Blast from the Past: The Cast of ‘The Waltons’ Then and Now

Published on August 3, 2019
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If you are a fan of classic television then you probably spent time watching The Waltons. The Waltons was the story of a small community in rural Virginia throughout the Great Depression and WWII. The series launched in 1971 and it aired for a decade, spawning three spin off films. Today we are going to look at 20 iconic actors who worked on the show and where they are now!

Tom Bower

We are kicking our list off with Tom Bower, the man who played Dr. Curtis Willard for 27 episodes on The Waltons. Bower has had a wide and varied career since leaving the show, appearing in 166 credits. Bower appeared in Die Hard 2, The Hills Have Eyes, and even It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Tom Bower

Tom Bower

Peggy Rea

Rea starred on the show for a three year period as Rose Burton, appearing in 38 episodes. Rea passed away in 2011 after struggling mightily with her inability to stick to weight loss programs. Rea died of heart failure at the age of 89. Rea appeared in 97 projects until her passing, famously playing Jean Kelly in Grace Under Fire.

Peggy Rea

Peggy Rea

Victor Izay

Victor Izay scored the role of Dr. Matthew Vance for 11 episodes on the show. Izay has appeared in almost everything under the sun during his career, most recently dropping in for an episode on Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. Izay passed away at the age of 90 in 2014.

Victor Izay

Victor Izay

Robert Donner

Mr. Robert Donner appeared as Yancy Tucker for a brief period of time on show. However, his most famous role was in Cool Hand Luke as the character Boss Shorty. Donner had a wide and varied career with roles primarily coming in the ’60s and ’70s.

Robert Donner

Robert Donner

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Ronnie Claire Edward’s career never needed a weight loss program. The famous actress appeared in over 100 episodes of The Waltons as Corabeth Godsey. Edwards racked up 38 credits during her career with her final work being in 12 Miles of Bad Road.

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Ronnie Claire Edwards

John Ritter

How about that? Future Three’s Company star John Ritter landed a four season role as Reverend Matthew Fordwick. Ritter is arguably the most successful talent to come out of the show. Ritter would become a superstar until his untimely passing in 2003 at the age of 54. Ritter had won a Golden Globe before he passed away.

John Ritter

John Ritter

Keith Coogan

Keith Coogan played little Jeffrey Burton for 18 episodes toward the end of The Walton’s run. Coogan has stayed active in Hollywood with roles in hit ’80s and ’90s films like Toy Soldiers, Adventures in Babysitting, and The Fox and the Hound. It’s pretty safe to say that Keith Coogan left his mark on the the era with some memorable performances in some top notch projects.

Keith Coogan

Keith Coogan

Wilford Brimley

Brimley didn’t reach far out of his comfort zone when he played the role of Horace Brimley for 10 episodes on The Waltons. Brimley had a wild life before becoming an actor, working as a blacksmith and a rodeo rider. Brimley is active in Hollywood with roles on hit films like The Thing and Cocoon. Brimley has slowed down in recent years but that doesn’t mean that he has gone away.

Wilford Brimley

Wilford Brimley

Lewis Arquette

Lewis Arquette, father of the famous Arquette siblings, played JD Pickett on The Waltons for 11 episodes. Lewis Arquette would score roles in Best in Show, Tango & Cash, and the animated film Akira. Arquette would pass away in 2001. Arquette would even appear in the Scream franchise with his children before passing on. That had to have been quite the set!

Lewis Arquette

Lewis Arquette

Michael Learned

What a career. Michael Learned went from The Waltons to Emmy headlines. Learned starred as Olivia Walton for a 7 year run. She also scored leading roles in TV shows like General Hospital, Scrubs,and The Young and the Restless. She won her Primetime Emmy for her work on Nurse in 1981.

Michael Learned

Michael Learned

Will Geer

Geer played the venerable role of the Grandfather for 145 episodes on the show. Will Geer was a lovable member of the cast who spent a lot of his career working in Westerners like Salt of the Earth, Jeremiah Johnson, and In Cold Blood.

Will Geer

Will Geer

Joe Conley

Joe Conley would play the role of Ike Godsey for 172 episodes, finishing off the series and being there for the whole run. Conley passed away in 2013 at the age of 85 but before he passed he scored in some major projects. Conley was in Knight Rider, Whatever It Takes, and Cast Away.

Joe Conley

Joe Conley

Ralph Waite

The Waltons wouldn’t have worked without Ralph Waite’s portrayal of John Walton Sr. Waite was nominated for a pair of Primetime Emmy’s and he found plenty of work after the show had wrapped, becoming a series regular in NCIS and Days of Our Lives.

Ralph Waite

Ralph Waite

Earl Hamner Jr.

Earl Hamner played the Narrator for over 200 episodes on The Waltons. Hamner is a prolific writer with credits on the classic animated film, Charlotte’s Web. Hamner also scored writing credits on The Twilight Zone.

Earl Hamner Jr

Earl Hamner Jr

Kami Cotler

Cotler appeared in every single episode of the series as Elizabeth Walton — except one. Cotler didn’t have an acting career outside of The Waltons as she only appeared as her character after joining the production.

Kami Cotler

Kami Cotler

David W. Harper

Harper played the role of Jim Bob Walton admirably, showcasing his talents for every episode of the show. Harper only had 13 acting credits to his name in his career — almost all of them related to The Waltons. Harper is out of Hollywood but he still likes to stick around the show — appearing at conventions to sign autographs and talk to the fans.

David W Harper

David W Harper

Judy Norton

Norton has been one of the hardest working talents after The Waltons wrapped up. Judy has appeared on projects like Stargate SG-1, Bluff, and Bluff. Norton has a slew of projects slated for release in the next couple of years.

Judy Norton

Judy Norton

Eric Scott

Eric Scott played Ben Walton on The Waltons and that was, unfortunately, the peak of his career. Eric Scott appeared in 19 projects throughout his career though he appeared as Ben Walton in eight of those projects. Scott has found business success after his retirement from Hollywood and he currently works as the VP of a messenger based company in Hollywood, California.

Eric Scott

Eric Scott

Mary Beth McDonough

She played Erin Walton for the duration of The Waltons. After her run as Erin Walton, McDonough would take a hiatus from show business to deal with lupus. McDonough would make her return to television on the series Boston Legal and New Adventures of Old Christine.

Mary Beth Mcdonough

Mary Beth Mcdonough

Jon Walmsley

Jon Walmsley starred in the series as the family leader, Jason Walton. Jon Walmsley has sort of been everywhere in his career before his retirement from Hollywood in 2010. Walmsley appeared on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia while also doing voice over work for Winnie the Poohas Christopher Robin. Walmsley is also an incredible guitarist who has worked with some of the biggest names in showbusiness.

Jon Walmsley

Jon Walmsley