Ralph White, the actor who played John Walton Snr in the phenomenally popular The Waltons has died aged 85.
"I’m devastated," said actress Michael Learned, 74, who played his wife Olivia. "He was my spiritual husband. We loved each other for over 40 years. He died a working actor at the top of his game. He was a loving mentor to many and a role model to an entire generation."
Mary McDonough, 52, who played his daughter Erin Walton, also regarded Ralph as family. 'I loved him so much," she said. "He was like a real father to me. Goodnight Daddy. I love you."
Ralph played the kindly father figure in the hit TV show, which was centred around a family of seven children in a rural Virginia community during the Great Depression and World War II. The series, which was a worldwide hit, ran for nine seasons and six movie sequels.
Emmy-award winning Ralph, who only began acting in his thirties, had more recently appeared in crime drama NCIS and soap opera Days of Our Lives.
He had a varied life aside from acting, which included work as a marine, a social worker, an ordained Presbyterian minister, a book editor and a three-time Democratic candidate for Congress.
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