Ralph Waite

Actor

Some men want to be politicians, some want to be actors, and some even want to be ministers. Ralph Waite managed to be all three. The man known to most of the world as the patriarch from the wildly successful '70s TV ... Read more »

Born: 06/21/1928 in White Plains, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (67)

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr. 2014 (Movie)

Grandpa Ventura (Actor)

Bones 2009, 2011, 2013 (Tv Show)

Actor

NCIS 2008 - 2010, 2012 - 2013 (Tv Show)

Actor

All My Children 1969 - 2011 (TV Show)

Actor

25 Hill 2010 (Movie)

(Actor)

Letters to God 2010 (Movie)

Mr. Perryfield (Actor)

Grey's Anatomy 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Cleaner 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

Cane 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

Cold Case 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)

Actor

Carnivàle 2003, 2005 (Tv Show)

Actor

Silver City 2004 (Movie)

Casey Lyle (Actor)

The Practice 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

Sunshine State 2002 (Movie)

Furman Temple (Actor)

Chicken Soup For the Soul 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Keys to Her Past 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Ken Follett's The Third Twin 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Murder One 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Murder, She Wrote 1988 - 1989, 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Waltons 1972 - 1981, 1988 - 1989, 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The West 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Voice

Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco 1996 (Movie)

of Shadow (Voice)

A Walton Wedding 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Sioux City 1994 (Movie)

Chief Drew McDermott (Actor)

Cliffhanger 1993 (Movie)

Frank (Actor)

The Bodyguard 1992 (Movie)

Herb Farmer (Actor)

Crash and Burn 1990 (Movie)

Lathan Hooks (Actor)

The Mississippi 1982 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

A Wedding on Waltons Mountain 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Mother's Day on Waltons Mountain 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

The Gentleman Bandit 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

On the Nickel 1980 (Movie)

C G (Actor)

Waiting For Godot 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Hot Summer Week 1972 (Movie)

(Actor)

Kid Blue 1972 (Movie)

Drummer (Actor)

The Magnificent Seven Ride 1972 (Movie)

Jim MacKay (Actor)

The Stone Killer 1972 (Movie)

Detective Mathews (Actor)

Chato's Land 1971 (Movie)

Elisa Hooker (Actor)

Lawman 1971 (Movie)

(Actor)

Trouble Man 1971 (Movie)

Pete (Actor)

Five Easy Pieces 1970 (Movie)

Carl Fidelio Dupea (Actor)

The Grissom Gang 1970 (Movie)

Mace (Actor)

The Pursuit of Happiness 1970 (Movie)

Detective (Actor)

Last Summer 1969 (Movie)

Peter's Father (Actor)

A Lovely Way to Die 1968 (Movie)

Magruder (Actor)

Cool Hand Luke 1967 (Movie)

Alibi (Actor)

A Good Sport (TV Show)

Actor

A Season of Hope (TV Show)

Actor

A Walton Easter (TV Show)

Actor

Angel City (TV Show)

Actor

Blessings (TV Show)

Actor

Crime of Innocence (TV Show)

Actor

Generation Gap (TV Show)

Actor

Ohms (TV Show)

Actor

Orleans (TV Show)

Actor

Red Alert (TV Show)

Actor

Red Earth, White Earth (TV Show)

Actor

Roots (TV Show)

Actor

Sin and Redemption (TV Show)

Actor

The Borgia Stick (TV Show)

Actor

The President's Man (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (2)

The Mississippi 1982 - 1984 (TV Show)

Producer

On the Nickel 1980 (Movie)

(Producer)
Director (1)

On the Nickel 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

Biography

Some men want to be politicians, some want to be actors, and some even want to be ministers. Ralph Waite managed to be all three. The man known to most of the world as the patriarch from the wildly successful '70s TV show "The Waltons" was much more than the fatherly exterior he displayed. He served in the Marine Corps, didn't decide to act until he was 30, and ran for political office numerous times. But even after his death in February 2014 at the age of 85, he was forever remembered by fans as the kindly John Walton Sr.

Waite grew up in White Plains, NY where he was born the son of a construction engineer on June 22, 1928. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps when he was 18, and after that, he graduated from Bucknell University and Yale University Divinity School. Throughout all that, he bounced between jobs ranging from social worker to Presbyterian minister. It wasn't until the age of 30 that Waite, after taking issue with some of the church's methodologies and getting political, found his calling as an actor. His first professional work was "The Balcony," an off-Broadway show in 1960 and from there he went on to work his way up the theater chain until he started catching breaks in movies, where he went from a bit part in "Cool Hand Luke" (1967) to co-starring in "Five Easy Pieces" (1970). The latter role garnered him much acclaim, directing him to the role that defined his career: John Walton of "The Waltons" (CBS 1972-1981). A TV sensation, "The Waltons" lasted nine years, netting Waite an Emmy nomination. During the show's run, he also appeared in the TV mini-series "Roots" (ABC 1977), receiving another Emmy nod. Throughout his acting career to this point, Waite dealt with being an alcoholic, and his sickness was the muse behind his well-received writing debut that he also directed, "On the Nickel" (1980), which told the story of a recovering alcoholic. By the late '80s, Waite was still known as Mr. Walton, as most of his work was either the same character in TV movies or characters heavily inspired by his claim to fame. He decided in 1990 to run for Congress in California. While his campaign, along with a pair of 1998 runs, was unsuccessful, his political activity marked another career change, though he still acted, mostly in guest spots on TV shows such as "NCIS" (CBS 2003- ) and "Bones" (Fox 2005- ). 2010 was another shift for Waite, as he returned to the Presbyterian church after 50 years of inactivity. Ralph Waite died of natural causes on February 13, 2014.

Relationships

Liam Waite

Son

EDUCATION

Yale University

Majored in Ministry at the University's Divinity School

Bucknell University

Milestones

1990

Unsuccessfully ran for Congress in California

1980

Writing debut (also directed) in "On the Nickel"

1977

Co-starred in "Roots" TV mini-series

1972

"The Waltons" begins

1960

Made professional acting debut in New York theater

Bonus Trivia

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Waite served in the U.S. Marines from 1946 to 1948.

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Waite was a Presbyterian minister for several years before he started acting.

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"The beauty of life is in people who feel some obligation to enhance life. Without that, we're only half alive." 1977 interview with People.

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Waite unsuccessfully ran for Congress three times between 1990 and 1998.

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"'The Waltons' was profoundly important after years of wandering around. I was 44 and cut off from family and friends. It nurtured me back to a sense of family and who I am. It was a transforming experience." 2001 interview with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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