The man who played the patriarch on CBS’ long-running series The Waltons has died. Ralph Waite was 85. He also had been recurring since 2008 as Papa Gibbs, the father of Mark Harmon’s character, on NCIS. “Everyone at NCIS is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Ralph Waite,” the show’s cast and crew said in a statement sent out by CBS tonight. “Ralph was family to us, a tremendous talent and a very special man. We truly cherish the time we had with him. Our hearts and prayers go out to his loved ones.” He also recurred on Bones as the grandfather of David Boreanaz’s character, played Father Matt in nearly 100 episodes of Days Of Our Lives and appeared in Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, Cold Case and The Practice.
But Waite was best known as “Daddy” on The Waltons. He starred for nine seasons on the Depression-era drama as John Walton Sr., who eked out a living at the family lumber mill on Walton’s Mountain. He scored an Emmy nom for the role in 1978 and also directed more than a dozen episodes of the hourlong series, which ran from 1972-81 and was followed by a series of telefilms.
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