Wake up, John-Boy, it’s time to revisit the good ole days. The Waltons, an iconic television series set in the Depression-era, has left an indelible mark on the American collective consciousness. This heartwarming show radiated with family values, resonating with viewers who longed for the simplicity and wholesomeness it portrayed.
The Cast of ‘The Waltons’ Then and Now
What truly captivated audiences was the chemistry among the cast members, creating a welcoming and relatable atmosphere. The show beautifully depicted the struggles, joys, and aspirations of its characters, striking a chord with viewers seeking feel-good programming in a cynical world. Now, let’s take a closer look at what the cast of The Waltons is up to today!
1. David W. Harper (Jim Bob Walton)
David W. Harper, who portrayed Jim Bob Walton, the youngest boy in the family, ventured into acting through The Waltons. While his acting career didn’t extend much beyond the show, he did land a notable role in the 1985 comedy film Fletch. Today, David leads a private and spiritual life near Hollywood, contemplating a potential return to acting with an autobiography in the works.
2. Richard Thomas (John-Boy Walton)
Richard Thomas, known for his portrayal of John-Boy Walton, left the series after the fifth season. However, he continued to thrive as an actor, taking on various roles, including the popular miniseries Roots and starring in 48 episodes of The Americans. Richard’s recent work includes an untitled Sandra Bullock film and serving as the narrator in The Waltons’ newest revival.
3. Judy Norton (Mary Ellen Walton)
Judy Norton, beloved for her role as Mary Ellen Walton, played the eldest daughter with exceptional skill. Post-Waltons, she posed nude for Playboy to shed her wholesome image, subsequently taking on diverse acting projects. Judy remains active in the industry, starring in her web series The Quarantine Bunch and appearing in films like Motorvation.
4. Kami Cotler (Elizabeth Walton)
Kami Cotler, who portrayed the youngest child Elizabeth Walton, showcased her talent in The Waltons and appeared in other shows like Me and the Chimp. Following her time on the series, Kami transitioned away from acting and became a teacher near Schuyler, Virginia, where the real Waltons Mountain is located. She made a recent uncredited appearance in the TV movie Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane.
5. Jon Walmsley (Jason Walton)
Jon Walmsley, known for his character Jason Walton, impressed audiences with his musical contributions to the show. He continued his acting career and showcased his voice talent by originating the Christopher Robin voice for Winnie the Pooh cartoons. Jon’s focus shifted to his musical career, composing and publishing numerous albums, with his most recent being Goin’ To Clarksdale.
6. Ralph Waite (John Walton Sr.)
Ralph Waite, who portrayed John Walton Sr., found success both on and off the screen. The role of John Walton Sr. helped Waite overcome personal struggles with alcohol addiction, and he directed several episodes of the show. Ralph remained actively involved in acting, directing, and writing for almost four decades. He even ran for Congress three times, seeking to contribute on a national level.
7. Michael Learned (Olivia Walton)
Michael Learned, who played Olivia Walton, the matriarch of the family, gained widespread acclaim for her performance, earning three Emmy Awards. After The Waltons, she continued her acting career, appearing in shows like Nurse and taking on recent projects like Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. At 83 years old, Michael supports nurses and caregivers during the pandemic.
8. Eric Scott (Ben Walton)
Eric Scott, known for his mischievous portrayal of Ben Walton, no longer pursues acting regularly but participates in Walton reunions. Outside the spotlight, he manages a parcel delivery service and enjoys family life.
9. Will Geer (Zebulon “Grandpa” Walton)
Will Geer, a seasoned actor even before The Waltons, co-starred in the film Jeremiah Johnson alongside Robert Redford. His role as Grandpa Walton earned him critical acclaim, and he contributed his own ideas to the show. Geer’s impact on The Waltons endures, and his legacy remains an integral part of the series.
10. Ellen Corby (Esther “Grandma” Walton)
Ellen Corby, who portrayed Grandma Walton, had an extraordinary acting career with over 265 credits to her name. Her work on The Waltons earned her three Emmy Awards. Ellen appeared in various shows and even made an uncredited appearance in It’s A Wonderful Life.
11. Mary Elizabeth McDonough (Erin Walton)
Mary Elizabeth McDonough, who played Erin Walton, continued her acting journey after The Waltons. She appeared in shows like The Love Boat and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Despite battling lupus, she remains dedicated to her craft, starring in personal projects such as Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane and The Contested Plains.
The Waltons’ Legacy
The Waltons series left an enduring legacy, touching the hearts of viewers around the world. While some beloved cast members have passed away, their contributions to the show and the entertainment industry will always be remembered. The Waltons was a true testament to the power of family, love, and resilience, and it will forever hold a special place in the hearts of its fans.