‘The Waltons’ star Ralph Waite finds a home in church

Actor rediscovers religion in Palm Desert Presbyterian congregation

August 6, 2010

PALM DESERT, Calif.

Ralph Waite, standing in a shadowy space in front of a lit stained glass window and beside two large crosses and a plant.

Actor Ralph Waite attends Spirit of the Desert Presbyterian Fellowship in Palm Desert. Waite, who currently has roles in “NCIS” and “Days of our Lives,” played John Walton in “The Waltons” TV series.— Photo by Marilyn Chung, The Desert Sun.

In a tiny church in Palm Desert, Ralph Waite has returned to his religious roots.

Waite, 82, an actor best known for his role as John Walton Sr. on the 1970s TV series “The Waltons,” is an ordained Presbyterian minister who left organized religion nearly 50 years ago.

Though busy with a new role playing Mark Harmon’s father, Jackson “Jack” Gibbs on the popular CBS series “NCIS,” Waite said he wanted to “get re-involved in some level in my religion,” and went searching for a congregation that shared his progressive religious and political views.

He discovered Spirit of the Desert Presbyterian Fellowship, which meets Sunday evenings at United Church of the Desert on Warner Trail here.

“It was just what I was looking for,” said Waite, who lives in Palm Desert with his wife of 30 years, Linda.

The services are led by three retired pastors, including Chuck Rassieur.  “We are strong advocates of peace and justice,” Rassieur said. “We are very welcoming to gays and gay issues.”

The church also has guest ministers, including Waite, who delivered a sermon — “We are all Jews” — at the group's July 4 worship service. The lesson was taken from the 2nd Book of Kings.

“I spent a couple of months reacquainting myself with the Old Testament. ... It's the root of our religion,” he said.

In the beginning

 Waite, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948, attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, on the GI Bill.  He earned his master’s degree from Yale University Divinity School and became an ordained Presbyterian minister.  He later left the ministry and went into publishing with Harper & Row in New York City.

At 33, he sat in on an acting class. “I said, ‘Let me try a scene,’ and I fell in love with it.”  He made his stage debut in 1960 in a production of “The Balcony,” at the Circle in the Square Theatre. He continued performing in Broadway and off- Broadway plays while also landing parts in high-profile movies, including “Cool Hand Luke” and “Five Easy Pieces.”

Waite’s favorite stage role was “King Lear, by far,” he said. In 1971, he was called out to Hollywood to work on “The Waltons,” an hour-long drama about rural Virginia family struggling through the Great Depression.

Waite — now 38 years sober — was an alcoholic when he first began shooting “The Waltons.” It didn’t take long for Waite to realize he was living a life contradictory to the role of the hardworking, reliable father he was playing on TV. “I was a caring, responsible father to all of these kids,” he said. “But I was drinking the night before and being a drunk on the side. I found a way to get sober.”

“Hollywood changed my life,” he said. “It turned me into a human being.”

In the desert

Waite and his wife Linda made the Coachella Valley — two hours east of Los Angeles — their second home after spending two weeks in the desert in 1986.

A group photo of all the actors of "The Waltons" in character, sitting at a table.

“The Waltons” publicity still, date unknown. Ralph Waite, as John Walton, is top right. Photo courtesy of CBS.

“When I finished ‘The Waltons,’ CBS wanted me to produce and act in another series,” Waite said. He shot the short-lived series “The Mississippi” on location — an assignment that took a toll on him.  “I did it 15 to 18 hours a day — producing and acting,” Waite said. “When I got back, I was exhausted.”

Waite and his wife were living in Los Angeles at the time. “My wife said, ‘I love the desert,’ let’s go there to relax for a couple of weeks,” Waite said. “I came here and lo and behold, I began falling in love with it. For some reason, it kept attracting me,” he said. “I said, ‘Let's move down there.'” 

Their first home was at The Springs in Rancho Mirage. After years of splitting time between L.A. and the desert, they moved to the Coachella Valley permanently eight years ago. “The more I stayed, the more beautiful the scenery became — the silence, the sense of space, the quietness ... I just love it out here now,” he said.

Waite was a longtime volunteer and board member of the ABC Alcohol and Recovery Center in Indio, serving for years as president.

Along with his brother, Donald Waite, now deceased, and other family members, he established the popular eatery Don and Sweet Sue’s Cafe in Cathedral City.

On the campaign trail

Waite, a Democrat, entered the political fray in 1990 when he challenged incumbent Republican congressman Al McCandless, representing the 37th district in Riverside County, losing by 5 percentage points. Waite said he got involved in politics because “I thought our representative in Congress was not up to par. I ran and lost, but had a great time.”

In 1998, Waite ran in the special election for the unexpired 44th Congressional District seat left vacant when incumbent Republican Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident.  Waite was defeated in that election by Mary Bono, Sonny’s widow.

Waite won the Democratic nomination for the general election in the June primary, but dropped out before the November election. “I realized it was a lost cause,” he said. “After about three months, I backed out of the race. “That was different,” he said. “It was such a sympathy vote that she won easily.”

The here and now

After a recent service and fellowship dinner, Waite nibbled on pizza, served up slices of chocolate cake — he was responsible for bringing dessert that evening — then bid farewell to his fellow worshippers. It was 7 p.m. and time to hit the road for the long drive to the “NCIS” set for a 5 a.m. call. “It’s probably the best set I've ever worked on,” he said. “And I’ve worked on a lot of sets.”

On Thursday, Waite returned from Los Angeles after spending time on the set of the daytime series “Days of Our Lives.” Waite plays the recurring role of Father Matt on the long-running soap opera.

And any time he’s walking down the street, fans like to reenact the nighttime ritual on Walton’s Mountain. “I hear ‘Goodnight, John Boy,’” Waite said, smiling.

  1. I agree with you, Brett - it just broke my heart to read this article about is views on homosexuality - I'll see "John Walton" in a different light now, I'm sure. To the poster who said that Jesus would'nt have chastised homosexuals - my friend, He already has and He doesn't stutter. Do not be deceived, the (true Holy Bible / God's Word) warns us. And just fyi, it's satan who is leading billions of people to the gates of hell with the notion that God is okay with homosexuals. It IS sexual immorality - no matter what society/satan tries to convince of otherwise. . .

    by Ditto

    August 31, 2014

  2. I have loved this man since my early years as I watched and cried and laughed and loved with the Waltons. I also loved to watch his gentle manner as Gibbs' dad in NCIS. The only thing I question as to the stream of tributes here is how any of us could consider that God made a mistake in his creation of a man or woman. Being gay is not a life choice - it is who that person is. Our Creator made each of us as we are. Parents of gay boys and girls have noted relevent behaviour in their child from ages of 2 years old therefore it is who they are. As a straight Christian Spirit filled woman I believe my Father makes no error of judgemant and therefore am proud to side with Ralph Waite in saying we are who we are through Christ Jesus. I have the good fortune to know Spirit filled, Spirit led gay men and women and their love for God, their service and their commitment to completing the works they have been set by the Master are not open to question. If God is for us who can be against us? I give thanks to Ralph for his life, his service to God and his love to all men. May we all leave such a legacy behind us.

    by Daughter of God

    June 20, 2014

  3. My family and I will miss seeing you NCIS. Always enjoyed your persona as an actor. We still watch the Walton's and I can say it's one of favorites. We walked the same streets in Lewisburg, PA. God willing I will meet you in the presence of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and walk the streets of Heaven.

    by Gary Leuck

    May 13, 2014

  4. I too grew up watching the Waltons I loved the way they portraid Mr. Waite on the Waltons as a peace loving father and husband I too hope that he didn't except homosexuality as a way of life! if you read in the old testament that is the reason Sodom and gomorrah was distroyed. I am a true believer in our lord Jesus Christ, he is the only way to the father! I am 55 yrs. old and I praise God every day that he forgave a sinner like me

    by Michael Benton

    April 29, 2014

  5. My Wife and I are watching the "Waltons" series for the third time. We also concidered you as the loving Father of a family who worshiped together, so happy to read you were raised as a Christian and returned to your faith, on the subject of Homosexuals we are to told to "love the person but hate the sin" I pray you did not condone these lost people and worked to show them the way to Christ.

    by Barry Radelet

    April 4, 2014

  6. I watched the Walton"s in the beginning and now as a senior I enjoy it all over again. I was truly blessed by being raised in a God loving home with Christian parents. At a time in my life I abandoned God but Praise The Lord He never abandoned me. Reach out to Jesus, He's reaching out to you. Thank you Mr Waite for your testimony, and your acting career on The Walton's. We so DESPERATELY NEED more morally based family television.

    by Patty

    March 1, 2014

  7. I mourn the passing of Mr. Waite. He epitomized the true imperfect but caring and devoted father and husband that is forgotten in our current generation. I still watch the Waltons reruns with the same enthusiasm. Rest in peace Ralph.

    by Kathy Graver

    February 14, 2014

  8. A legend in his own time. You left an indelible impression on the world with your ability to convey the epitome of Humanity through your acting and heartfelt expressions. Thank you! ... for the impact on my life personally and affording me the opportunity to continue to draw from your wisdom via The Walton series. May God comfort your family ... sorely missed and a great loss to each of us whose lives you have diligently touched and shaped.

    by Ann Witherspoon

    February 14, 2014

  9. I am 66 and have 6 children. Recently they started re-runs of the Waltons. The love of family and friends comes through very clearly. John's personality and demeaner of goodness also comes through, which leads the show. The success of the Walton's was the casting. The show is timeless: Thanks for a 1st Rate Show for families: we need another Walton series.

    by Fred Starkey

    February 11, 2014

  10. i enjoy the waltons

    by Annie

    December 31, 2013

  11. Mr. Waite, John Walton has always been my favorite T.V. father as well as husband. I recently started watching the Waltons again and I have the sweetest memories of watching your show with my entire family when I was a little girl. My Dad's in heaven now and it is such a blessing to watch and remember how I used to sit in his lap and listen to his heart beat while watching The Waltons. Your portrayal of John Walton will bless people for years to come. Well Done!

    by mary

    September 18, 2013

  12. Ralph Waite I'm blessed by your testimony. God patiently works His way into our lives convicting us of our short comings. I travelled from this northern community, Timmins Ontario, to Petrolia last summer to see and hear you in the play Love Letters. The Walton's is presently the only television show I can relate to. Family values and truth about God is so clearly presented. Thank you for your contribution and making our lives sweeter.

    by Deborah McArthur

    May 23, 2013

  13. -I was in my early 20's when The Waltons were in their first run. I loved the show and tried to see each episode. If only my family could have been something like the show. I believe John Walton was right in his belief that you don't have to go to a church building to be close to God. "Where one or more are gathered in my name...", I think is how it goes. -I loved the show and when I was still watching television (I turned it off in Dec. 2012, at least for now), would seek it out. I still have DVDs that I watch on my computer and The Waltons are on my list. Thank you for being part of that wonderful cast of characters.

    by Jennifer

    April 14, 2013

  14. Dear Ralph, I grew up with my family watching the Waltons and now I watch it with my kids. It still is my favourite show and you Sir are a fine actor.

    by Klaus

    April 10, 2013

  15. Dear mr walton. I watch your show day and night it bring back so. Much memory during the. Time. When my parents was living your show just touch my heart deep God bless all of. You.

    by phyllis glover

    March 27, 2013

  16. I loved the Waltons and I'm watching them on INSP NOW! love you Mr. Waite!!! you are the very best! and Richard Thomas - loved him as well---all of the cast was GREAT!! and glad you found the Lord--or HE found you!! God Bless all of you!!

    by Berta Brown

    March 25, 2013

  17. my dad was a minister , he loved the love and his children would love to hear about the bible, but he is with the lord now.we were a close and loveing family he keep us in line with the lord and i love him for telling me about jesus and the way i should be as a young child , and your show is a blessing to me , and as young children we would watch the show as a ministers daugther our watching tv was linted to the things we could watch , i hope you and your family will be a blessing to others who watch the waltions today march the 19 th 2013 10:47

    by kathy

    March 19, 2013

  18. I love he Waltons's. Why are they not on reruns? I was given a Christmas gift of CD's of the Waltons but I think there may be some missing. I too was raised during world war two but in the city. Watching the Walton's just gives me a comforting peace. God bless all of the staff tht remain.

    by Kathy Davis

    March 11, 2013

  19. Dear Mr. Waite/Walon, Currently I'm watching the Waltons every day on ISPN. My father like John Walton was raised during the Depression on a farm in Kentucky. On our farm we had cows chicken anew team of mules. For a few years we raised most of the things we ate. I have a picture of myself as a young boy with overalls and no shirt much like Jim Bob. The show reminds so much for my early early days on the farm. Living through the depression made a tremendous impression on my father and our family. Recently saw Earl Hamner being interviewed. He could not pay $19 for pair of socks today because of his experiences during the depression. I too would not pay $19 for a pair socks. I love love love the Waltons because it takes me back to my childhood. God bless all of you and grant you peace and love.

    by Dale ashley

    March 5, 2013

  20. Mr. Waite/ Walton I am a very dedicated fan of The Waltons I watch every night on the Insp channel I have five of the DVD'S and going toget the rest of them. It gives me peace and relaxtion to watch these shows. My husband picks at me and said I knew the lines that I could be a stand in.I do wish I could meet each one of you , maybe one day I can go to the Waltons Muesuem that would also be a treasure to see.May God bless each one of you ,I do so love each and everyone of you. Linda, Opp, Alabama

    by Linda Weeks

    January 27, 2013

  21. Dear Mr waite aka mr walton.. its nice to see you here. I am from new zealand and I have been a long time fan of the waltons since 1970s wen I used to return home from school us kids use to sit in front of the tv and watch the waltons religiously each day. I got to purchasing some of the series now on dvd and have up to season 5. I will soon look to purchase 6-9. Everytime I watch the waltons i feel like i have been teleported to another dimension and another time. I feel like im there with you all. You all are like family to me. The warmest family I have ever known and ever hold in my heart. I try to model my life from the waltons.. Its seed that has blessed me as a person and caused me to reach out to others and be a blessing to others. Thankyou all and Thanks to God Amen Jesus is Lord

    by jojo mapogo

    November 6, 2012

  22. I am in love with you!!! I watched The Waltons as a child with my father, and now I watch it in reruns, and I cry each time it seems, because of the lovely values and close family ties the programs show. I am divorced and think that if I met a man like John Walton (Ralph Waite), I would be happy to marry him (You)! I love the closeness of Grandpa and Grandma and John and Olivia Walton, and the children! Thank you for making this world a better place! And thank Hallmark Channel for letting us enjoy this series again!!! Love you! ~ Rita

    by Rita Lira

    October 6, 2012

  23. Like all the others who have commented about loving your portrayal of John Walton, Sr., I absolutely think you were the best person for that role. The tenderness and realism with which you portrayed a loving husband and father could not have been any better. You captured the role perfectly and have captivated the audience then and now. How wonderful to see the show in reruns. God bless you!

    by Jane L.

    October 1, 2012

  24. Dear Ralph, I'm the guy from NYC who gave you that blue golffshirt for your b'day and Fathers Day in NYC when you were doing a play on the west side called (?) This Thing of Darkness and told you I was your #1 fan from NYC. I'm happy you found God again after all these years, I did also about 15 years ago just before I saw you in NJ doing Death of a Salesman. I don't know why you lef the Church initially, mine was out of rejection from the RC church due to spiritual and other matters. Now I've joined the E.L.C.A. which is in full communion with the Episcopal Church. We should all celebrate our common worship of Christ and get on with our lives. Believe it or not, I prayed to meet you in person and God granted me my wish and met you 6 times. They were short meetings, but it meant so much to me. We also met at St. Barts in NYC when you attended two of their 12 step meetings. The way you extend yourself is God given, keep with it. All the best, Richie

    by Richie Betancourt

    September 4, 2012

  25. Ralph...I have loved you since the first time I ever saw you on tv...I've always seemed to search for some spiritual guidance in your eyes. My father died when I was 15, but have never had a loving family...have always seemed to be alone and very fearful all my life. I recently turned 60 and am still afraid..I only wish I could have known you on a personal level just to have an honest conversation. You havc been a blessing to people even when you were experiencing difficult times yourself. God used you to bless so many people on the Waltons...people such as myself. I still watch you every day anxiously waiting for a father's loving & compassionate look from your eyes. I just want so much for you to know what a blessing you have been in my life....Thank you...

    by Pam from NC

    August 30, 2012

  26. My father was never able to watch what he termed unreal and syrupy family shows like the Waltons. He grew up in hard times and never let them go. His comments, however, weren't enough to keep me away from wanting to watch families that were built on something other than the "true realites of life." From your perspective as the Walton father, Mr. Waite, Idiscovered I didn't have to view the world as dog-eat-dog. What I saw in you wasn't enough to keep me from carrying so much of my father's attitudes into my naval enlistment. A few years after I left home, finally, I repented of my sins and invited Christ into my life. Your portayal was a seed that helped bring that to pass for me, and for that I am very grateful. Today, I am 60, and still walking with the Lord.

    by David Brayshaw

    August 25, 2012

  27. Hello Ralph, I just want to tell you that the short time I got to know you as the youth minister in Garden City was one of the most important times in my young life. The reading/discussion program and Spring Break trip to Hendersonville, N.C. confirmed essential truths of my spiritual identity and directed the values of my whole life. You have made a difference to so many people in so many ways -- I just thought you would be surprised to have someone from so long ago greet you with loving gratitude . All the best to you and your family. Linda (Herman) Kelsey-Jones

    by Linda Kelsey-Jones

    August 16, 2012

  28. I think walton, sr is the best dad in the world. you are such an amazing dad on the waltons and i know you are an amazing man in your personal life. may god always bless you and your family.

    by hughes oneta

    August 8, 2012

  29. I've Alwaays been in Love with Ralph Waite .How much is he Like John Walton and his wife "oliva " is his real wife.How true are they to their roles,played.

    by Crystal Ashley

    July 10, 2012

  30. Dear Ralph, I was so pleased to learn of your newly rediscovered interest in religion. As a childhood friend from White Plains, we both attended YDS and entered the ministry. Now, after a meandering journey in life, I find fundamental religious questions terribly engaging. I would love to hear from you sometime. One of two surviving members of the "mystery five." Sam

    by Sam magill

    June 26, 2012

  31. Dear Mr.Waite, I recently started rewatching Hallmarks reruns of the Waltons and started crying seeing how much you look like my father who passed right before Fathers Day last year,I never got to say goodbye to him and still keep searching for closeure. I find some comfort watching you and seeing my father in you, do you decend from Russia? Wishing you a Happy Birthday, and Fathers Day,&many,many more

    by Kathy K

    June 13, 2012

  32. Loved The Waltons! You were the most awesome dad on the show. Still love the reruns .

    by Nancy Leigh

    June 10, 2012

  33. I have enjoyed all your various parts over the years & my wife and I enjoys your appearances on NCIS. Many years ago I worked in New York's Wall Street district with a fine insurance claim man from White Plains named Don Gavin. I recall his mentioning that he knew you. do you recall him or his family? Domino Vobiscum!

    by Gary M. Tocklin

    June 7, 2012

  34. Allways wanted to b part of a family like d waltons .love. U all .x

    by chris quaid

    May 15, 2012

  35. I watched this show in the 1970's and loved it. I did not see it again until the reruns started recently and I am enjoying watching it again. I have to admit I have been buying the series so I can watch it when ever I want. I really enjoy seeing Ralph Waite playing on NCIS, he and Will Geer were two of my favorite actors on the series.

    by Pam

    April 16, 2012

  36. Mr. Waite, I have bought the complete seasons of the Waltons, and watch them on ION and Hallmark channels, they inspire me, they make me cry and laugh and it is nice to see that Oliva has finally changed you in to a church going patron, as she was always trying to get you to go to church. I love the thought that Mr. Walton didnt think of himself as a christian even though the only thing he didn't do was go to church, his actions spoke volumes toward the faith and I am glad through that you became sober in the real world. I feel like all of the waltons are my family as I grew up watching and even though my Mom was a single parent raising my brother and I we had times just like the waltons. I comend the whole crew for making us all feel part of the family and I truely wish there were more shows like that even in this day and age with all our gagets and gizmoes, I cant help thinking those where the better of times! God bless You All!

    by Deb

    April 14, 2012

  37. No matter what else you have accomplished in your life know that you have touched others with your character on The Waltons. I too cannot get enough of watching all of the stories and marvel at the depth of your portrayal of John Walton. All of the actors on that show touched many lives with their honesty and we are the better for it. Thank you.

    by paula block

    April 3, 2012

  38. I don't know if Ralph Waite will be reading this, but I'd just like to say like most of the other posters, how many warm fuzzies I and my family get from watching our much sort out DVD's of The Waltons. We live in New Zealand where life is not to hectic and is quite green, and we have fallen well and truely for the family orientated show. The stories and characters really do depict what most people would welcome into their lives. As the father your part made me realise how valuable fathers are then and in particular in todays world. The show is really a eduction in how family values and ethics should be. Stern acting Mr Waite, and your fellow actors all help in that great Vibe that will always be in The Waltons.

    by Leanne Wech

    March 24, 2012

  39. I love watching Walton's Mountain again at age 66. It reminds me of the days of we long for.

    by Bedtsy Zivitz

    March 8, 2012

  40. Mr Waite, With tears in my eyes I just want to know how on earth you were able to get sober. Please answer.

    by Ginger Bentley

    February 23, 2012

  41. I must say , I love the waltons,this show still runs in my house. I work lonf hours ,but when I get home I flip to two channels which the reruns are on and I flip back and forth. The waltons was such an easy and simple way of life. I get so absorbed into it that I feel like I am right there with them. We are planning a trip to VA to the film site soon. I cant wait. My husband and I both grew up watching the waltons. It is truly a show that will always be on my TV,S as long as it is on tv. I wish sometimes that life was that peaceful.

    by LANA J MILLER

    February 23, 2012

  42. I am watching a Waltons marathon right now. I just LOVE this show and the patriarch Ralph Waite. It reminds me that people did used to be more polite to each other, and valued morality. It just makes me fel so nostalgic and good.

    by Kate

    February 12, 2012

  43. I may start crying. I was an only child and my parents divorced. I so very much wanted to live in that house full of children with 2 loving parents and their wise grandparents. The noise, the laughter and never being alone. It was my Disney World. May God Bless you! And many thanks for your work then and now. I am so glad to know that you are well and happy. Many Thanks Denise

    by Denise M.

    January 3, 2012

  44. You totally rocked the role of "daddy" in "The Waltons". Coming from a family of eleven children, the television program does bring it back in many ways. You and Richard Thomas were the most believeable in your roles on the show. Just wonderful actors!

    by Jeanne Bradley

    December 24, 2011

  45. Hello Mr White I am sop happy to get this oppertunity to say a few words to you, your role as the father on the waltons and the grandfathers role were my favorite , I have lived by some of your family veiws through out the years of raiseing my own children. I love the waltons and always will I still watch all the reruns everyday that I can, I also saw you on Cliff Hanger which was very good too.

    by karen walker

    December 3, 2011

  46. Ohhh dear...Mr. Waite....I can't believe I found you after all these years. I watched The Waltons growing up also in the 70's...and for the past two years, I cannot get enough of you all!!! I have season's 1,2 and 6...heehee...I'm going to find the others!!!! You and all the others are forever in my mind ..as you were then. I guess I don't accept change too well. hee. I watch you over and over..you wouldn't believe it. You are still a very handsome man and I can hear your voice at any given time. I love you and I thank you for all of the loving good times. You and Olivia..heehee...are with me always. As well as John-boy and all the rest of the wonderful Waltons. I can't say it enough...THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU!! and God bless you! I love you, toni hicks

    by Toni Hicks

    December 3, 2011

  47. In response to Brett Dague's comment about homosexuality being a sin based upon what supposedly is gospel - as humans, we are not on this earth to judge other humans and I sincerely doubt that Jesus would have chastised homosexuals.

    by Russ Morrison

    December 2, 2011

  48. i just saw the waltons crew on news the morning and i had to find you to see if you were ok cause you were not with the rest of the crew, I love the watlons i watch them every day with my kids , we cant change the world from being crazy but i can show my kids nice shows with great values and hope the wonderfulness rubs off on them , thank you for doing the waltons and making the world a better place ,God Bless !!!!!!

    by bree

    December 2, 2011

  49. Hi Ralph, So many years have passed since your stay in Bedford and your acting at the Bedford Springs Summer Playhouse. I just found some of my old pictures of the cast and your ex Bev. As you may recall as I was the head lifeguard and the keeper of the keys to the gate at the lake. We had some great parties and loads of fun stunning the fish for your evening meals. My grown children are active tv watchers of your Walton series shows and still marvel that we were friends in the early sixties. Drop me an e-mail.

    by Gary Jones

    November 27, 2011

  50. Hi Mr. Waite, I loved the Waltons growing up and when I was given an offer to move nearby where John Jr and his family lived, I took it. Anyway, Its an honor to have gotten to write to you. Hope seeing you in schyler co. someday

    by larry meyer

    October 21, 2011

  51. Love you and all the cast of The Walton's. I hope the Hallmark Channel NEVER stops running those wonderful episodes. You were by far one of my favorites characters. Good wholesome TV needs to return - we have had enough of the Jersey Shore and the Kardashians and a lot of other trash on TV today. I will NEVE R stop watching as long as The Waltons are airing.

    by Tara

    October 21, 2011

  52. You played a big role in me getting back to church in 2007. And we are so happy that daily we can watch re runs of The Waltons, yet still see you on NCIS. You are a good role model.

    by Beth

    October 19, 2011

  53. Hi Mr. Waite, we met in NY and I gave you a polo shirt for Fathers Day/your birthday some 8 - 10 years ago. Anyway, I wanted to say that I understand you're returning back to the Church and Fellowship. I did the same thing about 30 years ago when I felt alienated from God and Spirituality. My journey was rewarded by the people I've associated with in the congregations. I attend the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Episcopal Church, namely St. Bart's NYC and St. Thomas on 5th Ave. Being gay myself, they welcomed me with open arms. I was dumbfounded after keeping my 'secret' for many years, then finally coming out to them. St. Bart's was a Godsend being out of work after 9/11 after working for an foreign airline and my lover of 29 1/2 years dying. I had no one to turn to for solice, it was a very difficult time for me. I've had to 'reinvent' myself after getting furloughed by the airlines. If not for God in our lives and the lifting and reassurance of His love, we'd all be hollow shells. All the best, Richie

    by Richie Betancourt

    September 30, 2011

  54. Hi rev waite I respect u so much, on the waltons I alwayswished I was olivia. I watch the waltons every AM and every pm ! Luv u sooo much

    by carmela

    September 7, 2011

  55. I loved The Walton's back in the 70's and never missed a show. Today I watch it with tears in my eyes because it's so nostalgic. It showed a family that was so close and stuck together in good times and bad. I hope it never goes off Hallmark Channel.

    by Lillie Shye

    September 3, 2011

  56. How I love all the Waltons..I'm a senior citizen now and I somehow missed it when it was on years ago.Iwatch it every day...they don't make "em like that anymore. Thank you for all the pleasure you've given me.

    by Jan Gale

    August 29, 2011

  57. At home with a broken ankle for two months...enjoyed and healed by rewatching the Waltons. So sweet, so sweet. God's love was definitely in the making of that series. Love ya'll!

    by Andrea

    August 29, 2011

  58. Ralph, I have turned to the Walton's and their beliefs in the past few months, and you are an inspiration, (and very sexy). You may have not been the writer on the "show", but you portrayed the words whole heartedly and your wonderful. I wish you the best in your life & your family's.

    by Marylou

    August 23, 2011

  59. Hi, Mr. Waite: My husband and I missed the Waltons the first time around, but now that we are retired, we are loving the series. So much can be learned about real life in those episodes. The casting was perfect...everyone seemed so natural. You were the glue that held it all together! Thanks for being an inspiration even today! So glad to know you have returned to organized religion. We are Episcopalian, and I have been the church organist for almost 26 years in a tiny mission church in West TN. We are family! Paula and Jim

    by Paula

    August 21, 2011

  60. In the Waltons scenes you really played the roll of the one Commandment that encompasses all of Life "love your neighbour as your self" to me this is what Christ is counting on each and every one of us to do. You Ralph Waite has done this beautifully in the Walton and has taught us to LOVE in every situation. May GOD BLESS You and your family and lengthen your days to serve him.

    by Clothilda Alphonse

    August 16, 2011

  61. My dad loved the waltons (REST HIS SOLE) my husband and I still watch when on t.v. John was great as was Elizebeth and all the clan. Thank you for the enjoyment still today.

    by CHLLISRIS HO

    August 11, 2011

  62. I am a baby boomer, who fell in love with you! Sorry mrs waite, but he is sooo handsomeven at 82! Love u john

    by carmela

    July 30, 2011

  63. Ralph, about 1981 or so I waited in line with the kids at the grand opening of your sister's Hallmark store in Dallas to have my picture taken with you. I was about 30 years old so I probably looked out of place. You were so gracious. I kept that picture until my house burned in 2006. Thank you for being the key figure in The Waltons; still my favorite show. I thought I had all of the collection but didn't realize that there were nine seasons so I'm still short one season. You are still my favorite.

    by Helen Griffin

    July 19, 2011

  64. I was just reading that today, June 22, is the birthday of Ralph Waite. I looked up his biography and enjoyed reading that and enjoyed reading the above just as I have enjoyed his acting roles over the years. May God bless and guide Mr. Waite and his wife. And, of course, "...Good night John-Boy!"(sorry, couldn't resist! ;>)

    by E. Marshall Buckles

    June 22, 2011

  65. Ralph, you and Richard Thomas were my favorites on the show. Take care and God Bless.

    by Susan

    June 17, 2011

  66. Loved watching The Walton's with my 5 year old back in the 70's and now 38 years later still enjoy watching the reruns. The show delivered such good wisdom.

    by Susan

    June 17, 2011

  67. brother wait, i just wanted to say god bless you and your wife. and to say thank you for the waltons,and the work you did. and to say we need the waltons for today.

    by david hance

    June 6, 2011

  68. Dear Ralph; Today I enjoy The Walton characterizations (especially that of John and Liv) as much as ever, following you all on both GMC and Inspiration of SkyAngel IPTV. Please know how very much you have contributed to both your craft and to the very fabric of American family life in the 20th AND NOW the 21st centuries!

    by Cynthia Baum

    May 31, 2011

  69. Hi. I just want to say that you're a fine actor in every sense! I hope you & the other cast members of The Waltons do another reunion show very soon! Show the next generation how a family should be! :)

    by HEidi

    May 10, 2011

  70. Thanks so much John Walton for a show that I've seen every episode. We long for those days again in America. Where family and friends pull together in tough times. We are surely at the tough times again...God Bless

    by Dqvid

    May 5, 2011

  71. I am thoroughly enjoying reruns of "The Waltons" on Hallmark TV. You are a fine actor, and I always look forward to seeing you perform.

    by Grady T. Dix

    April 27, 2011

  72. Mr. Ralph Waite....how I loved the Waltons....it was always a dream to have a family like that. I remember you were on the cover of a Forestry Magazine that my former husband subscribed to back in the 70's - 80's. As I recall, it was the first and only time an actor was featured on the front cover. I just wanted you to know I remembered that. Thank you for all the years you gave us such joy on the Walton's. A friend of mine lives near the real location and on the way home to SC a few years ago, I stopped and saw the actors that played Elizabeth, Mary Ellen, & Bertie. They were there for a reunion of some sort. Other cast members were in attendance but Imissed them from the day before. Know that you were loved by us all!

    by Barbara Bloomer

    March 31, 2011

  73. Mr. Waite, are you a "born-again-Christian and do you believe that the only way to heaven is through the Blood of Jesus Christ? I love your acting especially on the "Waltons"

    by Betty

    October 22, 2010

  74. Dear Mr Waite, God bless you and your good works, it is nice to know that at any age we can love living and learning; each day is a blessing. Please though do not give up your acting I always find that you give a bit extra to any roles you get to play; your smile and twinkling eyes show into your soul. Warm regards Bev

    by Bev Ford

    October 19, 2010

  75. As a fellow minister of the gospel, I would ask Ralph Waite and others that believe homosexuality isn't a sin how do you account for Romans 1:27 - Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

    by Brett Dague

    September 11, 2010

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