Michael Learned Bio: Age, Net Worth, Spouse, Sisters, Movies and TV Shows

Michael Learned gained prominence as an American actress, achieving widespread recognition for portraying Olivia Walton on the CBS drama series The Waltons.

Her portrayal of this character spanned from 1972 to 1979.

An image of Michael Learned
Getty Images


Michael is a renowned actress who has achieved remarkable success in the realm of American television.

With a substantial tenure in the industry, she has accomplished significant milestones in her career.

Delve into her biography to uncover more insights into both her professional journey and personal life.

Profile Summary

Full nameMichael Learned
Date of birthApril 9, 1939
Place of birthWashington DC
Age (as of 2024)85 years
FatherBruce Learned
MotherElizabeth Duane
ChildrenCaleb Donat, Chris Donat, Lucas Donat
Net worth3 million dollars


Michael Learned Biography

An image of Michael Learned
Actress Michael Learned attends the Action on Film MEGAFest International Film Festival at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Gabe Ginsberg Source: Getty Images


How old Is Michael Learned?

Michael Learned was born in Washington DC on April 9th, 1939, to Elizabeth Duane and Bruce Learned.

In 2024, Michael has reached the age of 85.

Michael Learned Net Worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth, as of 2024, Michael Learned has a net worth of 3 million dollars.

Who Are Michael Learned Sisters?

Michael Learned has five younger sisters: Gretl, Susan, Sabra, Dorit, and Philippa.


Michael Learned enrolled at Arts Educational School, Tring, presently known as Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, located in Tring, Hertfordshire, England.


In his youth, Michael was drawn to a career in acting.

Commencing her journey in the world of acting alongside her then-husband, Michael Learned Young initially took on minor roles in theatrical productions.

Her fervor for the craft was unmistakable, showcasing her adaptability in embracing diverse characters.

Over time, she garnered the attention of industry figures such as Lee Rich, who extended an offer for her to join the cast of The Waltons TV series.

Premiering in 1972, The Waltons depicted the life of a large family amidst the Depression era, with Michael assuming the role of the matriarch, a mother to seven children.

Portraying a patient and affectionate woman, she earned the title of Miss Michael Learned during the early seasons’ opening credits, a measure taken to prevent confusion arising from her somewhat masculine first name.

Since making her debut, Michael has appeared in numerous films and shows.

Michael Learned Leaves The Waltons

  • Why Did She Leave The Waltons?

In her 2017 interview with Fox News, Michael revealed that she departed from The Waltons in 1979 due to the show undergoing changes that left her feeling uninterested.

“There’s been times when I’ve regretted it only because it probably would have been better to complete the whole show. But frankly, when John-Boy came back with a new face and a new voice, it was like something happened. I just couldn’t do it anymore.” 

Personal Life

Michael Learned of “The Waltons” fame has entered matrimony on four occasions.

Her initial union was with the Canadian-American actor Peter Donat, tying the knot in 1956 when Learned was a mere 17 years old, while Donat was already 28.

The couple experienced the joy of parenting three children: Caleb, Christopher, and Lucas Donat.

Unfortunately, their marital journey concluded in 1972.

Following this, Learned entered into a marriage with Glen Chadwick, a partnership that spanned from 1975 to 1977, ultimately culminating in divorce.

In 1979, she found companionship with actor-screenwriter William Parker, enjoying a seemingly stable relationship for nine years until their separation in 1988.

Undeterred by the challenges of previous marriages, Learned embraced matrimony once more, this time with John Doherty, a lawyer.

Since their union in 1988, John Doherty and Michael Learned have remained steadfastly together, currently calling California their home.

Michael Learned Now

Currently residing with her family, actress Michael Learned has temporarily stepped away from acting.

Today, she is recognized as one of the most prominent female character actors in American television.

Despite facing numerous challenges, Michael Learned has successfully navigated through ups and downs, emerging as an inspirational figure for many.

Michael Learned Movies and TV Shows

Take a glance at some of the notable films and television shows she has been a part of.

  • Films

1963The Other Man
1974HurricaneLee Jackson
1974It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer GuyJanet Walters
1978Little MoEleanor Tennant
1980NurseMary Benjamin
1980A Christmas Without SnowZoe Jenson
1980Touched by LoveDr. Bell
1986PowerGovernor Andrea Stannard
1993Dragon: The Bruce Lee StoryVivian Emery
1997Life During Wartime
2000For the Love of MayMary Lou
2005Lethal EvictionElsa
2005LoggerheadsSheridan Bellamy
2007The KillerThe Innkeeper
2009An American Girl: Chrissa Stands StrongNana Louis Hanlon
2009UnpluggedGrandma Katie
2014The ParcelBeverly
2014After LifeGloria
2018Second ActsLee Marston


  • TV Shows

YearTV ShowRole
1968WojeckNina Eden
1972–1979The WaltonsOlivia Walton
1973GunsmokeMike Yardnet
1973GunsmokeMay Lassiter
1973Match Game 73
1973–1974InsightSister Janet
1974Police StoryLinda Keitlinger
1984St. ElsewhereSister Millicent Domenica
1988HothouseDr. Marie Teller
1989Murder, She WroteMaria Hudson
1989Who’s the Boss?Trish Carlin
1989Living DollsTrish Carlin
1994Reading Rainbow
1995The Secret World of Alex Mack
1998ProfilerHelen Waters
1998Promised LandDolly Carstens
2000Pensacola: Wings of GoldCongresswoman Benedict
2000So Graham Norton
2003Law & Order: Special Victims UnitCandace Lamery
2005All My ChildrenJudge Turner
2005One Life to LiveHon. Judge Turner
2006ScrubsMrs. Wilk
2009Cold CaseLouise Patterson
2010General HospitalShirley Smith
2011Mr SunshineMaggie
2011The Young and the RestlessKatherine Chancellor

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Did Ralph Waite and Michael Learned get along?

In 2019, reports indicated that Learned and Waite shared a deep off-screen affection, described as being “in love.”

Despite their strong bond, the two chose not to explore a romantic relationship.

Learned expressed her profound feelings, stating, “I had a great love for him, and our connection was as strong as any love between two individuals could be.”

  • How old is Michael Learned from The Waltons?

Michael Learned is 85 years old as of 2024.

  • What happened to Michael Learned on The Waltons?

Following the conclusion of the seventh season, she departed from the series.

The unexpected exit of her character in Season 7 was attributed to Olivia contracting tuberculosis and seeking treatment at a sanatorium in Arizona.

She made a comeback in Season 8 and subsequently featured in four out of the six reunion movies of The Waltons produced in the 1980s and 1990s.


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About the author

Howdy Robert

Howdy Robert is a versatile and passionate blogger deeply intrigued by delving into various domains such as News, Celebrity biographies, Education, Music, Politics, Sports, Technology, and Entertainment. My enthusiasm lies in creating gripping narratives that captivate, educate, and motivate my readers. Skillful in infusing perceptive commentary into enthralling storytelling, my goal is to provide content that connects with a broad audience.







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