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Donna Douglas Cause of Death: Explore Her Age, Net Worth, Physical Appearance, Career, Personal Life, Cause of Death, and More Info

donna douglas cause of death

Last Updated on July 15, 2024 by Abdul Rehman


Donna Douglas, a beloved American actress, remains best known for her role as Elly May Clampett in the iconic TV series “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Her life, career, and untimely death have piqued the interest of many fans and followers. This article delves into her early life, rise to fame, personal endeavors, and the Donna Douglas cause of death, providing a comprehensive overview of this remarkable woman’s life.

AgeBorn on September 26, 1932. Passed away on January 1, 2015, at the age of 82.
Net Worth$500 million at the time of her death.
Physical Appearance5feet 7 inches
Blonde hair, blue eyes, stood approximately 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) tall.
CareerBest known for her role as Elly May Clampett on “The Beverly Hillbillies” (1962-1971).
Appeared in other TV shows and films, including “The Twilight Zone”.
Personal LifeMarried and divorced twice.
Had one son, Danny P. Bourgeois.
Was a gospel singer and inspirational speaker.
Cause of DeathPancreatic cancer.
More InfoAuthored books including children’s books and an inspirational book.
Known for her positive attitude and strong faith.
Continued to appear at fan conventions and autograph signings.

Early Life and Background

Donna Douglas was born Doris Ione Smith on September 26, 1932, in Pride, Louisiana. She grew up in a modest, close-knit family and was the youngest of four siblings. Her early life in the rural South was marked by a strong sense of community and traditional values. Donna attended St. Gerard Catholic High School, where she was an active participant in various extracurricular activities, particularly excelling in sports and beauty contests.

Career Beginnings

Donna’s career began with small roles and appearances. She moved to New York City in the 1950s, where she worked as a model and appeared in advertisements. Her break into acting came with minor parts in television shows and movies, which eventually led to more significant opportunities.

Rise to Fame

Donna’s big break came in 1962 when she was cast as Elly May Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies.” The show was an instant hit and ran for nine successful seasons, making Donna a household name. Her portrayal of the naive yet charming Elly May resonated with audiences, and she quickly became a fan favorite.

Notable Works

While “The Beverly Hillbillies” remains her most famous work, Donna Douglas also appeared in other television shows and films. She had roles in series like “Mister Ed,” “Adam-12,” and “Route 66.” In film, she starred alongside Elvis Presley in the musical “Frankie and Johnny” (1966).

Personal Life

Donna Douglas’s personal life was as fascinating as her professional one. She was married twice, first to Roland Bourgeois in 1949, with whom she had a son. The couple divorced in 1954. In 1971, she married Robert M. Leeds, a director, but they divorced in 1980. Despite her busy career, Donna always prioritized her family and maintained a close relationship with her son.

Net Worth

At the peak of her career, Donna Douglas earned a substantial income from her acting roles. By the time of her death, her net worth was estimated to be around $500 million. This included earnings from her acting career, public appearances, and various business ventures.

Physical Appearance

Donna Douglas was known for her striking beauty, characterized by her blonde hair and blue eyes. Standing at 5’7″, and weight is 57kg. She had a slender build and a radiant smile that captivated audiences. Her appearance was a significant factor in her casting as Elly May, as she embodied the quintessential Southern belle.

Philanthropy and Advocacy

Throughout her life, Donna Douglas was deeply involved in philanthropic work. She supported various causes, including children’s hospitals, cancer research, and animal welfare organizations. Her charitable efforts extended beyond monetary donations, as she frequently volunteered her time and used her public platform to raise awareness.

Later Years and Career

After “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Donna Douglas continued to work in entertainment, albeit less frequently. She made guest appearances on TV shows, participated in reunion specials, and engaged in public speaking. She also authored children’s books and recorded gospel music albums, showcasing her versatility beyond acting.

Health and Final Years

In her later years, Donna faced several health challenges. Despite these struggles, she remained active in her community and continued to connect with fans. Her last public appearances were marked by her enduring charm and graciousness, reflecting the same warmth that had endeared her to audiences decades earlier.

Donna Douglas Cause of Death

Donna Douglas passed away on January 1, 2015, at the age of 82. The cause of her death was pancreatic cancer, a battle she fought privately. Her passing was mourned by fans and colleagues alike, who remembered her for her talent, kindness, and contributions to the entertainment industry.


Donna Douglas left an indelible mark on television history with her role in “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Her portrayal of Elly May Clampett remains iconic, and her work continues to be celebrated by new generations of fans. Tributes and memorials poured in following her death, highlighting the impact she had on those who knew her personally and professionally.

Interesting Facts

  • Donna was crowned “Miss Baton Rouge” and “Miss New Orleans” before her acting career took off.
  • She was a real estate agent and owned several properties.
  • Donna was a devout Christian and often spoke about her faith in interviews.
  • She maintained close friendships with her “Beverly Hillbillies” co-stars, especially Buddy Ebsen.
  • Donna turned down several acting roles after “The Beverly Hillbillies” to avoid being typecast.


Donna Douglas’s life was a blend of beauty, talent, and resilience. From her early beginnings in Louisiana to her rise to fame in Hollywood, she captivated audiences with her charm and grace. Though she is no longer with us, her legacy endures through her work and the fond memories of those who admired her.

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Who is Donna Douglas?

Donna Douglas was an American actress and singer best known for her role as Elly May Clampett on the television sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

When and where was Donna Douglas born?

Donna Douglas was born on September 26, 1932, in Pride, Louisiana, United States.

What was Donna Douglas’ real name?

Donna Douglas’ real name was Doris Ione Smith.

What are some of Donna Douglas’ notable roles besides “The Beverly Hillbillies”?

Apart from her iconic role as Elly May Clampett, Donna Douglas also appeared in films such as “Frankie and Johnny” (1966) and “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” (1979-1981).

Did Donna Douglas have any other talents besides acting?

Yes, Donna Douglas was also a talented singer and released several country music albums during her career.