Actor Ralph Waite died Feb. 13 died in the Palm Springs, Calif., area at the age of 85. Waite is best known for playing lumber mill operator, husband and father of seven John Walton in the CBS series “The Waltons,” set in the rural Virginia town of Walton’s Mountain.
Waite’s character, who shared a home with his elderly parents as well as his own brood, became one of the most beloved family patriarchs of all time.
The show’s pilot aired as a holiday television movie in 1971, and the series itself ran from 1972 until 1981. The series was followed by six more TV movie sequels that aired on NBC in the 1980s and 1990s. On Walton’s Mountain, the show’s time period took place between the Great Depression and World War II, from 1933 to 1946.
In more recent years, Waite had recurring roles on TV series including "NCIS" and "Days of Our Lives,” the Associated Press reports. On “NCIS,” he played the father of star Mark Harmon’s character.