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Farewell to Ralph Waite: Forever Remembered as Walton Patriarch

Ralph Waite, the actor who played the father on The Waltons, has passed away.

He was 85.

According to nytimes.com, his manager, Alan Mills, confirmed the death but gave no other details, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Waite lived in Palm Springs, Calif.

His character on The Waltons was the personification of a loving husband and father, big-hearted and wise, with a bit of a temper, a very decent and courageous human being, a character so revered that:

In 2004, a poll of TV Guide readers of the “50 Greatest Dads of All Time” rated him No. 3, behind only Bill Cosby’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” and Lorne Greene’s Ben Cartwright on “Bonanza.”

Ralph Waite was more than an actor, however.

He was at various times a Marine, a social worker, an ordained Presbyterian minister who served two congregations, a book editor and a three-time Democratic candidate for Congress from California.

R.I.P. to a fine man of many talents .

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