Prolific television and movie actor Richard Gilliland made an auspicious film debut battling mutant cockroaches in the 1975 low-budget fright flick "Bug", the final film of horror impresario William Castle. Minor roles in the films "Stay Hungry" and "The White Buffalo" soon followed, but the Texas-born Gilliland truly made a splash on television, with his first starring role on the ABC sitcom "Operation Petticoat", about the wacky crew of a United States Navy submarine. Paired with "Addams Family" vet John Astin, who played the vessel's commander, Gilliland displayed a forthright all-American charm that endeared him to audiences. He soon joined the cast of one of the nation's favorite TV families, "The Waltons", as "Jonesy," the husband of daughter Mary Ellen. He reprised the role in three subsequent "Walton's Mountain" television specials, then went on to land another leading series role, on the ill-fated sitcom "Just Our Luck", about a TV weatherman who finds a wisecracking genie-in-a-bottle named Shabu. Luckily, Gilliland landed on the long-running comedy series "Designing Women", which co-starred his wife, actress Jean Smart. But as J.D., the unreliable beau of Mary Jo Shively, Gilliland played his romantic scenes with Annie Potts, not his wife; he and Smart also both appeared on the fifth season of the FOX action hit "24".