Michael Learned bio: age, spouse, net worth, movies and TV shows

Michael Learned bio: age, spouse, net worth, movies and TV shows

Michael Learned is an American actress best known for her role as Olivia Walton on the CBS drama series The Waltons, a role she played from 1972 to 1979.

Michael Learned
Actress Michael Learned attends the Action on Film MEGAFest International Film Festival at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Gabe Ginsberg
Source: Getty Images

Michael is a famous actress who has found great success in American television. Having been in the industry for a long time, she has achieved a lot in her life as an actress.

Take a look at her biography to find out more details about her career and personal life.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Michael Learned
  • Date of birth: April 9, 1939
  • Place of birth: Washington DC
  • Michael Learned age: 81 years (as of 2021)
  • Nationality: American
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Father: Bruce Learned
  • Mother: Elizabeth Duane
  • Children: Caleb Donat, Chris Donat, Lucas Donat
  • Profession: Actress
  • Net worth: $3 million

Michael Learned biography

Michael Learned age
Actress Michael Learned attends the premiere of Inclusion Criteria at Charlie Chaplin Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Lilly Lawrence
Source: Getty Images

Michael Learned was born on April 9th, 1939, in Washington DC to Elizabeth Duane and Bruce Learned. She has five younger sisters: Gretl, Susan, Sabra, Dorit, and Philippa.

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How old is Michael Learned? As of 2021, Michael is 81 years.


Learned attended Arts Educational School, Tring, now Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Tring, Hertfordshire, England.


At a young age, Michael's career interest was in pursuing acting. Michael Learned young began her acting career by playing minor roles in plays with her then-husband. The actress had a great passion for acting. She was very flexible at picking up any role that came by.

As time passed by, she managed to capture the attention of producers like Lee Rich, who offered her a role in The Waltons TV series.

The Waltonz, which premiered in 1972, was about the story of a large family during the Depression era, and Michael was chosen to play the matriarch, a mother of seven children.

In the show, she played a patient and loving woman. During the opening credits of the early seasons of The Waltons, she was referred to as Miss Michael Learned to avoid confusion over her masculine first name.

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Ever since her debut, Michael has been featured in various films and shows.

Michael Learned leaves The Waltons

Why did Michael Learned leave The Waltons? As she explained to Fox News in 2017, Michael left The Waltons in 1979 because the show had changed and she had grown bored.

“There’s been times when I’ve regretted it only in that it probably would have been better to complete the whole show. But frankly, when John-Boy came back with a new face and a new voice, it was like something happened. I just couldn’t do it anymore.”

Michael Learned movies and TV shows

Have a look at some of her famous films and TV shows.


  • 1963: The Other Man
  • 1974: Hurricane as Lee Jackson
  • 1974: It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy as Janet Walters
  • 1978: Little Mo as Eleanor Tennant
  • 1980: Nurse as Mary Benjamin
  • 1980: A Christmas Without Snow as Zoe Jenson
  • 1980: Touched by Love as Dr Bell
  • 1986: Power as Governor Andrea Stannard
  • 1993: Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story as Vivian Emery
  • 1997: Life During Wartime
  • 2000: For the Love of May as Mary Lou
  • 2005: Lethal Eviction as Elsa
  • 2005: Loggerheads as Sheridan Bellamy
  • 2007: The Killer as The Innkeeper
  • 2009: An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong as Nana Louis Hanlon
  • 2009: Unplugged as Grandma Katie
  • 2014: The Parcel as Beverly
  • 2014: After Life as Gloria
  • 2018: Second Acts as Lee Marston

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Michael Learned movies and tv shows
Michael Learned attends The Actors Fund's 16th Annual Tony Awards Viewing Party Honoring Jason Alexander at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Jonathan Leibson
Source: Getty Images

TV shows

  • 1968: Wojeck as Nina Eden
  • 1972–1979: The Waltons as Olivia Walton
  • 1973: Gunsmoke: Mike Yardner
  • 1973: Gunsmoke as May Lassiter
  • 1973: Match Game 73
  • 1973–1974: Insight as Sister Janet
  • 1974: Police Story as Linda Keitlinger
  • 1984: St. Elsewhere as Sister Millicent Domenica
  • 1988: Hothouse as Dr Marie Teller
  • 1989: Murder, She Wrote as Maria Hudson
  • 1989: Who's the Boss? as Trish Carlin
  • 1989: Living Dolls as Trish Carlin
  • 1990: Wiseguy as Rachel
  • 1994: Reading Rainbow
  • 1995: The Secret World of Alex Mack
  • 1998: Profiler as Helen Waters
  • 1998: Promised Land as Dolly Carstens
  • 2000: Pensacola: Wings of Gold as Congresswoman Benedict
  • 2000: So Graham Norton
  • 2003: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Candace Lamery
  • 2005: All My Children as Judge Turner
  • 2005: One Life to Live as Hon. Judge Turner
  • 2006: Scrubs as Mrs Wilk
  • 2009: Cold Case as Louise Patterson
  • 2010: General Hospital as Shirley Smith
  • 2011: Mr Sunshine as Maggie
  • 2011: The Young and the Restless as Katherine Chancellor

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Personal life

Michael Learned Waltons has been married four times. Her first marriage was with Canadian-American actor Peter Donat.

At the time of their wedding in 1956, Learned was only 17 years old, while Donat was already 28. The couple was blessed with three children, namely, Caleb, Christopher, and Lucas Donat. The marriage ended in 1972.

She married Glen Chadwick, and the pair was together between 1975 and 1977. Their mariage also ended in divorce.

In 1979, she married actor-screenwriter William Parker. Their relationship seemed to be going well for a period of nine years; however, in 1988, the two separated.

After her third divorce, Learned got married again to John Doherty. Michael Learned spouse is a lawyer. John Doherty Michael Learned have been together since 1988 and currently reside in California.

Net worth

How much is Michael Learned worth? According to Celebrity Net Worth, Michael Learned net worth is $3 million.

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Michael Learned now

Actress Michael Learned today lives with her family after taking a break from acting. Today, she is counted among the best known female character actors in American television.

Michael Learned has been through several ups and downs; however, she managed to overcome any difficulty that came her way, thus being an icon to many.

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