One of those strikingly familiar matrons you just can't place, character actress Mary Jackson is probably best known for her recurring role as one of the delightfully eccentric bootlegging sisters, "Miss Emily" Baldwin, on the series The Waltons (1971) that ran for nine seasons. She was born November 22, 1910 in rural Milford, Michigan, and earned a bachelor's degree from West Michigan University in 1932. A Depression-era school teacher for one year before pursuing her interest in theater, she returned to college (this time Michigan State University) in a fine arts program. She started out on the Chicago stage and in summer stock before migrating to the larger stages in New York and Los Angeles.
Film and TV roles did not come her way until well into middle age. Guesting on such TV shows as "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Twilight Zone," "My Three Sons," "Hazel," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Barnaby Jones" and "Highway to Heaven," she usually appeared as ladylike small-town citizens. She was also part of the ensemble in Peter Bogdanovich's first low-budget film thriller Targets (1968), which was Boris Karloff's last feature. In the 70s she started gathering up character bits here and there, such as her nuns in the all-star epic Airport (1970) and the horror Audrey Rose (1977). A variety of pleasant, maternal parts came her way, including Lynn Carlin's mother in the Blake Edwards' western Wild Rovers (1971) and Jane Fonda's in the comedy caper Fun with Dick and Jane (1977). She supported Fonda again in the Vietnam-era drama Coming Home (1978), was among the cast in the cultish Big Top Pee-wee (1988) and had a noticeable role in Steve Martin's Leap of Faith (1992).
As for "The Waltons" success, character actress Dorothy Stickney played the part of Emily in the initial TV pilot along with Josephine Hutchinson as older sister Mamie. When the series came to fruition, Mary and actress Helen Kleeb, another one of those "I've seen her before" character faces, took over the spinster roles. Both she and Kleeb continued their sister act periodically in several Walton "reunion" TV-movies, which included assorted weddings and holiday gatherings. Both ladies made their final TV appearances in A Walton Easter (1997). Kleeb died of natural causes in 2003 at age 96. Mary passed away two years later at age 95 of complications from Parkinson's disease. - IMDb Mini Biography