Actor. He will be best remembered for playing 'John Walton', patriarch of the family in the TV series "The Waltons" (1972 to 1981). Following high school, he served with the United States Marine Corps shortly after World War II. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Bucknell University and later attended Yale's Divinity School which resulted in his being ordained a Presbyterian minister. He landed a position as a religious editor for the publisher Harper and Row and took an interest in liberal politics. Acting also became an important part in Waite's life and after experiencing a role in the off-Broadway play "The Balcony" in 1960, he marked his Broadway debut in the production of "Marathon 33" (1963 to 1964). His break in motion pictures happened when he was cast for the part of Alibi in the Paul Newman vehicle "Cool Hand Luke" (1967). Although his career in entertainment was now ascending, his personal issues mounted. He had for a period struggled with alcohol abuse and in 1969, he lost his nine-year old daughter to leukemia. In 1970, he appeared opposite Jack Nicholson in "Five Easy Pieces." In 1977, he received an Emmy Award nomination for the mini-series "Roots" and in 1978, he earned an Emmy Award nomination for "The Waltons." He went on to star in the TV series "The Mississippi" (1984) and was a cast member in "Carnivale" (2003 to 2005) and the soap opera "The Days of Our Lives" (2009 to 2013). From 2008 until 2013, he had a recurring role as 'Jackson Gibbs' in the TV series "NCIS."
Bio by: C.S.