‘The Waltons’ Star Richard Thomas Guessed What Headlines Will Say When He Dies

by Megan Molseed

Actor Richard Thomas is best known for his role on the hugely popular television series “The Waltons.” Set in rural Virginia during the Great Depression, the hit television series skyrocketed Thomas to stardom. The series followed John Walton Jr. (Thomas) who was known throughout the series as “John Boy,” and his six siblings.

While Thomas continued his career after the series ended in 1981, the actor says it is not uncommon that he be recognized for the iconic role.

In a 2014 interview with Closer, the actor discussed his “John Boy fame.” As well as what it meant for him since leaving the show.

The actor says that he wouldn’t be surprised if the headlines will read “John-Boy dies,” when he’s gone. But, said Thomas, that is just fine with him.

“‘The Waltons’ stands out as not only an important part of my life and career, but also a wonderful part,” the actor said.

Thomas Always Appreciates a”Goodnight John-Boy” Reference

For Richard Thomas, it is also just fine when fans come up to him and say “Good night, John-Boy!” And, with that line being one of the most iconic lines of classic television, this may happen quite often.

“It made me a star,” Richard Thomas said of the television series. “It gave me the leverage that allowed me to work steadily my whole life.”

Each episode of “The Waltons” features one of television’s most iconic scenes. The “Goodnight routine.”

The famous routine is so popular that even people who hadn’t regularly watched the show know what it is.

According to the show’s creator, Earl Hamner Jr., much of the show, including the famous routine is based on his own life experiences growing up in Schuyler, Virginia.

The end of most episodes in the popular series featured a scene that has long been recognizable. The camera sits on the Walton’s cracker-jack-sized home as the audience watches lights go off in the windows one by one.

As each light extinguishes, we hear the members of the Walton family say goodnight to one another.

“Good night, John-Boy. Good night, Elizabeth. And good night, daddy. Good night, son. And good night, mama. Good night, Mary Ellen. Good night, Jim Bob.”

“Waltons” Creator Channels His Own Family in the Hit Television Series

This famous goodnight routine is a throwback, according to Hamner. It’s the way his own family said goodnight when he was growing up.

“That was something that we actually did when I was growing up,” the “Waltons” creator explained in a Television Acadamy Foundation “The Interviews” segment.

Hamner added that sometimes he and his siblings would get carried away. So much so that their father had to step in and end the routine for the night.

“My father, who had to get up in the morning, would say, alright, that’s enough,” the “Waltons” creator remembered.