Check out what's clicking today in entertainment. Ralph Waite passed away on February 13, 2014. Norton played his daughter, Mary Ellen Walton. The 53-year-old mother of two has dedicated her life to education, specifically leading charter schools in Los Angeles. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. When he passed away, "NCIS" decided to dedicate the entire Season 11 finale to Ralph Waite's memory. An Exclusive Interview with Ralph Waite Pt. Closer Weekly is part of the a360media Entertainment Group.Copyright a360media 2023. In an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly, surviving actors from the cast of The Waltons share surprising secrets from the set and tell Closer that despite a strong family bond, many members of the cast were taken advantage of and exploited while filming the seminal drama. You dont see those elements on television very often. To start it, he pumped in $50,000 of his own cash to produce and direct revivals of "The Hairy Ape" and "The Kitchen," in which he also acted. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. She's the one who inspired him to become a social worker in New York. He then spent his young adult life trying to find his way. He also had some really, really bad jokes. Additionally, his decision to start acting led to his divorce with Beverly in 1966. We believe that every person's story is important as it provides our community with an opportunity to feel a sense of belonging, share their hopes and dreams. It's going to be awfully quiet this year. I was always interested in everything that went on on set. Fox News: How does it feel to know that this special is going to help bring a sense of hope to many who have endured so much loss this year?Thomas: Its been a really rough time for everybody, of course, and nothing can make it all go away and seem better. Waite then went to Alcoholics Anonymous and got himself sober. He lived down in the desert so we didnt seehim as frequently as we saw other members of the cast who lived close by. He was frustrated when he realized that his sense of "social justice" was too rigorous for his congregation. It has a great spiritual connection, whatever your faith background might be. Subscribe to our newsletter for new stories, tips & events. The Waltons: Judy Norton Discussed the Dark Side of Co-star Ralph Waite After His Death. He would play other roles, too, before his death. He was the eldest of five children. Waite said in the 1980 interview. The news was revealed by Steve Gordon, the Waite family's accountant. Enjoy! , Waite, the eldest of five children, was born in White Plains, New York, on June 22, 1928, to Ralph H. Waite, a construction engineer, and Esther (ne Mitchell) Waite. She also shared how they both had drinking problems when the show began, with the two stars having a couple of martinis over lunch before going back on set. See GMA Host Lara Spencers Bikini Photos, Why Did Sara Haines Disappear During an Episode of The View? Thomas spoke to Fox News about working alongside his TV father Ralph Waite, who passed away in 2014 at age 85, as well as his relationship with The Waltons cast today and celebrating Christmas in 2020. By 1960, he'd already made his professional acting debut in New York's "The Balcony" production at the Circle in the Square. INSP 57.9K subscribers Subscribe 829 Share Save 68K views 9 years ago Ralph Waite sits down for an. Actor: The Waltons. (Getty).  He also voiced Shadow in Homeward Bound II. On this Wikipedia the language links are at the top of the page across from the article title. It was his highest-grossing movie to date. For children, it's really complicated. It was one of our weddings I cant remember who it was but he got up and said normally as an actor, we get together with a group of people, you create an ensemble, you have this very intense personal experience for a matter of weeks, and then you all go your separate ways. He was a sweet, affectionate, funny man, too. Ralph Waite made his movie debut in Cool Hand Luke (1967). And there were lots of writers writing from personal experiences. The Earl Hamner Jr. series, however, would welcome Waite along with Michael Learned, and make both, as well as Richard Thomas playing their son John-Boy, household names. His Broadway appearance came when he starred in "Blues for Mister Charlie." 1981), place of death: Palm Desert, California, United States, education: Bucknell University, Yale Divinity School, (American Actor Best Known for His Lead Role as John Walton SR. in the TV Series The Waltons), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKClNogLrIc, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ralph_Waite.jpg, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J4flaQzNJM. The Waltons: Our producers had a unique opportunity to sit down with Ralph Waite during the shooting of Old Henry, an INSP original Short-Form series, to answer some of the questions that you recently submitted through the INSP Facebook page. 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She went to the producers and said, These kids have given you years of their lives and you cant even get them something? remembers Judy Norton, who played eldest daughter Mary Ellen. (Getty Images). He was the show-off, the dreamer, and the storyteller who always had his head in the clouds. He didnt necessarily think at that moment he was doing a very good job. a Rancho Mirage resident, said in an interview . But I was able to get a glimpse of things. After graduating from Bucknell, Waite married his first wife, Beverly Hall, the daughter of religious writer Clarence Hall. He completed his graduation in 1952 from the Bucknell University, Pennsylvania. In a 2019 interview, five years after Waite's death, Learned dropped the bombshell generations of "The Waltons" fanatic anticipated. In 1972, Waite landed the most significant role in his life, which opened Hollywood for him "The Waltons.". But no matter how much you know about Kelli and heard her sing before, when you get on stage and you hear that voice, it's a miracle all over again. I loved Ralph a lot. She called him her spirit husband and has admitted that they loved each other for decades. 1, Marathon 33, p. 27. He started with Broadway and slowly worked his way up. It took one day of sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by his onscreen family for him to feel fake, so he got himself sober. ichael Learned and Ralph Waite while filming the episode "The Parting" on November 16, 1978. On February 13, 2014, Waite died in Palm Desert, California, of natural causes at age 85. Ralph was a really special guy, and I had a lot of admiration for him as well as a lot of love.. Fox News: Do you remember the last time you spoke to him?Cotler: Yes, very clearly. | Photo: Getty Images. What triggered his alcoholism more was when his oldest daughter, Sharon, then-9, passed away, and he left the ministry. He always seemed more comfortable in front of the camera wearing a dusty pair of work clothes than a suit. WALTONS STAR MICHAEL LEARNED SAYS SHE AND TV HUSBAND RALPH WAITE WERE IN LOVE. Ralph Waite's story tells one of humanity at its finest. He was a great progressive activist and a great contributor to his community. 'WALTONS' STAR MICHAEL LEARNED 'PROUD' OF NURSES, CAREGIVERS AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. Despite their feelings for the studio, there was genuine love among all the actors. And it wasnt until after he passed away that I thought, "He was checking in. All content, including text, and images contained on. He later left the ministry, upset with what he saw as hypocrisy in the church, and went to work for Harper & Row as an editor for religious books. | Photo: Getty Images. At age 30, however, he began to study acting and found his true life's passion.Waite made his professional NY debut in a 1960 production of "The Balcony" at the Circle in the Square and was seen on Broadway in "Blues for Mister Charlie" before earning fine reviews in 1965 alongside Faye Dunaway in "Hogan's Goat". | Photo: Getty Images. He credited the show for being the reason he got sober, recalls Judy. Michael and I are still very, very, very close, as all of us are. So as long as the cast and crew are happy with the creative work theyre doing, NCIS will likely stick around. We were at some awards show and I just walked right up to her. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Advertisement Michael Learned embraces actor Ralph Waite in scene from the TV series "The Waltons." | Photo: Getty Images But it made everybody laugh. In New York's White Plains on June 22, 1928, Ralph Harold Waite Jr.'s parents, Ralph H. Waite Sr. and Esther Waite, welcomed a future star. Actress Judy Norton still finds herself having a lot of respect for her The Waltons co-star Ralph Waite, even though he had a dark side.. He would tell each one of us, "How are you? The opportunity toseepeople all together and sharing in something? The Waltons stands out as not only an important part of my life and career, but also a wonderful part.. Fox News: What was it like working with Ralph Waite?Kami Cotler: Im the youngest of all the kids on the show, so my perspective comes from being a little kid. His later films included The Bodyguard, the part of Frank the helicopter pilot in the 1993 film Cliffhanger, and as the mysterious time traveler in Timequest (2002). Waite tried again in 1998; he ran against Mary Bono and lost to her twice. Actress Judy Norton still finds herself having a lot of respect for her "The Waltons" co-star Ralph Waite, even though he had a "dark side.". Norton, in an interview after Waites death in 2014, recalled the actor from the long-running CBS family drama. Legal Statement. He worked at the Los Angeles Actors Theatre when he wasn't acting. He was also able to direct 15 episodes of the series during its nine-season run. He would reprise the role in the TV movie The Waltons: A Decade of the Waltons (1980). . Its a time to be together and it's really just all about love for us, as it is for everyone. Family & Personal Life. And I think offering this concert in a fully live form is going to give people a lot of comfort and make them just feel like they're in the room with lots of people, which is what we all need. 1966), Kerry Shear Waite (m. 1977 - div.  He was a member of the Peninsula Players summer theater program during the 1963 season. Michael Learned and Ralph Waite while filming the episde "The Empty Nest" on June 16, 1978. 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The music selection also highlights lesser-known carols and ballads from American composers. Rich did not care about the script; however, he asked if Waite was interested in playing John Walton, a father of a Depression family in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Closer Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services. I always wanted to learn how things worked. Ralph Waite, who was beloved to TV viewers as the ultimate father figure, John Walton, on The Waltons, has died. Are you OK?" Educated at Bucknell University where he graduated with a BA degree, Waite existed rather aimlessly as a young adult while trying to find his way in the world. Ralph Waite returns to guest star in his role as Gibbs's father, Jackson Gibbs on NCIS in Los Angeles on August 28, 2012 | Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS/Getty Images, These included 1977's "Roots," 1976's "The Secret Life of John Chapman," 1980's "OHMS," and "Angel City," to name a few. I help troubleshoot whatever exciting new problems might emerge. In 1965, he earned excellent reviews for his role in "Hogan's Goat," which led him to move West. Waite established the Los Angeles Actors Theatre in 1975. Sadly, the actor's marriage failed along the way, and they got divorced in 1969. She recalled a day when he told her that he decided to become sober after sitting at a kitchen table with his onscreen children and realized he felt fake. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. They had three daughters together, Sharon, Kathleen, and Suzanne. Among that group is Ralph Waite, who joined NCIS in 2008. The news was revealed by Steve Gordon, the Waite family's accountant. He ran twice in 1998 for Palm Springs-based 44th and 39th districts. We still have love. NCIS Star Mark Harmon Emotionally Detailed How Ralph Waite Tribute Episode Came to Be in 2015. And Ralph Waite's hiatus showed him how out of touch people can be with the rest of the country. He got the company going by personally investing $50,000 to direct, perform, and produce "The Hairy Ape and The Kitchen.". But just the memory of working with all of those wonderful people, that's the thing that makes me happiest of all. I was probably 7. The theatre he founded bagged many important awards, including the Margaret Harford Award given by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for "its consistently high standards, its commitment to adventurous theater and to community involvement.". , Waite was married three times, two marriages ending in divorce. The couple tied the knot on August 27, 1977, and had no children together until their marriage ended in divorce on August 31, 1981. Waite would drink at night and on the side. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper. Acting on a TV show can be quite dull. Learned from The Waltons, which Waite starred on for nine years, called him a "good honest actor and good honest man.". Waite passed away on a Thursday in February 2014 at his home in South Palm Desert. He played the role of Jackson Gibbs, Leroy's father, and appeared in 8 episodes of the show before he died in 2014. His eldest daughter, Sharon Waite, died of leukemia when she was 9 years old in 1964. Even though Waite was gone, Thomas said they'd been very close, and their bond endured today. And, I defy adults to do well when they're suddenly hit with a lot of fame and notoriety. Set in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II, the show follows the Walton family, consisting of John (Ralph Waite) and Olivia (Michael Learned), their seven children, and John's parents Zebulon "Zeb" Tyler (Will Greer) and Esther (Ellen Corby). He also ran for Congress as a Democrat, in California in 1990 for the Riverside County-based 37th district. Before becoming a big celebrity, Waite graduated with a BA degree from Bucknell University. So when they called and invited me to be the reader for the current one and told me that Kelli O'Hara was going to be the singing artist guest, I just jumped at the chance. Ralph Waite as John Walton in the episode "Children's Carol," in the series "The Waltons," on September 20, 1977, in Los Angeles | Photo: CBS/Getty Images, His move earned him acting roles in big films like 1970's "Five Easy Pieces" and 1967's "Cool Hand Luke." That enduring familial affection, along with the pride of belonging to a show that resonated with viewers all around the world, makes everyone who was part of The Waltons feel privileged to have played a part in the show. So as a little kid, most of that stuff goes right by you. In 1972, Ralph Waite landed perhaps his most famous role of John Walton Sr. in the TV series The Waltons (1972 1981). She spent her time talking about Ralph Waite. Subscribe to our newsletter for new stories, tips & events. She was his favorite. He and his wife had welcomed three daughters by 1960, Sharon, Kathleen, and Suzanne. said in an interview last year with local paper The . He confessed that people saw him as an icon and hero when they recognized him. Richard Thomas, who played eldest child John-Boy and was the shows focal point along with the actors who played his parents, Michael Learned and Ralph Waite, was treated better by the studio, Lorimar. Particularly to Michael and Ralph, whose chemistry as Olivia and John was real enough for them to try dating each other. He had three daughters from his first marriage. And I had a good stable home life with parents who were also performers so they helped me through it. However, he's remembered more for his role on "The Waltons.". ET on BYUtv and will be available to stream for free the following day on the BYUtv app. Ralph Waite (June 22, 1928 - February 13, 2014) was an American actor, best known for his lead role as John Walton Sr. on The Waltons (1972-1981), which he occasionally directed. Sign up for our newsletter! There was a scene between him and me when Elizabeths raccoon dies. And the production company wasnt planning on casting Native Americans. Ralph Waite, the big-hearted patriarch John Walton in the 70s Depression-era series The Waltons,passed away five years ago, on Feb. 13, 2014 at age 85 and one co-star who grew up with him still has vivid memories of the beloved actor. She combines the voice of a diva, of a great singing diva with the girl next door persona. Ralph Waite smokes a cigar and enjoys a game of pool with his buddies in a scene from the movie "The Secret Life of John Chapman," circa 1976 | Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images. For example, one time he advocated very strongly about casting because there were certain parts that called for Native Americans. Besides her marriages, Learned also had a close relationship with her "The Waltons" co-star Ralph Waite. (CBS via Getty Images). But again, youve got to give tribute to [writer] Gina [Lucita Monreal] and Gary and their idea to put that together like that, because it was an interesting year. And I said, "My daddy is in love with you." And I think we were very fortunate in having the actors that we had. However, he lost out to Bono's widow, Mary, who won the special election. I love Christmas. According to Mark Harmon, the sky is the limit for the show. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), What Happened to Chase on 'Fixer to Fabulous'? Here are a couple of the interview segments. Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir airs Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. In 1990, he ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat, challenging a four-term Republican incumbent. She just pulled me into her lap. I was pretty disciplined, but I just took it in stride. Fox News: What surprised you the most about Kelli O'Hara while filming this special?Thomas: Nothing surprised me about Kelli because I've known Kelli and her family for many years, and I know what a magnificent artist she is, and also what a wonderful person. He has appeared in all 414 episodes of the hit show and isnt showing signs of stopping. | Photo: Getty Images. To be a better father and to help protect them as they navigated through lifes challenges. It made him a household name. Waite had already developed his drinking problem by that time, and it got worse after 1964. Ralph Waite was a very complex man who lived a complicated life. Thomas was Waite's co-star and on-screen son on "The Waltons," where he played John-Boy Walton. I hadnt seen Ralph in a while. Learned revealed that she and Waite had been chain smokers. Fox News: What was it about The Tabernacle Choir that made you want to ring in the holidays with them?Thomas: Well, of course, I've been listening to their magnificent singing my whole life and we had their Christmas album on the family record shelf while I was growing up. Notable was his role as Pozzo in Waiting for Godot (1977), which was televised by PBS, and a return to Broadway with "The Father" in 1981. He would again play John Walton Sr. in the TV movies A Wedding on Walton's Mountain, Mother's Day on Waltons Mountain, and A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain, in 1982. It would be his defining role. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. When the show took off, the time he spent with his onscreen family transformed his life. I think he said it at a wedding. They will say John-Boy dies in the news when Im gone, says Richard. 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