The Waltons: where are they today?

Who can forget The Waltons? We welcomed them into our homes and into our hearts in 1972 and were treated to nine seasons of wholesome family entertainment courtesy of John, Olivia, Grandma and Grandpa Walton, John-Boy, Mary Ellen and the rest. But where is the cast of the classic TV show today?

Ralph Waite (John Walton)

After The Waltons, Waite remained on the small screen with recurring roles on Days of Our LivesNCIS and Bones. He also attempted to enter the political world, running for the US Congress as a Democratic candidate three times in the ‘90s but was unsuccessful. Waite sadly passed away in 2014 at the age of 85.

Michael Learned (Olivia Walton)

The three-time Emmy Award-winning matriarch of the Walton family, 77-year-old Learned left the show in 1979 reportedly due to a desire to avoid typecasting. Her next move was a starring spot in the short-lived but well-received drama Nurse, for which she won another Emmy. Since, she has appeared in soap operas such as General Hospiral and The Young and the Restless.

Richard Thomas (John-Boy Walton)

Now 64, after leaving The Waltons in 1977, Thomas rejoined the cast for three Waltons TV movies. He starred in the horror film You’ll Like My Mother alongside Patty Duke and appeared in Stephen King’s It before returning to a mostly TV-based career, landing roles in dozens of TV movies and series including Law & Order: SVU

Jon Walmsley (Jason Walton)

After The Waltons, the now-60-year-old Walmsley mostly gave up his acting career, save for a few guest appearances and roles in The Waltons movies. The talented multi-instrumentalist moved to focus more on music, composing, song writing and producing. He has worked with artists like Gregg Allman, John Mayall and Al Jardine of The Beach Boys. 

Judy Norton Taylor (Mary Ellen Walton)

Post-The Waltons, Judy (now aged 58) was uncomfortable with her childlike perception despite being in her 20s, and in an effort to revamp her image posed for Playboy magazine. Aside from The Waltonsmovies, Norton Taylor has not returned to television, instead launching a chain of dinner theatres with her husband Robert Graves and trying to start a music career.

Mary Elizabeth McDonough (Erin Elizabeth Walton) 

McDonough, 55, has mostly abandoned acting after contracting the autoimmune disease lupus. She has, however, returned to appear in all of The Waltonsmovies and has had guest spots on shows including General HospitalWill & Grace and The New Adventures of Old Christine. She wrote about her experiences on the show in the book Lessons From the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton.

Were you a fan of The Waltons? What was your favourite show of the ‘70s? Tell us in the comments below!

This article was written in partnership with Over60.