Actor Ralph Waite died Thursday at the age of 85, and though he was best known for for his portrayal of stalwart father figure John Walton on The Waltons, which ran from 1971-81, in recent years, he had recurring roles on Bones, NCIS, and Days of Our Lives. And after news of Waite’s passing, cast and producers from those shows honored the actor.
The cast and crew of CBS’ NCIS, on which Waite played the father of Mark Harmon’s Gibbs, released a statement: “Everyone at NCIS is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Ralph Waite. Ralph was family to us, a tremendous talent and a very special man. We truly cherish the time we had with him. Our hearts and prayers go out to his loved ones.” Waite’s most recent appearance on the show was in a moving hour that aired in November that explored the relationship between Gibbs and his father.
Meanwhile, Bones co-creators Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan said, “All of us at Bones mourn the loss of Ralph Waite. We loved having him on set and in many ways his character was the moral center of our show as Booth’s (David Boreanaz) plainspoken, loving, war hero grandfather. The entire Bones family sends condolences to his family and loved ones.”
And Days of Our Lives cast members also paid tribute to the actor on Twitter. Jen Lilley wrote, “#RIPRalphWaite. I was thinking of how wonderful you are today & hoped to give you a Valentine. Heaven just welcomed a selfless, kind heart.” While Eric Martsolf wrote simply, “Ralph Waite. Rest in peace and thank you sir.”