‘The Waltons’: Michael Learned Said Why Her, Ralph Waite Left the ‘Lovemaking’ to Their Characters

by Joe Rutland
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“The Waltons” stars Michael Learned and Ralph Waite might have thought about having their characters’ intimacy with one another.

Learned, though, dismissed that during an interview with Closer Weekly.

“We were both single,” Learned said. “So I drove out to Malibu, but we just looked at each other and said, ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’ So all of our lovemaking was on-screen!”

Learned played Olivia Walton while Waite played John Walton on “The Waltons.” The drama, created by Earl Hamner Jr., ran for nine seasons on CBS. Both actors joined the TV series after both their roles were recast from “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.” That CBS TV movie starred Patricia Neal and Andrew Duggan as Olivia and John, respectively.

‘The Waltons’ Saw Cast Members Leave Show During Its Run

By the way, that was the pilot for “The Waltons.” In that TV movie, all of the children cast went on over to the series itself. All of them remained with the show throughout its nine-season run. Other cast members, though, did not.

Learned left her full-time role after seven seasons and was a guest star in the eighth season. Waite left his full-time role after eight seasons yet appeared in eight episodes of the final season. Richard Thomas, who played John-Boy Walton, lasted five seasons and returned in a guest-starring role in the sixth season. Ironically, actor Robert Wightman would be cast as John-Boy in the eighth and ninth seasons.

Sadly, one of “The Waltons” cast members died during the show’s run. Will Geer, who played Grandpa Walton, died on April 22, 1978, at 76 years old. Ellen Corby, who played Grandma Walton, suffered a stroke during her time on the show. She appeared in the first five seasons and the seventh season. Corby made two appearances in the sixth and eighth seasons.

Mary Ellen Actress Judy Norton Believed Will Geer Was ‘Quite A Character’

We mentioned earlier that Geer died during the series run of “The Waltons.” One of his costars believed he was a one-of-a-kind actor and man.

“Will Geer was quite a character in his own right,” Norton said. “And I loved everything that he brought to the character of Grandpa. I’ve often heard it said that this character, of all the characters he played over the years, was the most like Will in real life.”

Norton also admired Geer’s performance because of his energy.

“In so many scenes, he was full of life and laughing and smiling and being playful and a little naughty at times, the way he teased Grandma,” Norton said. “Or, the fun that he had drinking with the Baldwin ladies – always happy to go and share a cup of the recipe with them.”

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