Ralph Waite, Star Of 'The Waltons,' Dies At 85
Ralph Waite, who portrayed the patriarch of the celebrated The Waltons family, died on Thursday, Feb. 13, at the age of 85.
Waite, a prolific television actor, stared in The Waltons as John Walton Sr. from 1972-1981, during which time he also appeared in the historic Roots mini-series and a few Waltons TV movies. Waite worked consistently until his death, most recently appearing as a recurring character in Bones, NCIS and Days of Our Lives.
'NCIS' And 'Bones' Honor Ralph White
NCIS and Bones have both released statements expressing their grief at the loss and sending love to his family and friends.
“Everyone at NCIS is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Ralph Waite. Ralph was family to us, a tremendous talent and a very special man. We truly cherish the time we had with him. Our hearts and prayers go out to his loved ones,” the NCIS cast and crew said in a statement.
“All of us at Bones mourn the loss of Ralph Waite. We loved having him on set and in many ways his character was the moral center of our show as Booth’s plainspoken, loving, war hero grandfather. The entire Bones family sends condolences to his family and loved ones,” said Bones executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan in a statement.
Bones star David Boreanaz and NCIS star Pauley Perrette both tweeted about Waite on Friday, adding their voices to the official statements and referring to Waite as his character in the respective shows – Waite played Boreanaz’s grandfather on Bones and Gibbs’ father on NCIS.
R.I.P. pops #Ralph Waites
— David Boreanaz (@David_Boreanaz) February 14, 2014
So Sad. Ralph Waite has passed away. Papa Gibbs. We love him at NCIS SO much. So so sad.
— Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) February 14, 2014
'The Waltons' Co-Stars Remember Ralph Waite
Waite’s Waltons co-stars have also spoken out about Waite’s death. Michael Learned, who played his wife, Olivia, remembered Waite, saying “Ralph was a good honest actor and a good honest man. He was my spiritual husband. We loved each other for over 40 years. He died a working actor at the top of his game. He was a loving mentor to many and a role model to an entire generation.”
Mary McDonough, who played his daughter Erin on the show, also released a statement.
“I am devastated to announce the loss of my precious ‘pap’ Walton, Ralph Waite. I loved him so much; I know he was so special to all of us. He was like a real father to me. Goodnight Daddy. I love you,” McDonough said.
Judy Norton, who stared as another one of the Walton family children, released a specially message for Waite, saying, “You will forever live on in my heart and in the lives of all you have touched over your lifetime. We are lucky to have known you. RIP – good night.”
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong