Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Holistic Health

Beloved actor Ralph Waite dead at 85

See also

Ralph Waite, best known as papa John Walton from 1972-1981, as well as the cantankerous Jackson Gibbs, father to Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS patriarch on the Walton, as well as the cantakerous has died at the age of 85 from natural causes. He also appeared in recent epsiodes of “Bones” as the grandfather of FBI agent Sealy Booth, and as a priest on “Days of Our Lives.”

Born June 22, 1928, in White Plains, NY, Waite was the oldest of five children. Although he was “too young” for World War II, he joined served in the Marine Corp. from 1946 to 1948, before graduating from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, then worked for a short time as a social worker. He later earned a master's degree from Yale University Divinity School and was an ordained Presbyterian minister. He also worked as religious editor at Harper & Row in New York City before deciding to switch to acting.

After appearing on stage, Waite jumped to the big screen, appearing in numerous films including “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), “Five Easy Pieces”(1970), “The Magnificent Seven Ride" (1972), and with Sylvester Stallone in “Cliffhanger” (1993), etc.

“He was my spiritual husband. We loved each other for over 40 years,” commented Michael Learned, who played his wife Olivia on "The “Waltons.” “He died a working actor at the top of his game.”

In real life, RalphWaite was married three times. Two marriages ended in divorce. He had three daughters from his first marriage, the eldest of which, Sharon Waite, died of leukemia when she was nine years old in 1964. He is survived by his third wife Linda East Waite, and stepson, Liam Waite, is also an actor.

Advertisement

Life

  • Transgender cop
    A transgender police officer is stepping down from her position to run for office
    Video
    Political Office
  • Easter eggs
    Craft delicate, hand-painted eggs with flowers and other designs celebrating spring
    Camera
    Easter Eggs
  • Subway message
    Subway customer finds 'Big Mama' written on her order
    Video
    Subway Message
  • Working from home
    Working from home can be an exciting venture. Get tips to ensure productivity
    Camera
    Get Tips
  • Limes
    Rising cost of limes could be putting the squeeze on your favorite restaurant
    Expensive Limes
  • Pope Francis
    Religion: Pope Francis instructs how to fight against Satan
    Morning Mass

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!