Lord, Make Me a Blessing….by Reva Lachica Moore
I wrote this story of Donna Douglas for my Sharing Time column with the California Examiner (also called Philippine Media) newspaper back on April 26, 2010. I took this picture of Donna Douglas (picture on the right) while she was signing autographs at the Baton Rouge Library. She noticed me and so she posed for me. Please Read her inspiring life story…
Reva Lachica Moore
Lord, make me a blessing – A Story about Donna Douglas
Outside the big meeting room at the Jones Creek Library, people started to line up and I was one of them. We were there to listen to Donna Douglas, best-known for her role as Elly May Clampett, daughter of Jed Clampett (portrayed by Buddy Ebsen), in the long-running television series, The Beverly Hillbillies.
In no time, the place was packed with around 300 people. Loud applause erupted as Douglas entered the room. She smiled and did her trademark whistle. It was so loud and unexpected; the audience burst into laughter. At 76, Douglas looked really good. She wore her trademark light pink blouse and blonde, curly hair.
Then she told her life story.
She was born as Dorothy Smith in Pride in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She grew up on her grandparents’ farm. She loved playing baseball and was a very good pitcher. She was a cheerleader in high school, got married young, had a son, divorced and won beauty contests: “Miss Baton Rouge” and “Miss New Orleans” in 1957.
She met some people who encouraged her to go to New York. While in New York, she started out as a model for toothpaste ads. “I was able to send money home for my son,” she said. She was featured as the “Letters Girl” on The Perry Como Show in 1957, and as the “Billboard Girl” on The Steve Allen Show in 1959. These and other TV appearances led New York photographers and newspaper reporters to award her the “Miss By-line” crown, which she wore on The Ed Sullivan Show. She had more money to send to her grandparents and her son.
She talked about growing up in a Christian home and believing that God has a plan for her life, and to never get ahead of God but to consult Him in every way. While in New York, she was asked to walk in front of the audience in a bathing suit and she refused. She did not want to compromise her Christian values. “If things didn’t work out right away, I didn’t get upset but waited for what God had planned for me. I talked to God all the time.”
Her breakthrough into films started when a producer saw the Ed Sullivan episode and cast her in a few roles. Then she moved to Hollywood where she met the most influential “mega-man” who could place her into the top of her career. But she had to do what the man wanted. She said, “No.” Upset upon hearing her decision, the man told her that she will never get anywhere in the business. Douglas did not worry. She had even a bigger man she trusted…God!
She gained stardom when she was chosen to play the role of Elly May Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies. She starred on the show for all 9 seasons. Beverly Hillbillies became one of the longest-running series in television history and was the number one show in America in its first two years.
A devoted Christian, Douglas today frequently performs as a gospel singer and speaks in churches across America, speaking for church groups, youth groups, schools and colleges. Her message is: Ask God to Make You a Blessing to Others. Here’s part of her message:
“Nobody is like you in the whole world. Ask God to make you the best you could be. God will make the crooked paths straight wherever you go. Accept yourself. Do not compare yourself with others. You are special in God’s eyes. Have a willing heart and be a blessing to mankind.
“Love God with all of your heart. Be smart and ask God to lead you to the person who can teach you great things. Find someone who loves God and you will have a winner. Do not compromise. Put your standards up high. Build character. Get off the see-saw of not knowing what to do. Morals do not change. Let the garbage go. God can do so much with your life. Make a commitment and things will start to happen. Talk this over with God and people will start coming into your life.
“The WORD of God is a wonderful handbook. Use it. Pour your heart out to Jesus. Learn and take responsibility. When the events in your life become “hooks” within you, you are tied to that experience. Let it go! Never think that you are not good enough. Get your attitude right and God will make a way and give you miracles.
“Have the willingness to make a difference in someone’s life. God can take you whatever your circumstance and make you a blessing. He will take your broken pieces or anything you give to Him and, He will make you whole again.
“When I went to New York, I asked God to make me the best I could be. I made my commitment to Jesus but did not tell anybody. I didn’t compromise and did not do ‘short cuts’ to make it to the top.
“When you make the commitment to Jesus, say it with your mouth and mean it with your heart. God will meet you where you are. When you do not see what is around the corner, stand back and wait. Jesus will show His plans for you. Do not be an imitator. Be an originator. Make time for people in your life.
“God has a good sense of humor. After playing Elly May, I was given the top award during an AWARD Event and guess who sat beside me in the front? The mega-man who said I’ll never get anywhere in this business.
This country girl who was afraid to leave home…see what Jesus was able to do with her.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”