Died the other day at 85. The Waltons debuted in Sept 1972 and was up against the popular Flip Wilson variety show and Mod Squad. The Waltons was projected to get shelled and be dropped in the face of the opposition for the time period. Instead, it ultimately won its time slot. Mr. Waite was a Marine, Presbyterian minister, and worked at a publishing house, and only turned to acting later in life. He graduated from Bucknell University and earned a masters degree from Yale Divinity School.