Mary Eleanor Donahue, born on the 19th of April, 1937, is an American actress who became popular for her role as Betty in the TV show “Father Knows Best” during the 1950s ad ’60s.
So how much is Donahue’s net worth? As of mid 2016, authoritative sources estimate that it is over $3 million, largely acquired from her years as an actress.
Elinor Donahue Net Worth $3 million
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Donahue is the daughter of Doris Genevieve and William. As early as two years of age, she was dancing with her parents, and from that point she has been participating in various radio programs, and became a dancer in vaudeville. She also attended a ballet school, the Long’s Private School, to enhance her talent. At the age five, she was signed by Universal Studios which spotted her talent, and that became the start of her long career as an actress.
Although she was an actress as a child, her career only came into full swing when she became a teenager. Her early projects included “Love is Better than Ever”, “Three Daring Daughters”, and “Girls Town” in the late ’40s and ’50s, which early projects set up her career and started her net worth.
In 1954, Donahue’s career catapulted to success when she became part of the show “Father Knows Best”; her girl-next-door appeal became a perfect fit for her role as Betty, and soon she became a household name. She played the role for six years until the show ended in 1960. Her role not only became her ticket to success, but also considerably boosted her net worth.
After this success, Donahue joined another hit TV program, “The Andy Griffith Show.” She played the leads girlfriend but only stayed in the show for one season. She also appeared in the series “Many Happy Returns” for one season from 1964 to 1965.
The rest of the ’60s and ’70’s became a series of non-stop projects for Donahue. Some of the shows she did included “The Odd Couple” from 1972 to 1975, “Mulligan’s Stew” in 1977, and recurring roles in “The Love Boat” from 1979 to 1987, as well as in the long-running show “Days of Our Lives” from 1984 to 1985. Her various appearances maintained her career and also helped her wealth to rise.
Although she didn’t reach super-stardom, her consistency in acting made her a favourite on television and in movies even in small roles. She continued acting in the ’90’s, appearing in movies and shows like “Pretty Woman”, “Get a Life”, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and “Friends”.
In 1998, Donahue published a book entitled “In the Kitchen with Elinor Donahue”, in which she shared her life under the spotlight, and some of her favourite recipes.
Today, Donahue is not that active in acting but still makes some appearances. One of her last projects included a small role in “The Young and the Restless” in 2010.
In terms of her personal life, Donahue was first married to Richard Smith, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1961. After one year, she married Harry Ackerman, and they were together until his death in 1991. Today she is married to Lou Genevrino, her husband since 1992. Donahue has four children.
Today, those who fondly recall the archetypal 1950s family sitcom Father Knows Best (1954) may be surprised to learn that when the series debuted in 1954, the show did so poorly in the ratings that CBS canceled it in March of 1955. A flood of protests came from viewers insisting that the show be reinstated. The show was moved to an earlier time, and it gradually became a hit.