‘The Waltons’: Why Ralph Waite Reportedly Said Acting with Cast Was Different than ‘Normal’

by Quentin Blount

There was one cast and crew that stuck out more than the others if you ask The Waltons star actor Ralph Waite.

The Waltons, of course, was one of the most popular shows of its time. The series centered around a family in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II. The show aired on CBS for nine seasons from 1972 to 1981.

After nine-years worth of episodes and multiple film sequels, it’s safe to say the cast and crew from The Waltons had a close-knit bond. But just how close were they? Was it any different than the cast of another show? Ralph Waite’s answer would have been yes.

‘The Waltons’ Star Describes Unique Bond Between Cast Members

Ralph Waite once said that he was “connected” to his fellow stars on The Waltons, according to Kami Cotler. Cotler is remembered for her role on the show as young Elizabeth Walton. She got the part when she was just six years old. She told Fox News in a 2019 interview that Waite always felt strongly about his fellow cast members on the show.

“He said something really interesting about it. I think he said it at a wedding. It was one of our weddings – I can’t remember who it was – but he got up and said normally as an actor, we get together with a group of people, you create an ensemble, you have this very intense personal experience for a matter of weeks, and then you all go your separate ways,” Cotler recalled. “And that’s the normal part of being an actor. Intense togetherness and then moving on to the next thing.”

And initially, Ralph Waite thought his time on The Waltons would be a similar experience. However, it turned out that it was something very special. He said that they were more like an actual family.

“And he said he sort of expected how ‘The Waltons’ would be,” Cotler explains. “But he realized that, as he looked at each of us as we sat in the audience, that he still felt connected. And that the bonds we created in this fictional family were family-like connections. And that we were basically part of each other’s lives whether we wanted it or not. I think just acknowledging how unique our experience was and how enduring it was for each other.”

Ralph Waite passed away in 2014.

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