Ralph Waite Dies; Veteran TV Star Was 85

by at .  Updated at . Comments

Ralph Waite, a long-time television star best known as the patriarch of The Waltons in the 1970s, passed away today at the age of 85.

His family's accountant has confirmed that Waite died at his home in South Palm Desert.

Ralph Waite on NCIS

The Emmy-nominated star remained active on the small screen later into his life, recently recurring on Bones as Booth's grandpa and as Gibbs' father on NCIS.

Other credits on Waite's resume include Grey's Anatomy, CSI, The Practice and over 100 episodes of Days of Our Lives, on which he portrayed Father Matt.

The White Plains, New York native also had roles in such movies as Cool Hand Luke, Five Easy Pieces to The Bodyguard and Cliffhanger.

Tweeted Bones creator Hart Hanson soon after the news broke: “RATS! RATS! Bones pal Ralph Waite has passed away. RATS. A truly lovely man we liked a lot.”

Our condolences go out to his friends, family members and loved ones.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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sorry to hear about father mat realy injoyed him on days and the waltons have all of the family in our prayers


This is getting depressing so many death this year and its still a new year

@ Michael

Yea it has last 3 days a actor or actress has passed away


So sad. Loved him in NCIS and Carnivale.


I wonder if they will have something in the show about Gibb's father dying. I hope they do since Jackson has been such a big part of the show and his relationship with Gibbs has an ongoing part of the storyline of the show.


sad he was great actor I watched him in the waltons. I loved him as Gibbs father. I also liked him as father Matt on days of our lives