Nancy Craft Doughaday

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Nancy Craft Doughaday (Wolcott)

Also Known As: "McKeown Ebsen"
Birthplace: Evanston, Cook County, Illinois, United States
Death: May 14, 2008 (89)
Newport Beach, Orange County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Ryland Anson Wolcott and Catharine Garretson Wolcott
Wife of William H. Doughaday, M.D.
Ex-wife of Buddy Ebsen
Mother of Private; Kiki Ebsen; Private; Private; Christian Ebsen, lll and 1 other
Sister of Jean Wolcott and Katrina Wolcott

Occupation: communication decoder, producer / director of the Newport Harbor Actors Theater
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Nancy Craft Doughaday


NEWPORT BEACH, CA – Nancy Wolcott Ebsen Daughaday passed away at home in the company of her loved ones on May 14 just three months shy of her 90th birthday. She was born on Aug. 11, 1918, to Ryland A. and Katherine C. Wolcott in Evanston, Ill., and graduated from North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, Ill. She studied theater at Vassar College under Hallie Flanagan, who created the Federal Theater under the WGA. Later she toured New York's Hudson Valley with the theater troupe, The Valley Vagabonds.

She was a 1st Lieutenant in the Coast Guard in World War II and served as a communications decoder in the Seattle harbor. She loved music and theater, performing in chorale groups such as the Larks and the Roger Wagner Chorale. During the 1960s and 70s, she directed theater productions for the Childrens Theater Guild of Orange County as well as serving as president of an international theater in education organization (ASSITEJ). From 1980 to 1987, Nancy ran the highly acclaimed Newport Harbor Actors Theater (NHAT) in Orange County, Calif., which was lauded as having "the most innovative and original choices of plays of any theater of this area."

Nancy was preceded in death by her former husband Christian "Buddy" Ebsen, as well as her eldest son, Christian Ebsen III. She is survived by her husband of 15 years and high school sweetheart William H. Daughaday, and her six children, including Susannah Dustin Ebsen, Catherine Craft Ebsen , Bonnie Ebsen Jackson, Kiersten Ebsen Wallace, Dustin Wolcott Ebsen and Alix Ebsen Abel; sons-in-laws Bruce Jackson, Steven Wallace, and Tom Abel; and grandchildren John Christian Jackson, Rylee Jean Jackson, Mary Christine Abel, Michelle Abel Taillon, Jennifer Abel, and Matthew Abel.

To honor Nancy's lifelong dedication to the performing arts, we ask that you please support local live theater.

From "11 Long Celebrity Marriages That Ended in Divorce"


Nancy Wolcott earned a degree in theater at Vassar before she enlisted in the Coast Guard during World War II. She was stationed in Seattle when she met Lt. Christian “Buddy” Ebsen, an actor-turned-officer (you probably know him as Jed Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies) serving aboard the USS Pocatello. The couple married in 1946 and had five children. Over the years, though, they slowly grew apart. According to Nancy, she was becoming more politically liberal while Buddy grew increasingly conservative. They divorced quietly in 1985, and Buddy married Dorothy Knott, a woman 40 years his junior, in Hawaii that same year.

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Nancy Craft Doughaday's Timeline

August 11, 1918
Evanston, Cook County, Illinois, United States
January 14, 1958
Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, United States
May 14, 2008
Age 89
Newport Beach, Orange County, California, United States