Sad news for any classic television fans this morning, Ralph Waite has passed away at age 85. Waite is best known for starring as patriarch John Walton Sr. on The Waltons from 1971 until 1981. For those unfamiliar with the series, it followed a family living in Appalachian Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II. Waite was nominated for an Emmy for his role 1978 and was also nominated the year before for a supporting role on Roots.
Waite died Thursday afternoon in his Palm Springs, Calif. home. The news has been confirmed by his manager Alan Mills who said of Waite, "He was a wonderful guy. He was always kind, always generous, and a joy to work with." Actress Michael Learned who played Waite's wife on The Waltons has also spoken out about his passing. "Ralph was a good honest actor and a good honest man. He was my spiritual husband. We loved each other for over forty years. He died a working actor at the top of his game. He was a loving mentor to many and a role model to an entire generation. I'm devastated."
Waite continued working late into life. Just last year he was featured on Bones , Days of Our Lives, and NCIS.
One of the things The Waltons became best known for is a shot of the Waltons' home with the entire family saying "goodnight" to each other. This has lead many fans on Twitter to give their condolences by saying a final goodnight to John Sr.
Goodnight, Pa. Rest in peace, Mr. Waite.
Image: Lorimar Productions/CBS