Earl Hamner, Jr.

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Earl Hamner Jr.
Born Earl Henry Hamner Jr.
(1923-07-10) July 10, 1923 (age 91)
Schuyler, Nelson County
Virginia, United States
Occupation Writer, Producer
Citizenship United States
Spouse Jane Martin (1954–present)

Earl Henry Hamner Jr. (born July 10, 1923 in Schuyler, Virginia), is an American television writer and producer (sometimes credited as Earl Hamner), best known for his work in the 1970s and 1980s on the long-running CBS series The Waltons and Falcon Crest. As a novelist, he is best known for Spencer's Mountain, which was inspired by his own childhood and formed the basis for both the film of the same name and the television series The Waltons, for which he provided voiceover narration.

He based the Walton family grandparents in the popular television series on his own maternal Italian-American grandparents, Ora Lee and Colonel Anderson Gianniny, an anglicized version of the Italian surname “Giannini”.

In 1954, Hamner wrote “Hit and Run”, an episode of the NBC legal drama Justice in which guest star E.G. Marshall played a man haunted by his crime of striking a newsboy on a bicycle and fleeing the scene of the accident.[1] He reprised the theme in the 1964 “You Drive” episode of The Twilight Zone.[2]

Hamner also contributed eight episodes in the early 1960s to the CBS science fiction series The Twilight Zone. His first script acceptance for the series was his big writing break in Hollywood.

He created two less successful series, Apple's Way (1974-1975) on CBS starring Ronny Cox, and Boone on NBC (1983–1984), with Tom Byrd and Barry Corbin.

Hamner used family names to title his projects: Spencer (Spencers Mountain) is the maiden name of his paternal grandmother Susan Henry Spencer Hamner. The Waltons comes from his paternal grandfather Walter Clifton Hamner and great-grandfather Walter Leland Hamner.

List of works[edit]


  • Fifty Roads to Town (1953)
  • Spencer's Mountain (1961)
  • You Can't Get There From Here (1965)
  • The Homecoming: A Novel About Spencer's Mountain (1970)


  • The Avocado Drive Zoo (a memoir) (1999)
  • Good Night, John Boy (reminiscences of making The Waltons TV series) (2002)
  • Generous Women (collection of memoirs) (2006)




External links[edit]