Ralph Waite (22 June, 1928 – 13 February, 2014) was an American actor best known for his role as John Walton Sr. on the television series The Waltons, from 1972-1981. He also appeared in the HBO series Carnivàle in the role of Reverend Norman Balthus, from 2003-2005.
Waite made his professional NY debut in a 1960 production of The Balcony at the Circle in the Square, and was seen on Broadway in Blues for Mister Charlie, before earning fine reviews in 1965 alongside Faye Dunaway in Hogan's Goat.
This was enough to encourage him to move West, where he began collecting bit parts in prestigious movies, including Cool Hand Luke (1967) and Five Easy Pieces (1970).
Stardom came for him in the form of the gentle, homespun Depression-era series The Waltons (1972). Waite also directed several episodes of the series during the nine seasons.
Throughout the seventies, he strove to expand outside his Walton patriarchal casting with other TV mini-movie endeavours.
Those included the mini-series Roots (1977), for which he received an Emmy nomination; and a number of made-for-TV movies, including the title role in The Secret Life of John Chapman (1976), OHMS (1980), Angel City (1980) and The Gentleman Bandit (1981) (TV).
For many years Waite held passionate political ambitions. He twice ran unsuccessfully for a Congressional seat, in 1990 and 1998.
Waite died on 13 February, 2014, from natural causes. He was 85.