Ralph Waite Ralph Waite

Ralph Waite, best known for playing The Waltons' beloved patriarch John, has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 86.

Waite passed away Thursday at his home in South Palm Desert, his family's accountant, Steve Gordon, told the magazine.

Waite was a Presbyterian minister before transitioning into acting. He starred on The Waltons from 1971 to 1981 and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance on the drama in 1978. He went on to reprise his role as John Walton in several subsequent TV movies. The cast of The Waltons most recently reunited in October on Good Morning America.

See celebrities we've lost this year 

Waite also earned an Emmy nomination in 1977 for his work in the acclaimed miniseries Roots. He enjoyed a long career on the small screen which also included notable roles on The Mississippi, Murder One and Carnivále. In recent years, Waite had recurred on NCIS and Bones as Gibbs' father and Booth's grandfather, respectively.

Waite's film credits include Cool Hand Luke, Five Easy Pieces, The Bodyguard and Cliffhanger.

He is survived by his third wife, Linda East.