|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2014)|
Waite at the 40th anniversary of The Waltons on September 29, 2012
June 22, 1928|
White Plains, New York, U.S.
|Died||February 13, 2014
Palm Desert, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|White Plains Rural Cemetery|
|Occupation||Actor, voice artist, and political activist|
|Children||2 daughters (+ 1 daughter deceased)|
|Parents||Ralph H. Waite and Esther (née Mitchell) Waite|
Ralph Waite (June 22, 1928 – February 13, 2014) was an American actor, voice artist, and political activist, best known for his role as John Walton, Sr. on The Waltons, which he occasionally directed. He portrayed the slave ship first mate "Slater" in Roots. In addition, Waite appeared in many guest roles on numerous television series, most recently in a recurring role in NCIS as the father of Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
Waite, the eldest of five children, was born in White Plains, New York on June 22, 1928, to Ralph H. Waite, a construction engineer, and Esther (née Mitchell) Waite. Too young for World War II, Waite served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946-48, then graduated from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He worked briefly as a social worker. Waite earned a master's degree from Yale University Divinity School and was an ordained Presbyterian minister and religious editor at Harper & Row, New York City before deciding on an acting career. He was a member of the Peninsula Players summer theater program during the 1963 season.
Waite made his Broadway debut in Blues for Mister Charlie, and would work on and off-Broadway steadily throughout the 1960s.
Later stage work
Waite was married three times, two marriages ending in divorce. He had three daughters from his first marriage. His eldest daughter, Sharon Waite, died of leukemia when she was 9 years old in 1964. Liam Waite, one of Waite's stepsons, is also an actor. After 50 years away from organized religion, Waite returned in 2010 and became an active member of Spirit of the Desert Presbyterian Fellowship in Palm Desert, California.
Waite ran unsuccessfully for Congress in California as a Democrat on three occasions: In 1990, he challenged veteran GOP incumbent Al McCandless in the Riverside County-based 37th district, losing by five percentage points. In 1998, Waite ran in the special election for the then-Palm Springs-based 44th district left vacant by the death of incumbent Sonny Bono. He was defeated in that election by Mary Bono, Sonny's widow, and lost to her again that November.
|1990||U.S House of Representatives
|Jeffrey Jacobs 29%
Ralph Waite 71%
|103,961||44.8%||Bud Mathewson 27%
Al McCandless 73%
|1998||U.S House of Representatives
District 44 (special election)
|Ralph Waite||24,228||28.8%||Mary Bono||53,755||64%|
|1998||U.S House of Representatives
District 39 (general election)
|Ralph Waite||57,697||35.7%||Mary Bono||97,013||60.1%|
On February 13, 2014, Waite died peacefully in Palm Desert, California of age-related illnesses at age 85. He was buried at the White Plains Rural Cemetery, White Plains, Westchester County, New York.
- Cool Hand Luke (1967) Alibi
- A Lovely Way to Die (1968)
- Five Easy Pieces (1970) Carl Fidelio Dupea
- Lawman (1971)
- The Grissom Gang (1971)
- The Pursuit of Happiness (1971)
- The Sporting Club (1971)
- Chato's Land (1972)
- Girls on the Road (1972)
- The Magnificent Seven Ride (1972)
- Trouble Man (1972)
- Hot Summer Week (1973)
- Kid Blue (1973)
- The Stone Killer (1973)
- Red Alert (1977)
- Waiting for Godot (TV) (1977)
- Angel City (1980)
- OHMS (1980)
- On the Nickel (1980)
- Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood (1988) Narrator
- Red Earth, White Earth (1989) Martin
- Crash and Burn (1990)'
- Desperate Hours (1990)
- The Bodyguard (1992) Herb Farmer
- Cliffhanger (1993)
- Sioux City (1994)
- Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996) (voice)
- The West (1996)
- A Walton Easter (1997)
- Sunshine State (2002)
- Timequest (2002)
- Blessings (2003)
- Silver City (2004)
- Letters to God (2010)
- 25 Hill (2011)
- Look Up and Live (1966)
- The Borgia Stick (1967)
- N.Y.P.D. 2 episodes
- Bonanza (1970) "The Lady and the Mark" – Hoby
- Nichols (1971)
- The Waltons (1972–81) John Walton, Sr.
- The Thanksgiving Story (1973)
- The Secret Life of John Chapman (1976)
- Roots (1977), Third Mate, Slater
- CBS: On the Air (1978)
- The Gentleman Bandit (1981)
- A Day for Thanks on Walton's Mountain (1982)
- A Wedding on Walton's Mountain (1982)
- Mother's Day on Waltons Mountain (1982)
- The Mississippi (1983) Ben Walker
- A Good Sport (1984)
- Growing Pains (1984) Rob
- Crime of Innocence (1985) Frank Hayward
- Reading Rainbow (1987)
- Murder, She Wrote (1989) DA Paul Robbins
- Sparks: The Price of Passion (1990)
- A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion (1993)
- Keys (1994)
- Sin & Redemption (TV) (1994)
- Time Trax (1994)
- A Season of Hope (1995)
- A Walton Wedding (1995)
- Murder One (1996) Malcolm Dietrich
- Orleans (1997)
- The Third Twin (1997) Senator Proust
- Chicken Soup for the Soul (1999)
- The Outer Limits (1999)
- The President's Man (2000)
- Spirit (2001)
- All My Children (2001) Bart
- Blessings (TV) (2003)
- Carnivàle (2003–2005)
- The Practice (2004)
- Cold Case (2007) Felton Metz
- CSI (2008) "Young Man with a Horn" as Sheriff Montgomery
- NCIS (2008–2013) Jackson Gibbs (8 episodes)
- The Cleaner (2008)
- Ace Ventura Jr: Pet Detective (TV) (2009)
- Kickin' It (2011) Principal Keener (7 episodes)
- Days of our Lives (2009–2014) Father Matt (recurring)
- Grey's Anatomy (2009) "Tainted Obligation" as Irving Waller
- Bones (2009–2013) Hank Booth (3 episodes)
- Off the Map (2011) "On the Mean Streets of San Miguel" as Abuelito
- On the Nickel (1980)
- Blues for Mister Charlie (1963)
- Hogan's Goat (play) (1965)
- The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald (1967)
- The Young Man From Atlanta (1995)
- The Father (1981)
- Haley, Alex. "Alex Haley.com". Roots. Alex Haley.com. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
- "Ralph Waite will be honored in 'NCIS' season finale". USA Today. February 24, 2014.
- "Ralph Waite profile at". Filmreference.com. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
- "Presbyterian Church (USA) - Ralph Waite finds a home in church". Pcusa.org. August 6, 2010. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
- Peninsula Players 65th Anniversary Program, 1999
- Interview with Beverly Waite; accessed May 19, 2014.
- Lyman, Rick (February 13, 1998). "On Stage and Off". New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
- "The Waltons' actor Ralph Waite dies at 85 in Palm Desert", "Mydesert.com", February 13, 2014
- Ralph Waite at Find a Grave
- Ralph Waite at the Internet Movie Database
- Ralph Waite at the Internet Broadway Database
- Ralph Waite at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Ralph Waite at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection
- Ralph Waite on Biography Channel