Jun. 13th, 1951
New York City, New York, USA
5' 8 1/2
Richard Thomas' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2009 - Taking Woodstock
2000 - Wonder Boys
1980 - Battle Beyond the Stars
1969 - Last Summer
Guest TV Roles
Dr. Stephen Ledbetter
John 'Chill' Chilton
Professor Dwayne Cravitz
Richard Earl Thomas (born June 13, 1951) is an American actor, best known as budding author John-Boy Walton in the CBS drama The Waltons.
Thomas was born Richard Earl Thomas in New York City, the son of Barbara (née Fallis) and Richard S. Thomas. His parents were dancers with the New York City Ballet and owned the New York School of Ballet. He attended The Allen Stevenson School and The McBurney School in Manhattan. Thomas was seven when he made his Broadway debut in Sunrise at Campobello (1958) playing John Roosevelt, son of future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Thomas soon began his television career. In 1959, he appeared in the presentation of Ibsen's A Doll's House with Julie Harris, Christopher Plummer and Hume Cronyn. He then began acting in daytime TV, appearing in soap operas such as The Edge of Night (as Ben Schultz, 1961) and As the World Turns (as Tom Hughes, 1966–67), which were broadcast from his native Manhattan.
Thomas received his first major roles in film, appearing in the 1969 motion pictures Winning with Paul Newman, about auto racing, and Last Summer with Barbara Hershey, a summer coming-of-age movie.
He became nationally recognized for his portrayal of John "John-Boy" Walton, Jr., in the 1970s TV series The Waltons, which was based on the real life of writer Earl Hamner, Jr. He appeared in the 1971 pilot, The Homecoming, and then played the role continuously in 122 episodes until 1978. Thomas left the series and his role was taken over by Robert Wightman, but Thomas returned to the role in three Waltons TV movies, 1993-97. Thomas won an Emmy for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series in 1972. He enrolled in Columbia College of Columbia University as a member of the class of 1973 but left after his junior year.
In 1972 he played against type as murderer and rapist Kenneth Kinsolving in You'll Like My Mother opposite Patty Duke. He played the lead roles of Private Henry Fleming in the 1974 TV movie, The Red Badge of Courage, and Paul Baumer in the 1979 TV movie, All Quiet on the Western Front. In further TV movies, he played the title role in the biopic Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story (1983), Will Mossup in Hobson’s Choice (1983), Henry Durrie in The Master of Ballantrae (1984), Martin Campbell in Final Jeopardy (1985) and William Denbrough in Stephen King’s It (1990).
Later career In 1980, Thomas made his first Broadway appearance in more than twelve years when he stepped in as a replacement in Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July. In 1993, he played the title role in a stage production of Richard II.
Thomas has appeared in a quartet of performances at Hartford Stage in Connecticut: Hamlet (1987), Peer Gynt (1989), Richard II (1994), and Tiny Alice (1996).
In 1997 and 1998 he appeared on Touched by an Angel.
In the 2000s he appeared on the New York stage in The Public Theater's production of As You Like It (2005), Michael Frayn's Democracy on Broadway (2004) and the Primary Stages' production of Terrence McNally's The Stendhal Syndrome (2004).
He has served as national chairman of the Better Hearing Institute and hosted the PAX TV series, It's a Miracle.
In 2006 Thomas began a national tour of Reginald Rose's acclaimed play, Twelve Angry Men, along with George Wendt at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, playing the pivotal role of Juror Eight opposite Wendt's Juror One.
Thomas provided the voiceover in Mercedes-Benz, BB&T and Aleve commercials. In the summer of 2008, Thomas made commercials for the Zaxby's restaurant chain.
In 2009-2010 Richard Thomas was featured on Broadway in Race, a play by David Mamet. The production was directed by Mamet and included James Spader, David Alan Grier and Kerry Washington. In February and March 2011 he will star at the New York Public Theater in Timon of Athens.
Thomas has been married twice. He married Alma Gonzales on February 14, 1975, and divorced in 1993. Thomas married Georgiana Bischoff on November 20, 1994.
He and Alma had one son, Richard Francisco, born 1976 and triplet daughters Barbara Ayala, Gweneth Gonzales and Pilar Alma, born August 26, 1981. He and Georgiana have one son, Montana James Thomas, born July 28, 1996. Georgiana had two daughters from previous marriages, Brooke Murphy and Kendra Kneifel, whom Richard Thomas treats as his own children. Kendra Kneifel changed her name to Kendra Thomas.
- Served as the host of the University of South Carolina's Ecumenical Service of the Family and introduced His Holiness Pope John Paul II.
- Attended Columbia University.
- Speaks some Chinese, after changing his major at Columbia from Literature to Chinese. He changed his major from Literature to Chinese because he attended Columbia during the time that the Vietnam War was underway and as well as the controversy surrounding it. He was frustrated with the anti-war demonstrations and how they were interupting his educations and he felt the best way to avoid such disturbances was to change his major to Chinese.
- He is the father of triplets - Barbara Ayala, Gweneth Gonzales and Pilar Alma.
- Uses two tiny hearing aids due to the 50% hearing loss, as a result of otosclerosis (a nerve disorder).
- He first acted professionally at age seven; appeared as a cast replacement on the Broadway stage as John Roosevelt, one of the children of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, in drama "Sunrise at Campobello."
- Appeared in Stephen King's movie It and later (2006) in another adaptation of Stephen Kings short story Nightmares and Dreamscapes, "Autopsy Room Four."
- Richard Thomas left 'The Waltons' (qv) at the end of the fifth season because he only signed a 5 year contract. He planned to pursue other acting opportunities. "The Achievement" was his last episode but he did made a comeback in Season 6 and the last 3 family TV reunion.