Ralph Waite Died
Good Night Daddy.
The man who played the patriarch on CBS’ long-running series The Waltons has died. Ralph Waite was 86. He starred for nine seasons on the Depression-era drama as John Walton Sr., who eked out a living at the family lumber mill on Walton’s Mountain. He also directed more than a dozen episodes of the hourlong series, which ran from 1972-81 and was followed by a series of telefilms. He scored an Emmy nom for the role in 1978.
Waite’s acting credits date to the mid-1960s, appearing in TV series including Bonanza and N.Y.P.D. and later as slave ship mate Slater in the landmark miniseries Roots, a key supporting role that earned Waite his first Emmy nom. He also worked on the big screen, including roles in the classic films as Cool Hand Luke and Five Easy Pieces. After The Waltons, Waite worked regularly in TV and film. The White Plains, NY, native starred in the mid-’80s CBS drama The Mississippi and did arcs on Steven Bochco’s Murder One and HBO’s Carnivale. Most recently he recurred on Bones and as Mark Harmon’s father, Papa Gibbs, on NCIS. He also played Father Matt in nearly 100 episodes of Days Of Our Lives. He also appeared in episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Cold Case and The Practice. His post-Waltons big screen credits include The Bodyguard and Cliffhanger.
He ran for Congress more than once. I think he lost to Sonny Bono.