 1977 in Los Angeles. / Supply: Getty Photographs

She feared that she won’t get the position. Alongside the best way, her well being gave her a major setback, and it created extra fear for Corby, who believed it might be the tip of her stint: 

“I bought sick and wound up within the hospital in surgical procedure. I used to be afraid the producers would not need me again. In any case, I had prompted them a fantastic inconvenience, delayed manufacturing, and did not appear very wholesome.” 

Fortunately, that was not the case for the Golden Globe award winner and Academy Award nominee. The forged of the collection was mentioned to be close-knit. 

Actors Jon Walmsley, Ellen Corby and Eric Scott attending “The Waltons” Wrap Celebration on the Century Plaza Resort on March 23, 1980 in Century Metropolis, California. / Supply: Getty Photographs


In the meantime, she lived the same life to her long-time co-star Geer, “Will Geer, who bought blacklisted through the anti-communist witch hunts, had a male lover.” His accomplice was Harry Hay, a homosexual rights activist, however their relationship later ended. 

Kenneth James Stump, an affiliate producer of “The Jeffersons” and “Good Instances,” revealed Geer left Hay as a result of he needed kids with a straight accomplice. 

Will Geer as Zeb Walton within the TV collection “The Waltons” throughout an episode titled “Spring Fever,” aired on November 15, 1977. / Supply: Getty Photographs

As was the case as a result of he later wed actress and activist Herta Ware, with whom he shared three kids with, Ellen, Kate, and Thad. Geer opted to marry in 1938 after being each a Celebration activist and actively homosexual for at the least 4 years.  

It stays unclear whether or not his marriage to Ware signaled an finish to his same-sex sexual exercise or if the musician married as a result of he believed the Communist Celebration strictly prohibited homosexuals from becoming a member of.  

What’s a reality is that Geer was trustworthy about his sexuality together with his wife, whom he ultimately divorced in 1954 after sixteen years of marriage. Sadly, he tragically died on April 22, 1974. 

At his funeral, Hay, who acted defeated after dropping him to Ware years earlier than, exclaimed to her, “I had him first.” To which she responded: “I had him longest.” 

Actress and activist Herta Ware attending the14th Annual Cable ACE Awards on the Pantages Theater on January 17, 1993 in Hollywood, California. / Supply: Getty Photographs

Geer and Hay began courting through the early Nineteen Thirties once they labored collectively. They attended the Communist Celebration and even turned members. Hay was the founding father of homosexual liberation and created the primary trendy gay-rights group in 1950. At first, nobody needed to affix him in forming a political group for homosexuals.  

He spent two years looking among the many homosexual males he knew in Los Angeles. Though some expressed curiosity within the group, they have been too frightened of becoming a member of a company with just one member. That didn’t deter Hay from forming an underground Mattachine Society, which ended up having 5000 members on board.

Musician and social activist Will Geer carrying a blue swimsuit paired with a floral brown tie. / Supply: Getty Photographs


Furthermore, Hay’s ex-boyfriend was very similar to an actual grandfather on “The Waltons” set. His colleague, author Earl Hamner spoke extremely of him: 

“He permeated the set together with his persona. Along with his love. With issues that he did. He planted a rose backyard. He planted a vegetable backyard. How many individuals do this on a film set?” 

Will Geer as Zeb Walton sitting behind a lemonade stand as fellow co-star youngster actors David Harper as Jim-Bob Walton and Kami Cotler as Elizabeth Walton hear throughout a scene on “The Waltons” entitled “The Revelation,” aired on January 13, 1978. / Supply: Getty Photographs

In the meantime, Geer’s co-star Michael Discovered likened the Indiana native to Johnny Appleseed, saying, “Wherever he went, he planted a backyard.” 

One other co-star Richard Thomas echoed a sense of a lot admiration for Geer’s “larger-than-life persona” in his interview. Moreover, Hamner mentioned Geer was “an enormous, mischievous, fun-loving man” who “did not painting Grandpa. He was Grandpa.” 

The collection creator recalled folks from his Virginia hometown would come to set to take a tour and see behind the scenes. Geer was the one who would all the time make them really feel welcomed.

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