Richard Thomas

Armed with a lifetime of talent and training with which to battle against Hollywood typecasting, actor Richard Thomas would, nonetheless, be forever identified with John-Boy, the earnest eldest son of "The Waltons" (CBS, 1972-1981). Born into a New York show business family, he made his Broadway debut at the age of seven, and later on film opposite Paul Newman in "Winning" (1969). The 20-year-old actor was already gaining modest notoriety as a gifted young star in films like "Last Summer" (1971) by the time his leading role in "The Waltons" made him a bona fide television star. When Thomas left the show in 1977 in order to pursue other roles, it proved difficult to shed the lingering image of the somewhat naïve John-Boy. Campy genre work in films like Roger Corman's "Battle Beyond the Stars" (1980) was balanced out by more rewarding efforts on stage in such Broadway productions as "Fifth of July." Thomas garnered accolades for his titular role in the music biopic "Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story" (NBC, 1983) and as a man haunted by a childhood terror in "It" (ABC, 1990). Continuing to mix television work with his theatrical endeavors, he took part in such lauded stage productions as "The Stendhal Syndrome" in 2004 and "Race" in 2009. Decades after leaving Waltons Mountain, Thomas appeared both content with his television legacy and determined to continually seek out new challenges as an actor.