Actor Ralph Waite, best-known for playing John Walton in The Waltons, has died aged 85.
The actor passed away yesterday at home in South Palm Desert, the Waite’s family accountant Steve Gordon confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Waite starred on The Waltons for nine years, becoming an iconic father figure for fans.
“Ralph was a good honest actor and a good honest man,” says Michael Learned who played his onscreen wife Olivia. “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.”
In a nod to the famous bedtime scene at the end of The Waltons, many fans have taken to Twitter to say “Goodnight Pa”.
Fellow Waltons’ star Judy Norton posted this message:
There are no words to express the loss of Ralph Waite. My friend, my co-worker, my "Daddy". You will forever live… http://t.co/XU6KIrjUOz
— Judy Norton (@thejudynorton) February 14, 2014
In recent years Waite has starred in several seasons of NCIS and as Hank Booth in Bones. He also founded and directed the Los Angeles Actors Theatre, which saw a revival of The Hairy Ape and The Kitchen, in which Waite also appeared.
Waite leaves behind two daughters Kathleen and Suzanne and his wife Linda East.