The Waltons

In an amazing real-life twist to TV's beloved series "The Waltons," Grandpa Walton saved Grandma's life after she had a devastating stroke!

It was November 1976 and actress ELLEN CORBY, who played Grandma Esther Walton, was late for a day's shooting.

Famed character actor WILL GEER (Grandpa Zeb Walton) felt something was wrong and rushed over to Ellen's home, a decision that saved the actress' life.

Ellen was on the floor, unconscious. She'd suffered a stroke and Geer immediately got her medical help. Ellen eventually recovered and returned to her role on "The Waltons" in 1978.

Sadly, Geer died that year at age 76. Ellen lived to be 87, passing away in 1999.

The compelling behind-the-scenes story was revealed exclusively to The ENQUIRER by actress MICHAEL LEARNED — who played family matriarch Olivia Walton on the CBS series. "Will Geer found her," Learned, 73, told The ENQUIRER.

"She was late and Will Geer went over to her house and saw her lying on the floor. He saved her life!"

Three-time Emmy winner Learned starred on the series for seven years. The show, which ran from 1972 to 1981, followed the struggles of the Walton family in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains during the Great Depression and World War II.

"The Waltons' was a godsend for me," said Learned. "I think the show was so beloved because they stuck to a moral way of life."

The series marks its 40th anniversary this year, with a cast reunion set for Sept. 29 in Los Angeles. Learned will be there, after giving the keynote address at the California Women's Conference on Sept. 23-24, where she'll also host a panel on, what else, "The Women of Walton's Mountain."

For more on The Waltons reunion, visit and for info on the California Women's Conference, visit