Catching Up with Elinor Donahue

Catching Up with Elinor Donahue

Elinor Donahue’s credits as an actress date back to 1942 and span all the way to 2011. Though she’s appeared in everything from The Andy Griffith Show, The Flying Nun, The Odd Couple, Mork & Mindy, Fantasy Island and Pretty Woman to Freddy’s Dead: The New Nightmare, Get a Life, Friends, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, The Princess Diaries 2, Cold Case and The Young and the Restless, she’s best known for two roles: Betty, a/k/a Princess, on the beloved sitcom Father Knows Best, and Federation Commissioner Nancy Hedford in the second-season Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Metamorphosis.” Donahue is set to appear on stage, pose for photos and sign autographs at Creation Entertainment’s official Star Trek Las Vegas convention, which will be held August 3-7 at the Rio Suites Hotel. In advance of that appearance, chatted with Donahue about her life today, her long career and, of course, her Trek experience. Here’s what she had to say…

How much of how you landed your role in “Metamorphosis” do you recall?

The Andy Griffith Show
Star Trek

What interested you most about Hedford as a character?

The story goes that William Shatner, during your major breakdown scene, told you that you didn’t need to dig quite so deep, that you could just act the moment. How valuable was that advice?

Whatever it took to get there, you got there. It’s a powerful scene.

There’s also the story about the scene in which Kirk talks to The Companion. You stood on a ladder and delivered your dialogue from there in order to give Shatner a point of reference. We’ve heard the details, but not the payoff. How appreciative was Shatner?

Another famous story is that you were actually invited to one of the Kirk, Spock and Doc barbecues. What was that like?

All this talk about you being invited into the infamous boys’ club and you didn’t hear any good stuff?

What a disappointment.

Your TV mom, Jane Wyatt, guest starred in the next episode. Any chance that you ran into her if she was on the lot for a costume fitting?

And lost so much weight they had to give you a scarf…

When was the last time you watched the episode?

Sunset Boulevard

Let’s move on to the present. What’s life like for you now?

Fair enough, but if someone approached you and said, “Ms. Donahue, we have a great role and we think you’d be perfect for it,” would you truly not consider it?

You had such a long and varied career as an actor. What are the roles you, personally, are proudest of?

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
Star Trek
Cold Case

Prepping for this interview, we re-watched your episode of Star Trek. Around the same time, one of your very early episodes of The Andy Griffith Show came on. And episodes of Father Knows Best remain a staple. How amazing is it to you that work you did more than 50 years will outlive all of us?

And, last question, you’ll be in Vegas for the big 50th anniversary convention. How excited are you to meet the fans, answer their questions, pose for photos and sign autographs?

Star Trek
Star Trek

Star Trek Las Vegas