‘The Waltons’: Richard Thomas Name-Dropped the Two Funniest Actors on the Show’s Set

by Matthew Wilson

“The Waltons” star Richard Thomas had a great time on set while filming the classic TV show. The cast often engaged in antics behind the scenes. Thomas revealed which of the cast he considered the most hilarious and would often make him laugh.

In Thomas’s opinion, Will Greer and John Ritter hold the title of funniest castmates. Greer played Grandpa Zebulon Tyler Walton for six seasons on the show until his death in 1978. Meanwhile, Ritter actually landed the first big role of his career on “The Waltons.” The actor had a recurring role as a priest on the show, years before he starred on “Three’s Company.”

“Will (Geer) was very funny, too. Another person who was very funny was John Ritter,” Thomas told Smashing Interviews. “Everybody was funny. We laughed a lot on that show. We had a lot of laughs and still do whenever we get together. As these things go, it was a very intense job working nine months, five days a week, fourteen hours a day with people, and being emotional because you’re acting.”

Humor went a long way to relieve some of the tensions when filming. Thomas admitted that he was a bit of the jokester on set as well.

“We formed very strong bonds, and we had a very good time by and large,” Thomas said. “No show is without its moments of conflicts, but ours were always workable, and everybody really loved each other very much. I was most definitely a cutup at twenty-one years old.”

Richard Thomas Reflects on ‘The Waltons’

Meanwhile, Thomas’ on-screen dad Ralph Waite was very much a mentor for the actor in real life. Waite played John Sr., the father of protagonist John-Boy on the show. In real life, the two were good friends, and Thomas remembered the actor fondly.

“Ralph was unfailingly honest and demanding as an actor,” Thomas told Smashing Interviews. “I mean ‘demanding’ in a good way, demanding that things be clear and well done. He was a sweet, affectionate, funny man, too. I loved Ralph a lot. We all did. He was a great progressive activist and a great contributor to his community. Ralph was a really special guy, and I had a lot of admiration for him as well as a lot of love.”

Overall, Thomas had nothing but good memories of his time on the show. His decision to leave during Season Five wasn’t based on animosity but wanting to explore new career paths.