‘The Waltons’ Star Richard Thomas Beautifully Remembered Earl Hamner After His Death

by Keeli Parkey

A few years ago, one of the stars of “The Waltons” paid a visit to the hometown of the show’s writer and creator, Earl Hamner, Jr.

That star was Richard Thomas. And that hometown was Hamner’s birthplace – Schulyer, Virginia. According to a 2017 interview with Blue Ridge Life, Thomas returned to Schulyer during October 2017. Upon the occasion of his visit, Thomas beautifully remembered Hamner, who had passed away the previous year.

As fans of the show are aware, Thomas played John “John Boy” Walton, the eldest of the children born to parents, John Sr. (played by Ralph Waite) and Olivia (played by Michael Learned) in “The Waltons.”

The character of John Boy was the character that was most like Earl Hamner, Jr. So, unsurprisingly, the now 70-year-old actor feels a close connection with Hamner.

Richard Thomas shared some of his feelings about the famous author and creator of “The Waltons” a few days before he arrived in Hamner’s Virginia hometown.

“When I mentioned Earl, what comes to mind the most for you?” the interviewer asked Thomas.

“Well, I miss him, obviously, you know. I’m sad that he’s gone,” Thomas said about Hamner.

“The Waltons” actor then reflected on the long life Earl Hamner, Jr. lived. According to IMDb, Hamner died on March 24, 2016, from cancer. He was 92 years old at the time of his death.

“He had a great run,” Thomas said of Hamner. “So, I want whatever he was having.”

Next, the John Boy actor shared what Hamner meant to “The Waltons.” He also shared his appreciation for what Hamner and his work did for the careers of the show’s cast.

“But, um, you know, he obviously was the father of our show. And, consequently, the father of our success – all of us – in regards to that. So, there’s a huge debt of gratitude there,” Richard Thomas also said.

‘The Waltons’ Star Richard Thomas Described Earl Hamner as a ‘Wonderful Man’ and a ‘Gentleman’

Thomas also praised Hamner for his personal qualities and how he treated others during his long life.

“But, you know, he was a wonderful writer. And he was a terrific man with a great sense of humor and a very generous spirit and, you know, a gentleman. I would say a Southern gentleman,” “The Waltons” star also said.

“The Waltons” aired for nine seasons from 1972 until 1981. During that time, its run consisted of more than 200 episodes. The popular family series was based on Earl Hamner’s book, “Spencer’s Mountain.”

The series followed the Waltons, a family living together on Waltons Mountain during the 1930s and the 1940s. Both the Great Depression and World War II impact the world the family members find themselves living in.

In addition to Richard Thomas, Ralph Waite, and Michael Learned, the cast of “The Waltons” also included Will Geer, Ellen Corby, Judy Norton, Kami Cotler, Eric Scott, Jon Walmsley, and Mary Beth McDonough.