The sad news broke this week that Ralph Waite, a legendary TV actor best known for playing the part of John Walton, Sr. on “The Waltons,” passed away at the age of 85. This has been a sad case of greats coming out in threes this week, as his death follows up those of Shirley Temple Black and Sid Caesar.
What is particularly remarkable about Waite is that he never stopped acting, even within the past year. He was a frequent presence on “Days of Our Lives,” he showed up at the “Bones” wedding as Booth’s grandfather Hank this past fall, and he also made another appearance as Jackson Gibbs, the father to Mark Harmon’s character on “NCIS.” He had made a number of memorable appearances on the show over the years, and there was a particularly nice moment in “Better Angels” as the two Gibbs worked together to solve a mystery, and also resolve some of their differences.
While not all of the “NCIS” cast is on Twitter, some select members took to the social media site to offer up some personal tributes.
Pauley Perrette – “So Sad. Ralph Waite has passed away. Papa Gibbs. We love him at NCIS SO much. So so sad.”
Brian Dietzen – “So sad to hear about the passing of Ralph Waite yesterday. He was a wonderful human being, and he will be missed greatly.”
When the time is a little more appropriate, we are sure that the writers will come together to ensure that the character on the show gets some more of further send-off. Right now the cast is at work shooting the two-part backdoor pilot for “NCIS: New Orleans,” which could air on the network this fall.
In addition to the credits mentioned above, we also want to recognize two other shows that Waite was a part of: The extremely underrated “Carnivale,” and also the landmark miniseries “Roots.” He will be missed.