‘The Waltons’ Star Judy Norton Tributes TV Dad Ralph Waite: ‘Miss You So Much’

by Samantha Whidden

Honoring a special father figure in her life, “The Waltons” star Judy Norton took to her Instagram account to pay tribute to her TV dad, Ralph Waite. 

“To the best ‘Daddy’ on TV. Miss you so much,” Norton declared in the post, which features her “The Waltons” family. 

Ralph Waite notably played John Walton Sr. in “The Waltons” from 1972 to 1981. The actor went on to star in other iconic projects, including “The Bodyguard” and “Cliffhanger.”

“The Waltons” actor passed away in February 2014 of age-related illnesses. He was 85 years old at the time of his death and he was buried in White Plains Rural Cemetery in New York. Following Waite’s passing, Norton issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “There are no words to express the loss of Ralph Waite. My friend, my co-worker, my ‘Daddy.’ You will forever live on in my heart and in the lives of all you have touched over your lifetime. We are lucky to have known you. R.I.P — good night.”

Norton previously wrote about her “The Waltons” TV dad in another Instagram post for the late actor’s birthday. “I loved the twinkle in his blue eyes – that mischievous grin that couldn’t help but bring out an answering smile. He used it to disarm Olivia’s irritation numerous times.”

Norton also said that Waite himself referred to his “baby blues” humorously. “But I’m not sure he truly understood the impact they had on the rest of us.”

Judy Norton Talks Life After ‘The Waltons’

While speaking to Fox News in 2018, Judy Norton reflected on her life after “The Waltons” came to an end. She said she went back to theater. “That’s why I was grateful to go back into theater… because you’re typecast,” Norton said about being a child actress. “It’s just an unfortunate fact of this business. So I went back to my roots, which was theater, where I got a lot of roles that were different than what I might be playing on television.”

However, “The Waltons” star admitted that she regrets doing the 1985 Playboy spread. “I was getting a lot of advice from people who were representing me at the time. They felt it would be a good, positive career move. I wouldn’t say that was the case and it’s one of those things that if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have made the choice.”

Norton went on to add that she learned a lot of lessons from the experience. “In terms of trusting my own instincts and decisions more than other people’s, even though it seemed like they knew more than me. Ultimately, I’m the one that had to live with a difficult decision to make at the time. It is what it is. You can only go forward.”