Los Angeles: Actor Ralph Waite, best known for his role as the father John Walton on 1970`s hit TV show `The Waltons`, has passed away at the age of 85.
According to his accountant Steve Gordon, the actor died yesterday at his home in South Palm Desert, said The Hollywood Reporter.
Waite, who was nominated for two Emmys, one for his role on `The Waltons` and another for miniseries `Roots`, was most recently seen in recurring roles on `NCIS`, `Bones` and `Days of Our Lives`.
Born in White Plains, New York, Waite, who graduated from Bucknell University had worked as a social worker, religious editor for Harper & Row, and Presbyterian minister before turning to acting. He studied for three years at Yale and earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree.
The actor finally began to study acting at age 30, making his professional New York debut in a 1960 production of `The Balcony`.
His long history in television began in 1954, when he hosted a show called `Look Up and Live` on CBS.
Waite appeared in a number of feature films, including classics `Cool Hand Luke` in 1967 and `Five Easy Pieces` in 1970.
He also appeared in Kevin Costner-Whitney Houston starrer `The Bodyguard` in 1992, Sylvester Stallone`s `Cliffhanger` in 1993, `Sioux City` in 1994 and John Sayles` `Sunshine State`.
Waite is survived by his third wife, Linda East, and three children from his first marriage.