‘The Waltons’ Star Michael Learned Once Described How Cast Stayed Close

by Chase Thomas
(Photo by Con Keyes/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The Waltons was one of the most iconic television programs of the 1970s. It went on for close to a decade, spanning nine seasons total. The show starred so many iconic members, like Richard Thomas and Michael Learned, who the latter would become nicknamed as “America’s Mom” as she delighted viewers of the program for nine seasons. One of the reasons the show worked so well and for so long was how the cast worked with one another. The on-screen chemistry was there and Learned confirmed it was there off-screen, too.

She told Best Life, “Family. And you know, it’s touted now as if everyone was huggy, kissy and perfect, but it wasn’t like that. We had a lot of imperfections as a family, and I think that’s what people relate to.” Folks watching at home related to the family element of the program. It’s not perfect. It addressed a real representation of what makes a family complicated and messy at times.

She continued, “They don’t relate to how perfect you are, they relate to the fact that you’re flawed and you still carry on. That was the message of The Waltons.” It was not about perfection. It was about understanding one’s weaknesses, addressing them, and moving forward accordingly. The show, in her estimation, did a great job pushing that message.

On her on-screen husband, she said, “We were lovers—not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. We adored each other.” It was more of a deep caring for one another.

Richard Thomas on ‘The Waltons’

Another star of the show was Richard Thomas. It was a bit of a surprise for fans of the original to hear his voice narrate the CW reboot in December. However, Thomas always loved the series and still adores it today.

He told KSite TV, “Right. Of course it was. My affection and commitment to the show has never waned. I mean, I loved this when I did it, and It was such an important part of my life and my career. I learned so much, and it’s always held a place of really great affection for me.” It was the beginning of so many things for Thomas. It jumpstarted everything for him and he got to learn the ropes from so many brilliant actors around him. All of that mattered big-time over the course of his career.

Thomas added, “And, of course, it’s a classic, and classics that redone, and remade, and reinterpreted. They always have been, and they always will be.” Classics can always be redone. Reimagined. That sort of thing. Because The Waltons made that leap the show continued on. You can watch The Waltons: Homecoming on the CW.