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'Waltons' Father Ralph Waite Dies at 85 in Palm Desert

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.  User: bekahjan
Photo via Wikimedia Commons. User: bekahjan

Ralph Waite, best known for his role as family patriarch John Walton on CBS' "The Waltons," died Thursday in Palm Desert. He was 85.

The White Plains, N.Y., native died around midday at his home, family accountant Steve Gordon told The Hollywood Reporter. A one-time Presbyterian minister, Waite was a member of the Spirit of the Desert Presbyterian Fellowship in Palm Desert.

Waite had only a handful of acting credits before landing the role of John Walton Sr., who was ranked in 2004 by TV Guide as one of television's greatest dads. Prior to becoming a TV fixture, he had small roles in films such as "Cool Hand Luke," "A Lovely Way to Die" and "Five Easy Pieces."

He appeared in the acclaimed made-for-television movie "Roots." Since 2009, he has appeared on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives," and he had recurring roles on "NCIS" and "Bones." He also appeared in films including "Cliffhanger," "The Bodyguard" and "Sunshine State."

He unsuccessfully ran for Congress three times, including twice trying to fill the Palm Springs-area seat once held by Sonny Bono. He lost to Bono's widow, Mary, in a special election to fill the seat after Bono's death and in the following general election.

Waite was married three times and had three children.


– City News Service.

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