Entertainment News

  • 15 February 2014, 1:06

The Waltons Star Ralph Waite Dies At 85

Ralph Waite, who played the father in TV hit series The Waltons, has died aged 85.

Waite's manager, Alan Mills, said the actor died on Thursday in the Palm Springs area of California.

He said:  "He was a wonderful guy.

"He was always kind, always generous, and a joy to work with."

The star was best known for his role as the patriarch John Walton in the long-running show.

The 1970s series was centred on a family in a rural Virginia community during the Great Depression and World War Two.

It aired for nine seasons and was followed by several TV movies.

His co-stars have praised both the actor and the man.

"I am devastated to announce the loss of my precious 'papa' Walton, Ralph Waite," said Mary McDonough, who played daughter Erin Walton. "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."

Michael Learned, who played wife Olivia Walton, said she was "devastated" by the death of "a good honest actor and a good honest man."

"He was my spiritual husband," Learned said in a statement. "We loved each other for over forty 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."

Waite appeared recently in recurring roles on shows including NCIS and Days of Our Lives.

He also starred in Cool Hand Luke in 1967 alongside Paul Newman and as the father of Kevin Costner's character in 1992's The Bodyguard.

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