‘The Waltons’: 1 Main Actor Was Also a Licensed Minister

The series is based on a family from the ’70s The Waltons. The show features a proven family who had their own faults. For example, the actor who played Olivia influenced the creators to make the character incomplete.

There have been several famous stars among the cast, and Ralph Waite was one of them. Although the audience knew him as a father, the actor had a religious role before the show.

Top Row From left: Eric Scott as Ben Walton, Mary McDonough as Erin Walton, executive producer Earl Hamner, Jon Walmsley as Jason Walton, David Harper as Jim-Bob Walton.  Bottom left: Kami Cotler as Elizabeth Walton, Michael learned as Olivia Walton, Ralph Waite as John Walton, Judy Norton as Mary Ellen Walton smiling, in black and white
Top Row From left: Eric Scott as Ben Walton, Mary McDonough as Erin Walton, executive producer Earl Hamner, Jon Walmsley as Jason Walton, David Harper as Jim-Bob Walton. Bottom line from left: Kami Cotler as Elizabeth Walton, Michael Learned as Olivia Walton, Ralph Waite as John Walton, Judy Norton as Mary Ellen Walton | CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

‘The Waltons’ is aimed at a rural family

The Waltons is an American television series that first debuted in 1972 on CBS. Based on the book Earl Hamner Jr., the show ran for nine seasons before being canceled in 1981. The story is about a family that lived during the Great Depression and World War II. The main characters live in the fictional city of Jefferson County, Virginia. The show focuses on John Walton Jr. and his six sisters, parents and grandparents. Also known as John-Boy, he is the eldest of the children and tries to be a journalist.

Those who saw the series may remember the dinner scenes as a main stable. At most events, the family would gather around the table for food. The animation of the family allowed viewers to feel comfortable. Richard Thomas starred John-Boy in the show. The character was created after Hamner Jr., who decided that Thomas was perfect for the role. Other members of the team include Judy Norton, played by older sister Mary-Ellen. Mary Elizabeth McDonough was Erin in the show, and Jon Walmsley was Jason.

Ralph Waite was in ‘The Waltons’

Waite was born on June 22, 1928, after which he became famous for his work as an actor and political activist. He went to Bucknell University after serving in the US Marine Corps. The actor was a member of the Peninsula Players theater program and made his New York debut.

In the 60s, Waite made his way to Broadway. He furthered his acting career by moving to California. The actor began to become famous when it came to roles in movies like Luke Hand cool. He eventually starred in the hit TV series The Waltons.

In the show, Waite was nominated for the role of John Walton Sr. Initially, the actor did not want to go to trial, but his producer believed him. His character is the father of seven children and he works in a leper mill to provide for his family. John appears gruff on the outside but tends to be easygoing. The character is married to Olivia, played by Michael Learned.

Ralph Waite used to be a minister

Several actors had a number of careers before moving on to film and television. It wasn’t until Waite was 30 years old that he decided to study acting. Prior to that, he had been a book editor and social worker for a short time.

according to The Keeper, the actor graduated with a master’s degree from Yale University School of Theology. Waite went on to become a minister at Christ United Church on Fisher Island and in Garden City, New York. However, he had left the church after perceiving what he saw as hypocrisy.

Of course, this was not the only time the actor became involved in a religion. In 2010, he returned to organized religion as a minister after decades of witnessing it. He was a member of the Desert Spirit Presbyterian Society. The group expects to be more inclusive compared to others.

One of the reasons Waite chose this congregation is that it was in line with his positive ideas. As previously mentioned, the actor was a political activist with liberal values.

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