'Waltons' patriarch Ralph Waite dies at 85

LOS ANGELES -- Ralph Waite, who played the father in TV's hit series "The Waltons," has died.

Waite's manager, Alan Mills, says the actor died midday Thursday in the Palm Springs area. He was 85.

Waite was best known for his role as the patriarch in the 1970s series "The Waltons," but he had remained a working actor.

Mills says Waite appeared recently in recurring roles on shows including "NCIS"-- as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs' father Jackson Gibbs --and "Days of Our Lives."

Nearly four years ago, Waite was filming in Akron.

25 Hill, a 2011 drama film, was written and directed by Corbin Bernsen about the All-American Soap Box Derby, the championships of which are held each August in Akron.

It starred Nathan Gamble, Corbin Bernsen, Maureen Flannigan, and Waite.


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