‘The Waltons’: Richard Thomas Described Ralph Waite as ‘Uncompromisingly Honest’ for One Reason

by Joe Rutland

Richard Thomas and Ralph Waite were important actors during “The Waltons” run on CBS. Their respect for one another was deep, too.

Thomas said in an interview with Fox News that Waite, who died in February 2014, “was an uncompromisingly honest artist and an actor.”

“I’d made a picture with him years before” both started working together on “The Waltons,” Thomas said. “He wanted things to be real and true.”

Thomas, who played John-Boy Walton for five seasons before leaving the show, said Waite was a warm man with a great sense of humor.

“And we really bonded,” Thomas said. “It was very easy for him. And it was easy for me to let him be my dad for all those years. I really cherish the time that we had together.”

Waite portrayed John Walton Sr. throughout the show’s nine seasons on CBS. Here’s a short clip where Waite reflects not only about his time on “The Waltons,” but on his life too.

Alcoholism Played Role In Life Of Ralph Waite

One part of the life of Ralph Waite that he dealt with was alcoholism.

Waite said his drinking affected not only his professional life but private life, too.

“I was a caring, responsible father to all of these kids,” Waite said. “But I was drinking the night before and being a drunk on the side.”

He said, “I found a way to get sober.”

How? Waite attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on a regular basis. He sobered up and continued working his program of recovery until his death.

Waite Helped Out ‘The Waltons’ Michael Learned

Because he was able to get sober, Waite was in a solid position to suggest “The Waltons” matriarch Michael Learned also try AA out.

Learned plainly said Waite got her sober in an interview with FoxNews.com. “I said, ‘I’ll go and be supportive for you.’ Because he said, ‘I’m going to AA,'” Learned recalled. “And I said, ‘Oh, that’s wonderful. You really need it.’ He grabbed me by the shoulders, and he said, ‘I think you should come.’ And I’m like, ‘Me?'”

Learned said she would always be thankful to Waite for his help and support.

“But he got me sober, and I’m very grateful to him for that,” she added. “We adored each other. We were like a married couple without all the baggage that you get when you’re in a marriage.”