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Ralph Waite, Star Of ‘The Waltons’, Dies At 85

Thu, February 13, 2014 10:14pm EDT by 4 Comments
Ralph Waite Dead

So sad! Ralph Waite, who was famous for his role as the father on the hit 1970s drama ‘The Waltons’, has died at age 85.

Ralph Waite, a prolific actor who was best known for playing John Walton Sr. (aka Papa Walton) on the CBS TV series The Waltons from 1972 to 1981, died on Feb. 13.

Ralph Waite Dead — ‘The Waltons’ Dad Dies At 85

The two-time Emmy Award-winning actor — who was nominated for his role on The Waltons in 1978 and for his role in the miniseries Roots in 1977 —  played the Waltons patriarch for its entire nine-season run, later reprising his role in several Waltons telepics. A man of many talents, Ralph also directed 16 episodes of the classic show.

Ralph appeared in many films during his seven-decade-long career, including classics such as Cool Hand Luke in 1967 and Five Easy Pieces in 1970. He starred in several early 1970s films such as Chato’s Land, The Magnificent Seven Ride! and The Stone Killer before landing his iconic role on The Waltons.

Ralph Waite Was A ‘Surrogate Father’ To ‘Waltons’ Fans

Fans never forgot Papa Walton. “What has moved me the most is the mail I’m still getting,” Ralph told Entertainment Weekly in 2013. “They tell me that I was their surrogate father, the one who brought them up.”

More recently, Ralph was featured in recurring television roles. He played the part of Jackson Gibbs on NCIS and the part of Father Matt on Days of Our Lives.

Ralph is survived by his third wife, Linda East, two daughters from his first marriage to Beverly Waite, and a stepson, actor Liam Waite.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ralph’s friends and family during this difficult time.

— Tierney McAfee

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