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John-Boy Walton

As the eldest son of the Walton family John-Boy carries much of the responsibility of helping his parents around the home and with looking after his younger siblings which at times he can be a bit resentfull of. John-Boy has a passion for writing. He writes about his family and experiences every night in his journal. At the age of 18 he enters Boatwright University to study writing. To make ends meet he works as a school librarian. By 21 he has bought his own printing press and begins to publish a regional paper called "The Blue Ridge Chronicle". Later that year, his first novel is published and he makes the choice to leave the mountain for New York to pursue his writing career. During World War II while writing for "Stars and Stripes"magazine he becomes lost at sea. After suffering a bout of amnesia John-Boy returns to Europe and continues to write for the "Stars and Stripes" After the war he goes back to New York and submits a war novel to his publisher which gets rejected. He then finds a career in television where he serves as a news anchor. He meets Janet Gilchrist who is an editor for Harper's magazine. The two are married on Walton's Mountain.

Featured storylines  
"The Hunt" (s1-ep4) "The Typewriter" (s1-ep5)
"The Literary Man" (s1-ep11) "The Actress" (s1-ep15)
"The Love Story" (s1-ep17) "The Deed" (s1-ep20)
"The Townie" (s1-ep23) "The Journey" (s2-ep1)
"The Odyssey" (s2-ep2) "The Chicken Thief" (s2-ep6)
"The Thanksgiving Story" (s2-ep10) "The Triangle" (s2-ep14)
"The Honeymoon" (s2-ep16) "The Graduation" (s2-ep22)
"The Car" (s2-ep24) "The First Day" (s3-ep2)
"The Thoroughbred" (s3-ep3) "The Ring" (s3-ep6)
"The System" (s3-ep7) "The Marathon" (s3-ep9)
"The Book" (s3-ep10) "The Job" (s3-ep11)
"The Beguiled" (s3-ep17) "The Statue" (s3-ep21)
"The Woman" (s3-ep23) "The Sermon" (s4-ep1)
"The Breakdown" (s4-ep6) "The Wing-Walker" (s4-ep7)
"The Emergence" (s4-ep9) "The Abdication" (s4-ep11)
"The Big Brother" (s4-ep19) "The Fledgling" (s4-ep23)
"The Collision" (s4-ep24) "The First Edition" (s5-ep1)
"The Fire Storm" (s5-ep5) "The Cloudburst" (s5-ep8)
"The Hero" (s5-ep18) "The Inferno" (s5-ep19)
"The Heartbreaker" (s5-ep20) "The Achievement" (s5-ep24)
"The Return" (s6-ep20) "The Revelation" (s6-ep21)

  John-Boy's Love Interests:

Marcia Woolery
Jenny Pendleton
Selena Linville
Daisy Garner
Madeline Bennett
Bobby Strom
Simone Berringer
Jane Schuyler
Janet Gilcrest

Watch a short video on the tumultuous relationship between John-Boy and Marcia Woolery that we made.

Robert Wightman

The character of John-Boy was portrayed in seasons 8, 9 and the 3rd movie special, by actor Robert Wightman. While many will say that he did not fill the shoes of the iconic character created by Richard Thomas it could be argued that during the last 2 seasons as the last of the original adult family members left the show Robert Wightman's portrayal was one of the last nuanced strengths of the whithering series.

Robert's Wikipedia page
Movie and TV lisitngs on IMDB

Richard Thomas

Born: June 13, 1951 in New York City

Richard Thomas has been acting since the age of 7. His parents were with the New York City Ballet and owned the New York School of Ballet. They gave Richard a foundation of dance which is evident in his physical acting. By the time he was cast in The Homecoming as John-Boy at the age of 20 he was already an experienced veteran of stage and screen. His Broadway debut at the age of 7 in Sunrise at Campobello would pave the way for his long illustrious career.

Some of Richard's other dramatic work includes the 1974 TV movie of The Red Badge of Courage, Roots II: The Next Generations which included his Walton co-stars Hal Williams and Lynn Hamilton, the Michael Douglas movie The Wonder Boys and more recently he joined the cast of the Keri Russell FX series The Americans.

Did you know:

  • John-Boy's nickname was "Sprocket" when he was growing up. Waltons creator Earl Hamner's nickname was "Spark Plug".
  • Richard's middle name is Earl, which makes one wonder what Earl Hamner thought of that?


Further Reading:


While many fans enjoy the episode that features the young love that John-Boy discovers with Jenny Pendleton in The Love Story it may surprise some to know that off-screen these two actors shared a romantic relationship of their for short time.

You can read an article here that features photos and documents their break-up.

On February 15, 1975 at the age of 23 Richard married his first wife, Alma Gonzalas.They had 4 children together.



After The Waltons

Richard Thomas on the Mike Douglas Show

From July 18th to the 22nd 1977, Richard Thomas co-hosted The Mike Douglas show.

Monday's Guests - actor Jack Klugman, impressionist Fred Travalena, singer Jose Greco, Broadway's Annie star Andrea McArdle with cast members Robyn Finn, Shelly Bruce, Donna Graham, Diana Barrows, Janine Ruane and Danielle Brisbois and Richard's wife Alma Thomas with their son Richard Jr.

Tuesday's Guests - actor Vincent Gardenia, Country singer-actor Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans with the Sons of the Pioneers, a Western singing group and author Beatrice Lydecker.


Wednesday's Guests - Star Wars cast actors Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, Baseball players Pete Rose and Tom Seaver, singer Billy Paul and Mummenschanz a mime group.

Thursday's Guests - Richard's sister Bronwyn, Country singer Tammy Wynette, actor Peter Isacksen, comic Stan Kann, a Hollywood star closeup on the set of Fire Sale with cast Alan Arkin, Vincent Gardenia, Kay Medford and Producer Marvin Worth and Dr. Michael DeBakey.

Friday's Guests - director Otto Preminger, comedian Stan Kann, actor Patrick Wayne and actress Taryn Power stars of Sinbad & the Eye of the Tiger, rock group Graham Central Station and Mrs. Edward Slovik wife of the American soldier executed for desertion.

Looking at the guest list you will notice an absence of Walton cast members. When Ron Howard co-hosted a few weeks before, he had Henry Winkler and a few other Happy Day's cast members on. My thought is though that Richard was looking to make a break between himself and the show and this was a way to be viewed as his own personality without being pulled back into the John-Boy persona. Richard had however invited his wife, son and sister on as guests.

The clip below features Star Wars cast members, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamil.


Read more about this episode

Richard Thomas made some Minute Maid Ads which featured his family and triplets. Here are 3 ads from 1984, 1985 and 1986.

In 2017 Richard Thomas was nominated for his first Tony Award for his role in the Broadway production of "The Little Foxes" He made his Broadway debut at the age of seven, starring opposite James Earl Jones in "Sunrise at Campobello". Now almost sixty years later, the stage and screen star is giving the performance of a lifetime as Horace Giddens in "The Little Foxes". Watch as he chats with Richard Ridge about his first Tony nomination!

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