Turner Classic Movies
Thomas, Richard
Written by Diana Saenger   

richard_thomas_bw_short225.jpgRichard Earl Thomas, born in New York City, NY, June 13, 1951, stared acting at age of seven. The son of Richard and Barbara Thomas, who were both dancers with the New York City Ballet and were owners of the New York School of Ballet, he was destined to be an actor. His first role was his Broadway debut in Sunrise at Campobello (1958) as John Roosevelt, son of future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

From the time that curtain went down, Thomas went on to make more than 90 film and TV appearances as of 2009 as well as many roles on the theatrical stage. Some of his feature film roles include: The Wonder Boys (2000 ), The Todd Killings(1971), Winning (1969) and Last Summer(1969).

Among his many TV movie and miniseries credits are All Quiet on the Western Front, The Red Badge of Courage, Johnny Belinda, Living Proof: The Hank Williams Story, Roots: The Next Generation, The Christmas Secret, Wild Hearts and Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King.

A qualified and precise actor, it's no wonder Thomas is often invited to make guest appearances on popular TV series. Some of those include: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Just Cause, Century City, and Touched by an Angel.

Thomas also enjoys his career as a performer on the theatrical stage and has charmed audiences with his appearances in such plays as Fifth of July, The Seagull, Tiny Alice, Richard II, Richard III, Hamlet, and Democracy, A Naked Girl on the Apian Way, and the Broadway revival of 12 Angry Men. Most recently Thomas appeared in Terrence McNally's play Unusual Acts of Devotion, both in Philadelphia and the La Jolla Playhouse in California.

walton_family_color_240.jpgAmong all of his esteemed work, Thomas is best know and remembered for his role as John Boy in The Walton's TV series that ran from 1972 to 1981. The show was set during the 1930s and €˜40s, during the Great Depression, going through to World War 2. The Waltons lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and each episode about their lives unfolds through the eyes of John Boy, the oldest son of John (Ralph Waite) and Olivia Walton (Michael Learned), who has dreams of college and becoming a writer. Other siblings were played by David H. Harper, Eric Scott, Mary Beth Donough, Jon Walmsley and Kami Cotler. Will Geer played Grandpa Walton and Ellen Corby played Grandma Walton.

richard_thomas_-_john_boy.jpgThomas, who left the series after the fifth season, also directed five episodes. He won a 1973 Enemy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Drama Series - Continuing) and was nominated again in 1974 for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He was nominated in 1974 and 75 for Golden Globes for the series for Best TV Actor - Drama.

Thomas is married to Georgiana Bischoff and they have a son. He has three daughters from his previous marriage to Alma Gonzales. Thomas has served as a National Chairman of the Better Hearing Institute.

Classic fans will be excited to learn that Diana Saenger interviewed Thomas recently to catch up on his life and find out what being on the Waltons was like.

Click here to read the interview with  Richard Thomas.

Photo credits: Warner Bros.




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