The Waltons aired from 1972 to 1981, giving families around the country a decade of memories. Earl Hamner Jr. created the show, which was based on his book Spencer’s Mountain. John-Boy, the protagonist of the show, taught the audience important life lessons that are still applicable today. Take a trip down memory lane with these The Waltons facts, and learn what the actors who played the roles are up to now!.
Ben Walton – Eric Scott.
On The Waltons, Ben Walton had one of the most fascinating character arcs. He always seemed to get himself into trouble at inopportune moments, falling for any get-rich-quick scheme that came his way.
Ben was still reliant on his father and brother for assistance. Eric Scott, who made his acting debut in the film, played him. But, after the show ended, will he continue to act?.
On the next slide, you’ll find out.
Scott took a step back from acting fully.
After The Waltons ended, Eric Scott continued to behave infrequently. He mostly acted in made-for-TV movies and reunion specials, but he also appeared in the films The Loch Ness Horror and The Fall Guy.
Scott dropped out of acting for the most part. He found a new passion and launched Chase Messengers, a parcel service in Encino, California, which he still owns and operates today. He is the father of one daughter and has been married three times.
Elizabeth Walton, what happened to her? Continue reading to find out!.
Elizabeth Walton – Kami Cotler.
During the first season of the show, Elizabeth Walton’s character was six years old. She was the youngest of seven children in the Walton household. The boisterous young girl was depicted by Kami Cotler as extroverted and always loud.
As she grew older, the character became more adventurous and traveled across Europe. The writers wrapped up her arc of maturation in the show’s final episode by making her get engaged to her boyfriend.
Cotler is now a teacher.
Unlike the other cast members of The Waltons, Kami Cotler left the industry as soon as the show ended. She decided to follow a different passion: teaching. She married and had two children after settling down to a normal life.
Cotler became the co-director of the Ocean Charter School in 2004. She stayed for three years before leaving to start her own education consultancy firm. Cotler also volunteers to help save the world in her spare time.
Mary Ellen Walton – Judy Norton Taylor.
Mary Ellen Walton, the family’s oldest daughter, was played by Judy Norton Taylor. The character was created as a tomboy who loves baseball and is a typical whiny adolescent. Mary Ellen became wiser and smarter over time, eventually enrolling in nursing school before pursuing a career as a doctor.
Taylor made her acting debut in 1967 with Hole , followed by Felony Squad and The Waltons. She is listed as having appeared in 211 episodes, including reunion specials, on the show.
Taylor shifted her gaze to the stage.
After The Waltons , Judy Norton Taylor sought solace on the stage. She brought her talents to Canada and worked as a theater director, directing over 40 different productions. She even tried her hand at music for a short time.
Taylor decided to pose for an adult publication in 1985 in order to shed her “family” portrait. She received a lot of negative press as a result of her decision, and she later confessed to regretting it.
After a health scare, Ellen Corby has returned.
Ellen Corby portrayed Grandma Esther in The Waltons, . Unfortunately, after suffering a stroke, the celebrated actress was forced to leave the show. Many fans assumed she would never act again, so when she returned to the show, they were surprised.
Corby, who received several Emmys for her role on the show, was chastised by fans who thought she was putting her health at risk by returning. Corby’s cast both defended and protested against the actress.
Find out who was originally cast in the role of Olivia Walton after the jump!.
Olivia Walton was supposed to be played by Patricia Neal.
Patricia Neal played Olivia Walton in the The Waltons movie introduction Homecoming: A Christmas Story,. No one expected the film to become a television series at the time, which proved to be a challenge for the star.
Producers were worried that Neal wasn’t well enough to manage the shooting schedule of a weekly series when CBS greenlit The Waltons. As a result, they decided to replace her with Michael Learned, who turned out to be a good fit.
The Show Was A Huge Success.
CBS may have greenlit The Waltons as a result of the film’s popularity, but the network still feels like they made a big mistake. Executives were so convinced that the show would fail that they pitted it against the most popular shows on television.
Surprisingly, The Waltons outperformed the competition in the ratings, and CBS had a hit on their hands. Unfortunately, as you’ll see, this reality didn’t make the studio any less frugal in terms of finances.
Erin Walton – Mary Beth McDonough.
Erin Walton, the family’s second-oldest daughter, was played by Mary Beth McDonough in The Waltons. Throughout the story, she looked up to her older sister, Mary, despite the fact that the two often fought.
Erin advanced from a part-time employee to an executive producer as the series progressed. She was also the school principal when the show’s final episode aired. Her story was one of the most well-rounded in the entire series.
McDonough’s Television Career Persisted.
After The Waltons ended, McDonough continued to get television roles. She went on to play major roles in ER, Will and Grace and Boston Legal. She was also a part of The New Adventures of Old Christine.
McDonough’s most recent credited appearance was in the 2018 film Amateur. Writing is another of her passions, and she has already written one book, Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane. . She has three children and has been married twice. is a subset of .
Continue reading to find out what David Harper did after the finale of The Waltons !.
Jim-Bob Walton – David Harper.
The Walton family’s second youngest child was played by David Harper. He was born as one half of a twin, but his other half died shortly after birth. He was also the family’s only child who was born in a hospital.
Harper had no idea how important Jim-Bob would become when he first agreed to play him. As previously stated, The Waltons began as a television movie before being greenlit for a full-fledged series.
Harper now prefers to keep her personal life private.
David Harper didn’t make much of an attempt to continue acting after The Waltons finished. He made cameo appearances in reunion specials, the mini-series The Bule and The Gray,, and the film Fletch, but that was it.
Harper announced in 2011 that he went to business school after he quit acting. Though he prefers to keep his personal life private, he has admitted that reading, writing, music, and history are among his interests.
John Walton Sr. – Ralph Waite.
Ralph Waite’s John Walton Sr. was the prototypical “tough man.” He toiled away to ensure that he could provide for his children and ultimately send them to college.
Waite didn’t begin acting until he was in his 50s, but he went on to have a successful career. Aside from his captivating performance as John Sr., he also appeared in the classic film Cool Hand Luke.
Due to budgetary concerns, Ralph Waite lost his job.
The Waltons was supposed to end after eight seasons, so CBS’ decision to order a ninth was unexpected. Producers faced a difficult decision due to budget constraints and a need for additional funds.
One of the show’s highest-paid stars had to be shot to make room in the budget. Ralph Waite was the actor in question. Waite decided to appear in several reunion specials despite not being a part of the final season.
Ralph Waite had three marriages.
Ralph Waite died in 2014, which was a sad loss. He died at the age of 86, leaving behind an impressive Hollywood legacy. He was used in 98 episodes of Days of our Lives and never stopped working. On NCIS., he was also a recurring character.
Waite married three times and had three daughters during his life. He lived a full life and resembled the character he played on television for a decade in several respects.
Jason Walton should not be overlooked! Just ahead, find out what happened to the actor who played him!.
Jason Walton – Jon Walmsley.
In The Waltons, Jon Walmsley portrayed Jason Walton, a character who has a close relationship with his older brother, John-Boy Walton. Surprisingly, the two characters were created as polar opposites, with Jason being introverted before finding music and breaking free.
Walmsley made his on-screen debut in Combat! before being cast in The Waltons. Before he got his big break, he continued to play small roles in shows like My Three Sons.
Walmsley Pursued His Musical Dreams.
Jon Walmsley has been busy with a number of projects since the end of The Waltons. He continued to act while still pursuing his artistic ambitions. He was most famous for being a member of The Ravers, a vintage British rock band.
Walmsley has also collaborated with artists such as David Koz and Brian Setzer. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the actor/musician returned to perform in Waltons television specials, demonstrating his admiration for the show that launched his career.
Olivia Walton – Michael Learned.
On The Waltons, Michael Learned played Olivia Walton. She had only been in the workforce for a few years when she landed her career-defining job. She made her acting debut in Wojeck in 1968, appearing in two episodes. She was featured in 168 episodes of The Waltons!.
Olivia Walton, a mother of seven, was thought to be the ideal foil for Jon Walton. He was the classic “tough guy,” while she was soft-spoken.
Learned is a person who never stops learning.
Learned found plenty of ways to keep herself occupied after The Waltons finished. She appeared in The Young and the Restless and also wrote a memoir about her battles with addiction.
Learned managed to marry and raise three children in between working and writing. Nothing is slowing down for the longtime soft-spoken caretaker of one of America’s most beloved TV families now that he has five grandchildren to enjoy.
Coming up, we’ll announce who was meant to be John Sr. initially!.
Henry Fonda is an actor who is well-known for his John Sr. Was Almost Played.
CBS and the producers were looking for a major actor to play John Walton Sr. when the show was first being developed. They thought Henry Fonda would be ideal for the part and even offered him the part.
“What do you want me for?” Fonda was quoted as saying after seeing the pilot. The whole family is the center of attention! You don’t need my assistance.” After nine seasons, it turned out that Fonda was right.
The Waltons was billed as a comedy by some viewers.
During the time when The Waltons was produced, the majority of shows with the family’s last name in the title were comedies. The Waltons was a thriller, and some viewers were confused by the title.
Of course, once word got out about how good the show was, no one seemed to mind the muddled title. This also explains why the title of the film Homecoming: A Christmas Story does not include the family’s surname.
John-Boy is a character created by Richard Thomas.
Richard Thomas portrayed John-Boy, aka John Walton Jr., in The Waltons. He was the show’s most significant character, as the events were told from his perspective as the narrator.
Thomas was a stage actor before being cast in The Waltons. When he was eight years old, he made his Broadway debut in Sunrise at Campobello . A decade later, he was cast as John-Boy Jr.
In The Americans, Thomas was featured.
After The Waltons ended, Thomas continued to act. He was also interested in working behind the scenes. He directed five episodes of the TV show while still working on it. He developed a career as an actor and producer over the years, eventually landing a role in another high-profile television series, The Americans.
On the show The Americans, Thomas played Frank Gaad, a spy living in the United States. The show lasted six seasons and won several awards.
A Surprising Link Between Father and Son.
Ralph Waite and Richard Thomas had previously shared similar roles before being cast as father and son in The Waltons. The actors portrayed father and son in Last Summer three years before the show premiered.
Last Summer was a critically acclaimed film released in 1969 that followed the adventures of a young man coming of age. The film was based on the same-named book, and one of the actors was nominated for an Academy Award.
Michael Discovered He Had Issues With Substances.
As previously mentioned, actress Michael Learned battled drug abuse in her early years as a performer. She was said to have had a stash in her pocket during her audition. She frankly describes her decision to become sober in her 30s in her autobiography.
Surprisingly, the character she played on The Waltons would not have approved of her way of life. On the program, Olivia Walton was always talking about the dangers of alcoholic beverages.
Just ahead, learn a surprising secret about Jon Walmsley’s birthplace!.
Jon Walmsley was born in the United Kingdom.
You’d never guess actor Jon Walmsley was not born in the United States if you watched The Waltons. He was born in the English county of Lancashire. He didn’t have to mask any accents when playing his character.
Walmsley was born in England, but his parents immigrated to the United States when he was young enough to avoid developing an accent. It’s a good thing, too, because the show wouldn’t be the same without him!.
Pennies were snatched by the production studio.
You’d think that with a nine-season popular show, plenty of money would have been invested to keep everybody happy. That wasn’t the case with The Waltons. Ralph Waite was fired after season eight to save money at the production house, which was famously cheap.
Other tales depict gatherings that are devoid of any sort of refreshments. Michael Learned even recalled receiving a bouquet of flowers for her work on the show when her co-stars received none.
Ralph Waite’s life may have been saved by the show.
Ralph Waite struggled with alcohol issues before being cast in The Waltons. He was able to turn his life around because of his love for his fellow castmates and the love they gave him in return.
He made the decision while sitting around the dinner table with his “girls,” and he realized he needed to make a change in his life at that moment.
Ralph and Michael had a brief relationship.
The chemistry between Michael Learned and Ralph Waite was undeniable while filming The Waltons. They were not only magnetic on-screen, but they were also practically inseparable when the cameras were not rolling.
Both were single at the time and wanted to give each other a chance in real life. When they met outside of the set, the fireworks were missing, and the uncomfortable experience led them to decide to remain single for the sake of the “family.”.
Another Popular Show Featured The Waltons House.
After the series finale, the house where The Waltons was shot was used for many other shows and films. Gilmore Girls was one of the most well-known shows to use the building.
The Waltons’ house was transformed into the Dragonfly Inn for the exhibition. While it was revived for the Warner Brothers series, it should still be recognisable to fans of the original show.
The show’s creator drew inspiration from his own family.
Earl Hamner Jr. drew inspiration for The Waltons from his own family. He was the youngest of seven siblings and grew up around the same time period as the show.
Spencer’s Mountain., the novel on which the show is based, was also written by Hamner Jr. The novel was published in 1961, and two years later, it was adapted into a film of the same name. Despite this, the show that lasted for nine years is the one that is remembered the most.
The Timeline of the Show Was Inaccurate.
To keep track of the timeline, most television programs use something called a Bible. This involves big events and character birthdays. Since some events were mixed up, The Waltons must not have used a Bible.
One of the most obvious timeline inconsistencies emerged in the episode where John-Boy attempted to enlist in the military. He is turned down because of his age, but he was 19 in the show, so he was eligible to enlist.
Another actor was cast in place of Richard Thomas.
Richard Thomas was replaced in the cast of The Waltons after the eighth season by Robert Wightman. For the final two seasons of the show, the new actor played John-Boy, which puzzled viewers.
But why were the viewers so perplexed? Actors are often replaced in television shows. Richard Thomas continued to make guest appearances on the show as various characters in the case of The Waltons. The replacement of the cast was most likely due to financial constraints.
Ralph officiated at Jon Walmsley’s wedding.
In the film The Waltons, Jon Walmsley and Ralph Waite played father and son, and according to all sources, they had a close relationship in real life. Since they were so close, when Jon got married, he asked Ralph to be the officiant.
Everyone from the cast was present at the wedding, demonstrating their undying love for one another. Who knows whether the show would have been as good if there hadn’t been such a strong bond between the cast and crew.
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