Ralph Waite, a hard-working actor best known for his role as the father on CBS’ hit drama “The Waltons” during the 1970s but more recently seen in recurring roles on “NCIS” and “Days of Our Lives,” has died. He was 85.
Waite was nominated for two Emmys, one for his role as John Walton Sr. on “The Waltons” in 1978 and another for his role in the miniseries “Roots” the previous year.
The actor appeared on “The Waltons” during its entire run from 1972-81 as well as in a number of “Waltons” telepics that followed. He also directed 16 episodes of the series.
Waite also appeared in a number of feature films, including classics “Cool Hand Luke” in 1967 and “Five Easy Pieces” in 1970, as well as several in the early 1970s including “Chato’s Land,” “The Magnificent Seven Ride!” and “The Stone Killer” before settling in with “The Waltons.” More recently he appeared in Kevin Costner-Whitney Houston vehicle “The Bodyguard” in 1992, Sylvester Stallone vehicle “Cliffhanger” in 1993, “Sioux City” in 1994 and John Sayles’ “Sunshine State” in 2002 and “Silver City” in 2004.
I really didn’t watch a lot of television when I was a kid but this was one of the few shows I would see regularly. There’s an almost 1950s sort of innocence to it even though it was a hit two decades after that.