‘The Waltons’ Star Ralph Waite Reportedly Demanded Show Cast Native Americans: Here’s Why

by Quentin Blount

One cast member from The Waltons says that star actor Ralph Waite was very passionate about politics and how people were treated. In fact, he even demanded that the show cast Native Americans for specific parts.

Kami Cotler sat down for an interview with Fox News back in 2019, five years after the death of Ralph Waite. Cotler is best remembered for her time playing the young Elizabeth Walton on the popular show. She says that Waite, who played the Walton patriarch John Walton, had a huge heart.

When asked was it was like working with the star actor, Cotler says that her perspective comes from that of a young child. After all, she was first cast in The Waltons Homecoming film at just six years old.

“I’m the youngest of all the kids on the show. So, my perspective comes from being a little kid,” Cotler explains. “Ralph took his work so seriously. You can see it in Ralph’s performances, the way he prepared, the way that he directed. This was not a game we were playing. There was something really artful and serious going on.”

‘The Waltons’ Star Was Passionate About Politics

Kami Cotler says that looking back, she recalls how passionate Waite could be when it came to politics. She says that he was especially vocal about social justice, and making sure everyone was treated right. That moment must have stuck with her. She says it’s one of the things she remembers most about Ralph Waite despite her being so young.

“Ralph was also very passionate about politics, how people were treated, and social justice,” she continued. “So as a little kid, most of that stuff goes right by you. But I was able to get a glimpse of things.”

Cotler singled out one time in particular when Waite pushed for the show to cast Native American actors and actresses for certain parts.

“For example, one time he advocated very strongly about casting because there were certain parts that called for Native Americans. And the production company wasn’t planning on casting Native Americans. He stood up and said, “No, these are parts for native people and it’s wrong to cast any other person in them.”

That moment, especially, must have been a powerful one to stick with Cotler after all these years.

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