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Beverly Hillbillies Star Donna Douglas Dies at 81

The actress had pancreatic caner

Sadie Gennis

Donna Douglas, who starred in The Beverly Hillbillies, died Thursday at the age of 81. Her niece Charlene Smith told The Associated Press that Douglas passed away on New Year's Day in Baton Rouge from pancreatic cancer.

Remember other stars we lost this year

Douglas began her career with beauty pagaents, winning Miss Baton Rouge and Miss New Orleans, before traveling to New York to pursue a career in show business. She landed a starring role opposite Elvis Presley in the 1966 film Frankie and Johnny and appeared as the woman in bandages in one of the most memorable Twilight Zone episodes, "Eye of the Beholder."

She eventually beat out 500 other actresses for the role of the bombshell tomboy Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, which ran on CBS from 1962 to 1971.

Following The Beverly Hillbillies, Douglas worked in real estate, recorded country and gospel music and wrote a Biblical-themed children's book. Douglas was so dedicated to Christianity, she even signed her autographs with a quote form the Bible.

Douglas is survived by her son Danny P. Bourgeois.