Ralph Waite Dies; Veteran TV Star Was 85

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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+.