Actor Ralph Waite, beloved ‘John Walton,’ passes away at 85

Actor Ralph Waite, beloved ‘John Walton,’ passes away at 85

Ralph Waite, who was beloved to TV viewers as the ultimate father figure, John Walton, on The Waltons, has died. He passed away at midday on Thursday at his home in South Palm Desert, Steve Gordon, the accountant for the Waite family, told The Hollywood Reporter.

He was nominated for an Emmy in 1978 for his portrayal of the middle-American paterfamilias. He starred on The Waltons for nine years and directed 15 episodes. Waite also performed in the vaunted mini-series Roots, for which he received a 1977 Emmy nomination.
More recently, he appeared in Days of Our Lives and had a recurring role as Reverend Norman Balthus on HBO’s Carnivale, a part befitting a man who once served as an ordained minister on Long Island. He also appeared as Jackson Gibbs in NCIS over the course of several seasons and as Hank Booth in Bones.

Waite was the founder and director of the Los Angeles Actors Theatre, which he established in 1975. …

Multi-faceted, Waite was also an ordained minister, a former social worker and a recovering alcoholic. He channeled that background into a film on the lives of people on L.A.’s skid row, On the Nickel, which he produced/directed/wrote/starred. …

Ralph Waite was born June 22, 1928 in White Plains, New York and graduated from Bucknell University. He later studied for three years at Yale and earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree. At that juncture, he went on to have stints as a social worker for the Westchester County Department of Welfare, as well as publicity director and associate editor at Harper & Row. He was a minister at the United Church of Christ in Garden City, Long Island.

“He was a top notch minister and a dynamic actor in the pulpit even then,” former parishioner and actor Bill Hayes told TV Guide in 1975. “But I don’t think Ralph ever enjoyed being asked to conform to the mold or the stereotype expected of most clergymen. He was disturbed by people telling him to straighten his tie or shine his shoes or fix the hole in his sock. He was a very individualistic guy who wanted to be himself.”

Continue reading →


Commenting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

You may use HTML in your comments. Feel free to review the full list of allowed HTML here.

Facebook Comments

Disqus Comments