Ralph Waite Dies; Emmy-Nominated Actor Was 86

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Ralph Waite, an Emmy-nominated actor best known for his leading role on The Waltons in the 1970s, passed away today at his home in South Palm Desert.

He was 86 years old.

Steve Gordon, the accountant for the Waite family, confirmed this sad news to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ralph Waite Picture

Waite anchored The Waltons for nine seasons and more recently made stops on such shows as Carnivale, Bones and NCIS, portraying Gibbs' father on television's highest-rated series.

He also founded the Los Angeles Actors Theatre in 1975 and twice ran unsuccessfully for a Congressional seat, including a run for the seat left vacant by the death of Sonny Bono in 1998.

A native of White Plains, New York, Waite was an ordained minister, a former social worker and a recovering alcoholic.

He had been married to his third wife, Linda East, since 1984 and had two daughters Kathleen and Suzanne.

Our thoughts go out to Waite's loved ones.

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