This photo released by HBO shows Ralph Waite as Reverend Norman Balthus in the TV series, "Carnivale" on HBO. (AP Photo/HBO, Doug Hyun)
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Ralph Waite, who played the good-hearted but soft-spoken patriarch on the 1970s U.S. television drama "The Waltons," died on Thursday in Southern California, the actor's manager said.Waite, who served in World War Two and was an ordained Presbyterian minister, is best known for the role of John Walton Sr. on the CBS drama about rural Appalachian life during the Great Depression.In recent years Waite had recurring roles in CBS crime drama "NCIS" and NBC daytime soap opera "Days of Our Lives".Waite, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress three times as a Democrat, also appeared in the 1992 drama film "The Bodyguard" and 1993 action thriller "Cliffhanger".
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