‘The Waltons’: Jason Actor Jon Walmsley’s Real-Life Wedding to Onscreen Wife Was Officiated by Costar

by Suzanne Halliburton
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When The Waltons star Jon Walmsley got married, his large, on-screen family was as much part of his wedding as his own blood relatives.

This was back in 1979. Jon Walmsley, who played Jason on the show, married Lisa Harrison. Michael Learned, who played Olivia Walton, the mother of Jason and his six living siblings, hosted the reception at her Malibu home.

And Ralph Waite, aka John Walton Sr., officiated the wedding. After all, he was an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ. Waite graduated from Yale Divinity School and was a minister long before he opted for acting.

Waite told People magazine: “I didn’t know whether I was the father, the minister or a friend.”

Michael Learned said the match was “made in heaven.”

Real-life Wedding Became Plotline On The Waltons

Or, it could be said that the match was made on Waltons Mountain. Sort of. Six months later, Lisa Harrison made her Waltons debut as Jason’s love interest, Antoinette “Toni” Hazleton. Jason wrote a song for Toni. They fall in love and got married. The real-life husband-wife were together on The Waltons for seven episodes and three reunion movies.

In real life, the two also were musicians. Jon Walmsley played 15 instruments. At their wedding, the two 23-year-olds played a song for their guests, a group that included the entire cast of The Waltons, Doobie Brother Pat Simmons and actor John Ritter, who had a recurring role on the show.

Jon Walmsley said to his guests:

“We’d like to do a song Lisa and I wrote together. It’s called Cuddle Up, which is something we can do a lot more of now that we’re married. It’ll be legal and everything.”

Mary Elizabeth McDonough, who played Erin Walton, said she cried at the end of the ceremony as if Walmsley were her real brother.

Walmsley didn’t do a ton of acting after The Waltons ended its nine-year series run. He stayed involved with the show, playing Jason on the reunion movies. But he wanted to be a musician. He wrote songs for various TV shows. And he worked as a studio musician, too.

A British TV show reunited the cast back in 2002. Walmsley said:

“It’s pretty overwhelming that the show is still on. That people are still watching it (and) that they love it as much as they do. (And) that it’s had the kind of effect on some people’s lives that it has.”

Harrison works as a vocalist coach. The two stayed married until 2008. The couple had one daughter, Brighton.

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