Even though many Americans have never visited the lovely state of Virginia, owing to the renowned narrative of a family known as the Waltons, Virginia still feels like home to many. The fictitious Walton Family series, which centered on the lives of the Waltons, notably John-Boy, a teenage boy living in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II, became a vital feature of American television in the 1970s.
For nine seasons, Earl Hamner Jr.’s famous American historical drama aired! This legendary American sitcom won the hearts of millions of people and is still widely regarded as one of the finest television shows ever. The cast members have all gone on to achieve remarkable things since the series ended over forty years ago.
Ralph Waite — Then
Ralph Waite, who acted as John Walton Sr., was one of the greatest characters in The Waltons. Long before Ralph Waite was hired to act in The Waltons, he had served in the Marines and later became a social worker before enrolling in divinity school at Yale University. He graduated from Yale Divinity School with a master’s degree. He made the decision to shift careers and become an actor.
He began his acting career on Broadway before pursuing a career in movies. Set during the Great Depression and World War II, Ralph plays John Walton Sr., who manages a family sawmill and focuses on keeping his family together. With the aid of his son, he tries to eke out a living for his family by operating a timber mill.
Ralph Waite — Now
Ralph Waite continued to act in films and make guest appearances on prominent television shows after The Waltons ended. He had a recurring role on NCIS as Jackson Gibbs. In the play “The Young Man from Atlanta,” he created the part of Will Kidder, back in 1995. The play was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Waite had a busy life in other respects as well. He had three marriages and utilized his position to convey his political opinions. Waite also ran for Congress, but he was defeated. First, he ran against Republican incumbent Al McCandless. He also ran in a special election to fill a vacancy created by a politician’s death. He did, however, lose twice to the politician’s widow. Sadly, Waite died in California on February 13, 2014.
Michael Learned — Then
In Tring, Hertfordshire, England, Michael Learned attended Arts Educational School, Tring, which is now Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. Michael Learned had a limited acting history before landing the role of Olivia Walton, the family matriarch. Michael’s career as a female actor was launched and legitimized by The Waltons, for which she was nominated for six Emmy Awards, of which she won three of them.
Her ambition was to pursue acting as a career. Michael Learned began her acting career in plays alongside her then-husband, performing minor roles. The actress had a strong desire to perform. She was incredibly adaptable, taking on every position that came her way. With the passage of time, she attracted the notice of producers such as Lee Rich, who gave her a part in The Waltons TV series. Learned’s character’s disappearance on the show was partly due to TB, for which she sought treatment at a sanatorium.
Michael Learned — Now
After her divorce from Peter Donat in 1972, Michael Learned allegedly featured in The Waltons to support her three children. She quit The Waltons in 1979 because the program had evolved and she had gotten bored, she told Fox News in 2017. Learned has continued to perform after concluding her role as Mrs. Walton. Shirley Smith, a terminally sick cancer patient on General Hospital, was her breakout role on daytime television.
On “The Young and the Restless,” she took up Katherine Chancellor’s position. She was fighting alcohol abuse behind the scenes on The Waltons, which was starkly different from her on-screen demeanor. With her first marriage, to actor Peter Donat, Michael had three children. She is presently married to attorney John Doherty, with whom she shares a home in California.
Richard Thomas — Then
Growing up in New York City, Richard Earl Thomas was exposed to the world of entertainment from an early age. At 20, Richard Thomas had an amazing CV before being hired to star as John-Boy. He did both television and cinema work. In 1969, he starred with Paul Newman in Winning, which was one of his first notable cinematic appearances.
In an interview with the Emmy Awards, Thomas said that his first on-camera job was on the Hallmark Channel. Earl Hamner Jr., the show’s creator, based the character of John-Boy on his own experiences. John-Boy is a reflective figure and an avid reader who aspires to be a writer. He keeps a record of his everyday thoughts and things related to his family.
Richard Thomas — Now
After 124 episodes on The Waltons, Thomas didn’t slow down in the least. After leaving The Waltons, he had a successful theater career. He made an appearance in the “Fifth of July” in 1980. In 1993, he starred in the film “Richard II” as the title character. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he also appeared in four plays at the Hartford Stage in Connecticut.
Thomas starred in David Mamet’s Broadway drama “Race” in 2009-2010. In the play, he shared the stage with James Spader, Kerry Washington, and David Alan Grier. When he is not playing various characters, Thomas is a happily married family guy residing in his birthplace of New York. Montana is his son with Georgiana Bischoff, while Richard Francisco, Pilar, Barbara, and Gwyneth are his children from his first marriage to Alma Gonzales.
Jon Walmsley — Then
Walmsley was born on February 6, 1956, and grew up in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. Ralph Waite made him his acting protégé. It does, however, bear some resemblance to his appearance in The Waltons. Before being hired to appear as Jason Walton on The Waltons, Jon Walmsley voiced Christopher Robin’s Winnie the Pooh character in cartoons.
Even though John-Boy and Jason Walton have completely different personalities, the two siblings are extremely close. Jason is a music lover who likes making songs on the piano, guitar, and harmonica in the show. In season three of the series, he attends the Kleinberg Conservatory of Music. He also begins playing the piano in a honky-tonk pub.
Jon Walmsley —Now
Walmsley has shifted his focus to his music career after wrapping up his long time on the show. He has composed music for films such as “8 Simple Rules,” “7th Heaven,” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” He has collaborated with a number of notable musicians over his career, including David Koz, Peter and Gordon, Merle Haggard, Richard Marx, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and Al Jardine, co-founder of The Beach Boys.
Jon Walmsley, now in his fifties, relocated to Cornwall, back in the United Kingdom, where he lives with his wife, Marion, and appreciates the privacy. He did, however, start working on a new project in 2017, the CD “Goin’ To Clarksdale.” According to Billboard, the blues album mirrored his earliest and most fundamental emotions.
Judy Norton Taylor — Then
Norton was born in Santa Monica, California, and grew up in Hollywood, where she then looked forward to discarding her Mary Ellen persona after many years as a child actor. Judy Norton Taylor was a newcomer to the acting world when first landing the part of Mary Ellen Walton in The Waltons. Judy began studying and practicing Scientology at the age of thirteen. She went on to become a church minister after that.
Mary Ellen is the family’s oldest daughter. She was a tomboy who had a soft spot for baseball. As the story progressed, Mary Ellen grew into a knowledgeable lady who pursued her nursing degree and eventually became a doctor as the story moved along. Mary Ellen’s transformation from tomboy to doctor was inspiring.
Judy Norton Taylor — Now
Even though Norton is most remembered for her role as Mary Ellen, she has continued to act throughout her career. She managed theaters in Canada for a while with her third husband, Randy Apostle. Judy Norton Taylor took to the stage after the Waltons had finished. She traveled north of the border and directed over 40 productions for two Canadian theatrical groups.
She, like her on-screen brother, had a passion for music, which she revived by recording a demo. To shed her nice “family” image, she posed for Playboy in 1985. She is now married to Robert Graves and is the mother of one boy, Devin. She also has her own YouTube channel, where she actively responds to queries about herself.
Eric Scott — Then
Scott’s most renowned role would be that of Ben Walton. His filmography, on the other hand, spans decades. He called Los Angeles, California, his home after his birth on October 20, 1958. Eric Scott’s most well-known role to date was in The Waltons as Ben Walton, the fifth-born child. The name “Eric” was given to him by his parents in memory of his uncle, who was killed in WW I.
Eric Scott is Ben Walton to many viewers. However, he did not begin his acting career on The Waltons. Instead, the stories of Ben and Scott begin with the television movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story. Ben gets into a lot of problems, primarily because of his money-making schemes. To save him, John-Boy or his father must come to his help. Ben marries Cindy Brunson, and they have two children: Virginia, a daughter, and Charles, a son, who is born in the second reunion film.
Eric Scott — Now
Eric Scott, like many of his co-stars on The Waltons, took a break from acting after portraying Ben and only appeared in a few minor parts after that. He married actress Karey Louis for a short period before remarrying Theresa Fargo, with whom he had a daughter, Ashley. Scott married Cindy Ullman Wolfen for the second time in 2001.
The couple welcomed a daughter in 2001 and a son in 2004. Eric Scott doesn’t appear to miss his days as an actor and appears content with his family life. As of 2019, Scott is the owner of Chase Messengers, a parcel delivery business in Encino, California. He also works as a vice president for a messenger service in Hollywood, California.
Mary Beth McDonough — Then
Mary Elizabeth McDonough’s first significant acting job was as Erin Esther Walton in The Waltons. McDonough began her career as a child performer in 1963 and went on to become a very active theatrical student. While there are no accounts of McDonough actively appearing in theater, her on-screen acting roles certainly paid off.
Olivia and John Walton have a fourth child, Erin Esther Walton. Erin is a romantic who struggles to find her place in the world. She attends business school after high school and goes on to become the executive manager of a plant during the war. Her marriage to Paul Northridge, who is shown to be unfaithful throughout their relationship, is one of her many relationships that all end badly.
Mary Beth McDonough — Now
Even though most of her acting credits were spread across the years, she managed to retain a very up-to-date list of roles, with her most recent appearance in 2018. McDonough went on to guest star in episodes including The Love Boat, ER, Ally McBeal, Walker, Texas Ranger, The West Wing, Boston Legal, and Will & Grace, after her stint on The Waltons.
She also played Mrs. Wilhoite in The New Adventures of Old Christine. Mary is a radio guest who has appeared on various syndicated and worldwide radio programs, including Kate Hennessy’s “Get Focused Radio.” In 1988, she married Rob Wickstrom, with whom she had a daughter, Sydnee, but the couple separated in 1996.
David Harper — Then
David W. Harper made his television debut and got his major break as Jim-Bob Walton in the classic sitcom The Waltons. Jim-Bob Walton, the youngest Walton boy, is his most famous role. Elizabeth, his younger sister, is his closest friend. Jim-Bob enjoys airplanes and has a knack for mechanics. He aspires to be a pilot in the show, but due to bad eyesight, he will have to abandon his ambition.
Harper remained with The Waltons’ cast over its whole nine-season run and would achieve greater success post-Waltons as well. We watch Jim-Bob switch between many women during the show. Jim-Bob is the valedictorian of his high school class. After the assault on Pearl Harbor, he tries to enlist in the Army but is turned down due to his age.
David Harper — Now
Harper, like many of his on-screen family members, elected to lessen his acting burden after discontinuing with the series. However, The Waltons were responsible for most, if not all, of Harper’s success, as many of the parts he played resembled those of his Waltons character. He went on to star in the CBS television miniseries “The Blue and the Gray” after the program ended.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he participated in multiple reunion specials with several of his co-stars. Harper went to school to study business after working several jobs. He still lives in Hollywood, but he is no longer in the spotlight as an actor. Harper is now a very solitary and spiritual man who prefers to remain to himself, which is why we don’t hear much about him.
Kami Cotler — Then
Kami Cotler, who was born on June 17, 1965, grew up in and around Long Beach, California. This place of her birth would be the setting for several of her major career milestones. When the story begins, lovely Kami Cotler, the Walton family’s “baby,” is just six years old. Kami Cotler was busy building a name for herself about the time The Waltons was created. By that time, she had appeared in all 13 episodes of Garry Marshall’s “Me and the Chimp” TV program.
She plays Elizabeth Tyler Walton, Olivia and John’s youngest child. She’s a feisty, free-spirited little girl who isn’t afraid to speak her thoughts. She wants to be a writer and a reader when she is a teenager. Elizabeth is always willing to assist others and frequently babysits her nieces and nephews. Her free-spirited nature causes her, later in the series, to travel throughout Europe and join the Peace Corps.
Kami Cotler — Now
At an early age, the Waltons show gave Kami Cotler a lot. The generosity continued having an effect throughout her life, up to this day. The legendary family’s impact may be felt even when she was working on other projects. Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane, a 2018 made-for-TV film, highlights this. Kami Cotler gave up acting to pursue a career in academia. She went to the University of California, Berkley, to study social sciences and graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
She went on to become a teacher and began working at a rural Virginia school, which was, oddly, identical to the one where her character in The Waltons attended. Later, Kami returned to California to teach at an environmental charter high school before becoming co-director of the Ocean Charter School until 2007, when she left the school system to create her own educational consulting firm.
The Network Was Cheap, and Ralph Waite Was Fired
Ralph Waite’s departure from The Waltons program drew a lot of notice. The sitcom wasn’t scheduled to be renewed for a ninth season at first. The producers, however, decided to go forward with the final season after establishing a reduced budget. They needed extra cash, so they did the only rational thing they could think of—cut cast member salary.
As a result, Ralph was fired, despite the fact that he was one of the show’s elder cast members (and presumably a little more expensive). He was only offered an eight-episode contract, and he was not asked to return for the remaining 14 episodes of The Waltons’ last season. So, if you’re wondering why Waite went away, you can blame it on the network’s cost-cutting!
Ellen Corby Has Returned Following a Stroke
Some performers are so committed to their jobs that even a stroke does not keep them out of the spotlight for long. Grandma Esther, a.k.a. Ellen Corby, suffered a stroke in 1976 and had to leave the program for two years to recover. Her stroke was included in the script.
Grandma was shown in the show to have aphasia as a result of her stroke, which hampered her communication. Ellen was worried that the stroke would affect her acting ability, but the contrary happened, despite her fans’ reservations about Corby’s resuming work and perhaps not putting her health first.
Patricia Neal Was Originally Included in the Cast
Patricia Neal was a theater and screen actress from the United States. She was a huge Hollywood star in the 1950s and 1960s, winning an Academy Award and two British Academy Film Awards, as well as being nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards. Patricia Neal plays Olivia Walton in the 1971 pilot episode of “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.” Patricia was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the film.
Because of her health concerns, Earl Hamner, the Waltons creator, doubted Neal’s ability to adhere to a weekly TV series schedule. Instead, they put Michael Learned in the part of Olivia Walton, which, as we all know, turned out to be a huge success for both the show and Learned’s career.
Henry Fonda Ruined His Chances as a Cast Member
Henry Fonda is famous for his supporting roles, where he plays Mr. Watson, who hears the first words ever uttered over the telephone. In 1963, Henry Fonda starred in “Spencer’s Mountain,” which inspired a show to be called “The Waltons.” Fonda was being considered for the role of the Waltons’ father, and CBS officials believed he’d be a good fit.
However, he made a remark that irritated them and ended up jeopardizing his chances of being cast. When Fonda saw the pilot episode, he exclaimed, “What exactly do you need me for? The entire family is the center of attention! You don’t require my assistance. ” So… yes… not the best thing to say if you’re looking to land a part!
An Unusual Name at That Time
“The Waltons” is possibly the most unapologetically wholesome, daringly low-key program in television history. The Waltons program was based on Hamner’s book Spencer’s Mountain, which is about a family in rural Virginia. The events of Hamner’s youth in rural Virginia influenced not just the show’s backdrop, but also different stories.
It was usual for comedies to be referred to by the family’s last name during the time The Waltons premiered. You knew you were about to watch a sitcom when you saw a show with that last name. Early viewers were perplexed because The Waltons was far from a sitcom. Despite this, the show was a huge smash with millions of people across the United States.
The Connection between the Duo
During the duration of The Waltons on CBS, Richard Thomas and Ralph Waite had a critical role. They had a great deal of regard for one another. It wasn’t the first time Waite and Thomas collaborated on The Waltons. The film Last summer starred Ralph Waite and Richard Thomas in co-starring roles. They worked together as a father-son combination, again, in the TV series three years later. It was obvious that the two had a strong relationship.
Ralph Waite and Richard Thomas co-starred in Last Summer before the start of the TV program. Three years later, they paired up as a father-son duo once more. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, as the adage goes. Their chemistry was undeniable, and the audience adored them together. According to Thomas, who portrayed John-Boy Walton for five seasons before departing the program, Waite was a nice man with a terrific sense of humor.
Olivia Walton Was a Big Fan of the Bottle
Even though Learned demonized alcohol on the show and described it as wicked, she felt differently in real life. Even though she still believed it was a dangerous substance, that didn’t stop her from abusing alcohol. She even had a bottle of bourbon in her pocket when she went for her audition. Despite this, she persuaded the producers that she was the ideal candidate for the position.
In 1977, Michael had had enough when she understood that drinking might take her life. She quit drinking after that and has been clean ever since. Waite, according to Michael Learned, was the one who advised her to take steps toward sobriety. He also invited her to a meeting of a support group. Learned also stated that she would be eternally grateful to Waite for his assistance and support.
Jon Walmsley Was Born in the United Kingdom
While Jon Walmsley sounded like he was born in the United States, he was really born in Lancashire, England, as previously indicated. Jon Walmsley was a man who traveled a lot when he was younger. His family moved over the big pond when he was very young to start a new life in the United States, where his musical career took off immediately.
He began singing and playing the guitar at the age of eight. He put his ability out there for people to discover, through consistent performances at numerous places. Walmsley didn’t have to follow in the footsteps of other performers who imitated American accents. When he relocated, he was still young enough that he lost his English accent.
The Studio Profited from the Cast
The Waltons, like many other 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s television shows, has a special place in the hearts of many fans. The cast had its problems, but they seemed to get along and act like a true family in general. Unfortunately, there were several production challenges. The studio was not respecting enough, especially when it came to the cast members. The children in the show were mistreated. And no one was getting paid what they were entitled to.
To give you an idea of how cheap the studio was, their concept of a party was supposedly comprised of one drink and 13 straws for cast members. While we believe this is an exaggeration, the studio had a reputation for being extremely frugal. Despite their frugal reputation, the studio did send flowers once to Michael Learned. Given their limited resources, that must have been quite tough for them.
Ralph Waite Was Intrigued with the Cast
Ralph Waite and Michael Learned starred in the 1970s program The Waltons for nine seasons, cementing their place in television history. While the beloved family matriarch and patriarch appeared to be inseparable at first, they both had their own love pathways to tread off-screen. Fans who expected them to meet in person were frequently let down.
Even after multiple heartbreaks in the real world, the two never made it into each other’s romance books. Ralph Waite credits his sobriety in part to his cast in The Waltons. As he became more invested in the series, his TV family encouraged him to make a significant shift in his life. He made the decision to change his life and joined AA in order to become clean. But we’ll get to that later.
The Duo Tried Dating, but It Was Too Awkward
Remember how Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel tried to bring their fictitious romance as Cory and Topanga to life in “Boy Meets World”? Well, just like their relationship didn’t work out, Michael and Ralph’s relationship didn’t work out either. Waite and Learned both looked to be on a downward spiral in their individual love affairs while pursuing good jobs.
Despite the fact that Learned and Waite were eleven years apart in age, their lives were entwined owing to their television roles as Mr. and Mrs. Walton. True, the two had wonderful chemistry on screen, but when they both found themselves alone and trying to date in real life, it was too strange, and they came to the mutual conclusion that it wouldn’t work out.
Grandpa Was a Queer
People from those years did everything they could to conceal their actual identity, since the world frowned upon individuals whose sexual predilections favored others of the same gender. Will Geer, who plays Grandpa Zebulon Walton, has devoted his life to much more than acting. Geer has dedicated his life to campaigning as a member of the LGBT community.
He was dating Harry Hay, a well-known activist who campaigned for LGBT rights, labor rights, Native American civil rights, and other causes. During the 1930s and 1940s, Geer worked as a labor organizer in New York and Southern California. He toured work sites and arranged perks for migrant employees. Even though he died in 1978, his legacy as an activist lives on.
He Was Also a Communist
His secret wasn’t only that he was gay. Will Geer was a communist as well! He’d run a campaign on behalf of strikers. He soon discovered that the Communist Party was homophobic, and he had to accept the fact that he would have to marry a woman. He was one of the American performers who, at one point in history, was blacklisted because of his political convictions.
Geer was banned in the 1950s for refusing to appear before a House committee. He belonged to the Communist Party. He lost his job after refusing to name “communists” during testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He didn’t have much of a job throughout the 1950s. Despite this, Geer nourished and assisted many others in similar situations.
Mary Ellen’s Playboy Scandal Almost Ruined Her Career
A prominent lady would frequently participate in a Playboy photo shoot in the hopes of saving her career. It appears to work for certain celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian. Others, however, may never be able to resume their profession. Mary Ellen’s appearance in Playboy did not rekindle her acting career. Ironically, it turned out to be the roadblock that kept her from gaining additional acting jobs.
In 1985, Norton chose to part ways with her character from The Waltons. When the then-27-year-old appeared for the August edition of Playboy, she stunned admirers. Her appearance in Playboy was usually the focus of her interviews, rather than her acting. Later, Mary Ellen confessed that appearing in the magazine was a bad idea.
Mary McDonough Had Several Health Challenges
Mary McDonough underwent a breast augmentation after her role as Erin Walton on the show. It’s unclear whether she did so to move out of her role on the show. Unfortunately, the procedure did not go as planned. She developed lupus because of the procedure, which she alleges was caused by leaky silicone breast implants.
She eventually had the implants removed, and she claims that making the decision to do so enabled her to regain her health. Her health problems were not limited to the breast implants. Mary McDonough’s bad eating habits and excessive dieting had a significant influence on her health earlier in life. Unfortunately, McDonough’s parents were unaware of her worries at the time, but it was a fellow actor, John Ritter, who recommended something that set her on the correct track.
Ralph Waite Attempted to Become a Politician
Ralph Waite planned to pursue a career in something other than acting once the show ended. His ambition was to become a politician. Waite, a long time Democrat, chose to run against incumbent Rep. Al McCandless (R) in California’s District 37 in 1990, eight years after The Waltons ended.
Waite stated that witnessing Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel, a playwright turned politician, make an address to the US Congress in February 1990 was the turning moment in his decision to run. Well, the third time wasn’t the charm for the actor, as he failed three times in his attempt to run for Congress in California. He didn’t appear to utilize his fame to sway voters, as most other celebrities in his position would.
The Show’s Success Came as a Complete Shock to CBS
Earl Hamner Jr., a writer, had marketed his notion of a Depression-era family (the Waltons) as books and, later, as a film, Spencer’s Mountain. It was a way of looking back without being too naïve in the 1970s. The program caught on and kept on going until most of the older cast had gone on their own way. This was because it was so well-written, episodic yet consistent, well-acted and a caring look at hard times without being too rosy.
CBS felt they had something with the first TV movie and went with it. Surprisingly, CBS did not anticipate the show being as successful as it was. They had little trust in the project, believing it would fall short of the big shows on NBC and ABC. Surprisingly, the show outperformed the rival networks’ programming and was highly rated.
The Inn Featured in Gilmore Girls Was the Waltons’ Home
If any Gilmore Girls fans chanced to be watching The Waltons, one of the sets could appear familiar. After the series finished, the Walton family’s home was offered to a number of shows and movies. However, the home was eventually given to specifically one of the shows. The Walton’s home was destroyed by a fire on the Warner Bros. lot in November 1991, an incident which was apparently caused by a disgruntled employee.
The home was, of course, rebuilt. In the 1990s, The Waltons created three more made-for-TV movies, honoring Thanksgiving, Easter, and John-Boy’s marriage, in addition to that 1993 feature, the set was utilized in various other films and television series. The home was utilized as the Dragonfly Inn in “The Gilmore Girls.” Despite the fact that the house has subsequently been renovated, it nevertheless retains much of its TV past.
The Show’s Creator Drew Inspiration from a Familiar Source
People who make things for a living need to be inspired all of the time. Earl Hamner Jr., the creative and prolific writer who created one of television’s most cherished family sitcoms, The Waltons, based it on his Depression-era background in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The show’s creator was inspired by his own family in this scenario. He grew up with seven siblings and claimed to be John-Boy in real life.
Everything in the program was inspired by Hamner’s real life, from the family humor to the family tensions to the “small cracker box” residence. For audiences, though, one recollection of Hamner’s sticks out above the rest: the goodnight routine. According to Hamner, the goodnight routine featured in the show is exactly like his own family’s practice. Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld, modeled the show’s character George on himself, so this isn’t unprecedented.
The Timeline of the Show Was Constantly Corrupted
Even the most seasoned professionals, such as television producers, make mistakes. The makers of “The Waltons” made various blunders in terms of the show’s timeframe. Throughout the episodes, there were various irregularities in the ages of the characters. Evidently, making mistakes is a part of life, as the show’s creators messed up the timeline’s sequence.
This includes anniversaries and the ages of the cast members as a whole. One great example is when John-Boy, although being 19, was unable to enlist in the Army. Other errors include Jim-Bob telling Mr. Perkins in the barn loft that he used to share a bedroom with his three siblings, when in fact, John-Boy had his own.
The Original John-Boy Appeared Frequently as Various Characters
Richard Thomas appears to have quietly departed The Waltons almost 40 years ago to pursue other interests, since there is no evidence that he had a falling out with the show or the network. Richard Thomas was supposed to play John-Boy for five seasons, but he only made a brief appearance in Season 6 before returning for the movie sequels.
For Seasons 8 and 9, he was replaced by actor Robert Wightman. That had to be incredibly perplexing for the audience! When the character of John-Boy was returned “to the stage,” he was noticeably absent. As it turned out, he was involved in a serious plane crash while serving in the military, forcing him to come home for treatment. You’d think he’d never return to the program, yet he did, although as a new character. It had to be strange for him to switch roles on the same TV program.
Waltons Youngest Daughter Quit Acting and Started a New Job
After her experience on The Waltons, Kami Cotler thought she was done with acting entirely. After the program was cancelled, the star, as the youngest member of the Walton family, had plenty of opportunities to pursue a true acting career. She instead opted to pursue a career in academia. Her acting career came to an end when she went to the University of California, Berkeley, to seek a degree in social sciences.
As a 9th grade teacher, she used her education to assist students in having a more enriching learning experience. She moved on to work for an education consulting firm to guarantee that pupils had the greatest chance possible. Years after the program ended, Cotler created a charter school in Gardena, California. She also “played” the principal, pursuing an interest that was more fulfilling than her acting career.
John Officiated at Jason and Jennifer’s Wedding
Jon Walmsley, who portrayed Jason on the show, married Lisa Harrison in 1979. Walmsley asked everyone to the wedding because the cast was so tight. Not only that, but he also asked Waite to preside over the wedding. He was able to rejoice with the people he grew up with on the show and hear Ralph Waite declare the couple “man and wife.”
Ralph Waite was an ordained minister before becoming an actor. You would believe that his responsibilities as a devout Christian had little to do with his acting career, but they did come in useful when co-star Jon Walmsley married his wife. The reception was held in the Malibu home of Michael Learned, who played Olivia Walton, Jason’s mother and the mother of his six living siblings.
Earl Hamner’s Reunion
Earl Hamner, the show’s originator, died in 2016 at the age of 92, after a long battle with cancer. Audrey Hamner, the late Earl Hamner Jr.’s sister, and cast members paid tribute to him by releasing balloons against the blue sky in remembrance of the man they knew as family.
Audrey Hamner displayed a bench dedicated to her brother during the ceremony, which will remain on the grounds of the Walton’s Mountain Museum. The show aired a reunion of the CBS drama from 2013 to honor his life and work. Geer, who died in 1978, and Corby, who died in 1999, were also unaccounted for. Some may believe the show was overly sentimental, but the fact that it was wholesome and upheld family values is precisely what made it so groundbreaking.
Grandma Had a Female Companion
Grandma Walton was lesbian, which would have caused quite a fuss in the Walton household. Ellen Corby, who portrayed Esther Walton in the sitcom, won three Emmys for her work. She married Francis Corby in 1934. However, the couple never had children, and their marriage lasted only ten years before they divorced in 1944.
Ellen, it turns out, had a 45-year-old female partner who stayed with her until her death in 1999. In Hollywood, the two ladies were known to be more than just friends. “I love you,” Ellen said to her partner, Stella Luchetta, in her parting words. Stella was her first love, and they remained together till the end.
The Actors Were Underpaid
Surviving cast members of The Waltons reveal shocking revelations from the set, telling Closer Magazine that despite a strong family relationship, several members of the cast were exploited and taken advantage of while filming the iconic drama. The younger cast members, as was customary in the 1970s, believe they were frequently undervalued and exploited throughout production.
“We didn’t get paid well on that show,” said young actor Eric Scott. After the show ended, Eric struggled to find acting work, and the only job he could find was as a courier. He put in long hours and pushed his way up the corporate ladder, finally becoming the CEO. After The Waltons, David Harper was unable to find work and worked as a crew member behind the scenes.
The Walton’s Mountain
The fictitious Walton family would have felt right at home in the tiny community of approximately 300 residents just 40 minutes southwest of Charlottesville, Va., in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains (which, for the show, was actually filmed on location in California). Walton’s Mountain Museum is the main attraction for most tourists to Schuyler.
The film “Walton’s Mountain” was shot in the Hollywood Hills, just south of the Warner Bros. studio. The studio lot also housed the outside of the family home. In 1991, an angry crew member set fire to the original Walton home. Visitors can walk through replicas of protagonist John-Boy’s room, the family living room and kitchen, as well as Ike Godsey’s business, inside the Walton’s Mountain museum. To be able to utilize it in the Waltons reunion special that aired in 1993, Warner Bros. opted to reconstruct the house.
The Fans Bought Earl Hamner’s House
Carole Johnson, a long-time Walton fan, has purchased Earl Hamner’s home, which served as the inspiration for the TV sitcom The Waltons. Earl Hamner Jr.’s childhood home was purchased by three long-time fans of the 1970s television sitcom, and it has been preserved for public viewings and will stay open to the public.
The house is in the town of Schuyler, Virginia. The set for the show was constructed in California. The author’s house cost $249,000 to buy. Hamner’s friend Ray Castro had been a long-time friend of his. He first visited Hamner’s childhood home over 20 years ago, promising to buy it someday. There are guided tours available for fans, as well as new exhibits that bridge the gap between the real house and the one represented on TV.
Flip Wilson’s Show Was Ended by The Waltons
Even though The Waltons has been off the air for nearly 40 years, it is still a family favorite. Shows that represented family life with core values were few and deemed out of style even at the time of their premiere. In reality, network officials were skeptical of the television series’ concept. They were proven incorrect, and The Flip Wilson Show, which aired on a competing network, was knocked off the number one spot.
When The Waltons began, the loud comedian’s talk show had been in second place in television ratings for four years. When it became a stunning success, it knocked Flip Wilson out of the top thirty and secured its seat in second place. Flip Wilson, rather than allowing his show to continue and suffer from the competition, announced that it would be their final season.
Ralph’s Children Assist Him in Getting a New Start
Ralph Waite was a difficult man with a convoluted life. He had a lot of unfortunate events in his life, but he still lived his life the way he wanted, so when he died at the age of 85, he left a legacy. According to reports, one of the reasons Waite stopped drinking was because of the show.
In an interview, Judy Norton, who played Mary Ellen Walton, the eldest daughter, claimed that the children in the cast eased their fictional father’s heart in real life and helped him finally overcome the inner demons he’d been carrying for years. “I sat at the kitchen table with all of you kids one day and felt like such a phony,” he remarked. She added, “He went to AA and got sober.”
Mary McDonough’s Life Was Saved by John Ritter
Erin Walton, who was often referred to as “the attractive one” of the Walton sisters, was played by Mary McDonough. After a while, Mary’s moniker began to wear her down. McDonough acquired an eating disorder as a result of external pressure to stay thin. McDonough’s dietary issues became so severe that she suffered an ulcer and her hair began to thin. Despite her best efforts to keep it hidden from the rest of the cast, John Ritter questioned her about it.
McDonough’s unhappiness was noticed by the late actor John Ritter, who guest starred in numerous seasons of the show in the mid-’70s. When McDonough tried to brush him off, he inquired what was wrong and wouldn’t accept “I’m OK” as an answer. “No, no, I want you to start keeping a journal,'” he added. Through journaling, McDonough was able to overcome the body image concerns that plagued her.
The Show Was Well Timed
The Waltons is one of the few TV shows that is known to have aired at the appropriate time. The country was during congressional proceedings when the episode first aired on television. The hearings were centred on television morals at the time, since many people believed that shows were not as conservative as they could have been.
When The Waltons first aired in September 1972, the divorce rate in the United States had already surpassed 30% and was on its way to 50%. The Waltons, as a family, according to Kami Cotler, were a direct response to that ideology. The Waltons was a wholesome sitcom based on old-fashioned family values, presented at a time when individuals were complaining that Hollywood lacked morals.