Ralph Waite 1928-2014, age 85. He died peacefully of age-related illnesses. He was an American actor, voice artist, and political activist, best known for his role as John Walton, Sr. on The Waltons, which he occasionally directed. In addition, Waite appeared in many guest roles on numerous television series, most recently in a recurring role in NCIS as Jackson Gibbs, the father of Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
Exclusive: NCIS Eyeing a Season-Ending Send- Off for the Late Ralph Waite's Jackson Gibbs
'NCIS' finale to pay tribute to Ralph Waite - the concluding episode hinges on Gibbs learning of his father's death and feeling torn between staying on a case and going home for funeral preparations. NCIS Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll), who lost his wife a year ago, urges him away from D.C. and toward Stillwater. The episode will contain brief footage of Waite from previous episodes, along with newly shot flashbacks showing the two as young father and son.