Entertainment Network:

Ralph Waite 411

BIRTHPLACE: White Plains, NY
YEARS ON SHOW: 2009 - present
MARITAL STATUS: Married to wife Linda East since December 4, 1982
CHILDREN: Waite had three daughters during his first marriage. His oldest daughter died of cancer at age 9 in 1964. He has a stepson, Liam White, who is also an actor.

Ralph Waite grew up in White Plains, NY, and was the oldest of five children. His father, Ralph H. Waite, was a construction engineer. After a tour in the Marines, Waite attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. While deciding what he wanted to do with his life, Waite worked several jobs, including time as a social worker. He also attended Yale University Divinity School for three years on scholarship and earned a master's degree.

At age 32, Waite began taking acting lessons. He first professional role was in an off-Broadway Production of The Balcony at New York's Circle in the Square in 1960. Later, he moved to Broadway for the production of Blues for Mister Charlie.

After appearing in several Broadway productions, Waite traveled to Los Angeles and was soon cast in the film, Cool Hand Luke. He appeared in several movies and prime-time television shows before landing his most famous role as John Walton Sr. on THE WALTONS in 1972. The actor, who is on hand to dispense religious advice in Salem, also guest-stars on the No. 1 CBS drama, NCIS as Mark Harmon's father.

Besides acting, Waite has also been active politically and ran for a Congressional seat in 1990 and 1998.

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