Ralph Waite, patriarch of 'The Waltons' TV show, dies

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP/Fox) - Ralph Waite, who played the father in TV's hit series "The Waltons," has died.

Waite's manager, Alan Mills, says the actor died midday Thursday in the Palm Springs area. He was 85.

Waite was best known for his role as the patriarch in the 1970s CBS series "The Waltons," but he had had remained a working actor.

Waite starred for nine seasons on the depression-era drama playing John Walton, Sr.

The father of the Waltons clan made his living at the family lumber mill on Walton's Mountain.

Waite also directed more than a dozen episodes of the hourlong show which ran from 1972 until 1981.

Mills says Waite appeared recently in recurring roles on shows including "NCIS" and "Days of Our Lives."

He was from White Plains, New York.

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