NEW ORLEANS - The actress who played Elly May Clampett on the hit television series "The Beverly Hillbillies" is suing toy manufacturer Mattel Inc., claiming the company used her name and likeness for a Barbie doll without her authorization.
The federal suit filed Wednesday in Baton Rouge, La., says packaging for the "Elly May" Barbie doll features a photo of Donna Douglas portraying the character. Douglas says she never endorsed the doll or gave Mattel permission to use her name to promote its sale before the toy maker introduced the doll in December 2010.
From 1962 to 1971, Douglas appeared in all 274 episodes of the CBS comedy show about a poor family that moves to Beverly Hills after striking oil on their land.
A Mattel spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment.
Douglas lives in Zachary, near Baton Rouge, and continues to make public appearances and speaking engagements in connection with the show, according to one of her attorneys, Charles von Simson.
"Depending on their age, people remember the show immediately and they remember her," he said of Douglas, now 77. "It's something she gets a lot of fan interest from."
Von Simson said Mattel made other "nostalgia dolls" of iconic TV characters, including Barbara Eden's from "I Dream of Jeannie" and the late Elizabeth Montgomery's from "Bewitched."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring Mattel from using her "name, likeness, image and distinctive attributes."
In a 2009 interview with The Associated Press, Douglas said she felt at ease playing the role because, like her character, she grew up a poor Southern tomboy.
"Elly has always been good for me," the Louisiana native said. "That was a slice out of my life, a very happy slice out of my life."
She''s a crazy old fundie loon but I hope she wins. All those actors got screwed out of residuals so why should her image make even more money for the studio.
Since when does she own the rights to the "Elly May" name? I assume Mattel didn''t use her real name in their advertisements. I can see how she might have a much smaller case if they actually used her picture in the Elly May costume. I hope she doesn''t expect a big payday from this suit, because she''s not going to get it.
Back in the mid 80''s, when she was still living in LA, I sat next to her on a flight from LA to Atlanta. She looked old as Methuselah even way back then. She was dressed in a pink checkered pantsuit and had her hair in the trademark Elly May double pigtails. We talked a bit during the flight but it was obvious she was loony as a could be (she was on her way to Atlanta to speak and sing at some big Baptist gathering). The sad thing was that she had to pull out her makeup case literally every 30 minutes to reapply as her face was so heavily pancaked that she had to trowel it on to keep looking fresh. By the time we landed she looked a fright.
This has been a Filmways presentation.
R3, that''s an awesome story. %0D\
I remember her on some 80s or 90s talk show featuring has been TV stars and she was one. Cheery to the point of insanity, she was dressed like Ellie Mae and so grateful for all that it had given her. Danny Bonaduce was also a guest and was being grilled about all of his troubles and I remember him saying something about having his demons but he was nothing compared to her type of batshit crazy. %0D\
She''s frozen in time, like a TV Land Miss Havisham. It''s really creepy. I can''t even imagine what she looks like now.
talk about a niche market. What 50 or 60 somethings are going to buy an Elly May Barbie ??
Donna Douglas Trivia: After The Beverly Hillbillies went off the air she had a short lived career selling real estate in Beverly Hills. I remember reading once back then that she was one of the top grossing agents in California at the time. Then she went on the "church tour", traveling around the country to appear and perform at churches and other religious gatherings. She''s still at it and I''m sure she makes a killing.\
Also, she had a semi nervous breakdown during TBH. She''d been having an affair with Elvis Presley and after he dumped her she went bonkers for a while. Paul Henning (the producer of TBH) and his wife had to move Donna into their home because she was unable to handle her daily affairs on her own and was suicidal).
She could almost play Mae West
Oh, what I would do with a Jethro Bodine Ken doll!
Rope belt and all
Sleazy Max Baer, Jr. lost his looks years ago. He''s been mixed up with some really scummy people in Vegas for many years. His best friend was that scumbag Paul Snider who was the husband who murdered his wife, Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten, had sex with her dead body, and then killed himself.
These are tough economic times and Mattel is simply acknowledging that outfitting an Ellie May doll with wrestling-type daisy dukes, high water overalls and plaid, makes their product more accessible to the little gay boys who love them.
tweet from Barbie''s Dream House
It was interesting to see what a beauty she was when the show would put her in modern clothes and she would not talk. I always thought that was Donna Douglas and knowing she was dating Elvis it must have been. I think the break up and church circuit must have turned her into Mrs. Havisham.
I remember that too R16. It was a pretty despicable move on his part.
Well the Elvis affair and subsequent crack up helps explain why she froze herself in time. %0D\
Can R16 or R21 elaborate on Buddy Ebsen? Did he go after her because she was a lesbian?
I met her in the Memphis airport a couple of years ago. And yes, she was dressed like Elly May. I told her I was also originally from Baton Rouge and she invited me to sit with her while she ate lunch. She was sweet, but all she could talk about was her church work, the bible and how awful show business had become with it''s racy subjects and bad language. While we were chatting, more and more people noticed her and it became a photo op. I realized then, that she expects and revels in it.
[quote]Can R16 or R21 elaborate on Buddy Ebsen? Did he go after her because she was a lesbian?
R16 here. I'm not sure which he despised more -- her being a lesbian or her being a liberal. She never came out publicly, but her sexuality was pretty well-known, and she said that if she were to be outed, she wouldn't deny it.
When she began campaigning, Ebsen made a series of radio ads that said, "Nancy, you're too liberal for me! I'm voting for ______" (her opponent, whose name I forget). Those ads totally sunk her campaign, and embarrassed her greatly.
[quote]In 1984 Kulp, who had long been interested in politics and campaigned in support of other candidates, made her own bid for public office. Having settled on a farm in Port Royal, Pennsylvania, near her hometown, she ran as a Democrat for the United States House of Representatives in the state's Ninth District against a Republican who had already held the seat for twelve years.
[quote]During the campaign Kulp's former Beverly Hillbillies co-star Buddy Ebsen made a radio commercial calling her "too liberal for Pennsylvania" and endorsing her opponent. Kulp was incensed, complaining that the Californian Ebsen knew nothing about Pennsylvania politics, and stating that she "was speechless at such a betrayal, and something so needless and cruel."
Don''t say "batshit crazy."\
It makes you sound vulgross.
r25 is batshit crazy.
Thanks R24 slash 16. Wow that Ebsen sure was a prick.
Nice basket on Paul Snider.%0D\
Uhhhhh, yea R14 ...and he fucked a dead woman with that "hot dick" .
Yes R20, it was always an amazaing transformation. Early in the run she gets dressed up as a glamorous princess to fool Mrs Drysdale, and much later in the run, Granny dresses her up to be a secretary for the bank and she comes into the office in a 20s flapper gown with black hair. By then, during close-ups, you could see she was getting jowls...
[quote] Uhhhhh, yea [R14] ...and he fucked a dead woman with that "hot dick" .\
Hey..as long as she was still warm....
She''s almost like a real-life Baby Jane. Kind of creepy.
R13 , How about this one????%0D\
After Snider murdered Stratten and killed himself, good ol'' Larry Flynt had this ad run in Hustler. I love Larry. %0D\
Link is not for the faint of heart or work friendly.
I lived in Las Vegas From 1995 to 1998
and worked in an office where Max Baer was a frequent visitor. I met him several times and his hair was gray then.
Given the contracts that actors often signed in the 60s and before, she probably never owned the rights to her likeness. The producers probably owned those, although they may have relinquished a piece of the over time. By now, they've probably expired. If anyone had standing to ue it probably would be the heirs of Paul Henning or Rahnsahoff (the Filmways gay).
Isn't she dead?
Nope. She's still alive and living in the Baton Rouge area. I see her from time to time and she's always dressed in pink with her signature hair style. Stood behind her at Sam's Club a while back.