Ralph Waite, the actor best known as the father on the hit television show The Waltons, died Thursday. He was 85. His manager, Alan Mills, confirmed the news.
The Waltons aired on CBS from 1972 until 1981.
It was about a family in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains in the Depression-era 1930s.
Waite also played John Walton Sr. in many Waltons TV movies. More recently, he had a recurring role on the CBS hit drama NCIS as Jackson Gibbs, the father of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon.
Waite didn't begin studying acting until he was 30 and made his professional debut in 1960.
He also ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 1990 and 1998.