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'The Waltons' Star Ralph Waite Dies at 85

February 14, 2014 (4:10 am) GMT
Waite, who played John Walton Sr. on 'The Waltons', passes away at his home in South Palm Desert, Calif.
'The Waltons' Star Ralph Waite Dies at 85

Actor Ralph Waite who played heartwarming father figure on 1970s TV series "The Waltons" has passed away. He was 85. According to Desert Sun, Waite died at his home in South Palm Desert, Calif. on Thursday, February 13 at about 11 A.M.

Waite's longtime friend Jerry Preece told the news outlet that he just arrived at the actor's house when he saw ambulances and Waite's wife Linda. "She just told me she thought he'd passed," Preece said. "We had talked a lot about it...he had been ill on and off lately and had a couple of spells in the hospitals. Everything was just wearing out," Preece continued, adding that Waite died of a "tired heart."

Throughout his career, Waite was nominated for Emmy awards for his role as Strikes on "Roots" and "The Waltons". His most recent TV credits included "" where he played 's on-screen father Jackson Gibbs. He also took part on "", "" and "".

In addition to TV appearances and Broadway roles, Waite took roles in movies such as "Cool Hand Luke", "Five Easy Piece" and "Last Summer". He also played the father of 's character in "The Bodyguard".

Waite is survived by his wife Linda, two daughters and a stepson.

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