Richard Thomas explained why he had to leave ''The Waltons''

Thomas didn't intend to play John-Boy forever.

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, this includes our favorite television shows. Fans of The Waltons were lucky enough to watch John-Boy Walton grow into a mature young man. But once he was an adult, it was time for John-Boy to move on to bigger and better things.

At least, that's the story told by Richard Thomas, who played John-Boy for the majority of the series run. While Thomas was replaced by Robert Wightman in season eight until the series ended, many viewers felt that the series was never quite the same after Thomas' departure, and longed for him to return.

However, in an interview with The Montreal Star, Thomas revealed that his exit from the series had been planned since he originally signed onto the show. He stated, "When I signed my contract I decided then that I would remain with the series no longer than five years." He reasoned, "That's long enough to be tied up with one project and I want to go on to other things."

After Thomas left The Waltons, he enjoyed a fairly successful career, both on the screen and the stage. He said, "Although working in television gave me the opportunity to be in front of the camera every day practicing my craft, it was my theatre experience that really taught me the importance of preparation and dedication to one's profession."

But while Thomas never regretted leaving The Waltons when he did, he still commended the series long after it had ended.

The actor said, "They're not supercops or superstars and I think the success of the series proves that the public can identify with them just as easily as they can fantasize with the larger-than-life heroes in most shows."

Watch The Waltons on MeTV!

Weekdays at 12 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

7 Comments

MrChrisM 2 months ago
Granted the guy who replaced Richard Thomas did a okay job or in my opinion mediocre as a replacement for John Boy somehow it didn't feel like the same character kind of like when soap operas have 3actors play the same role. The replacement actor usually doesn't have the same feeling as the original. My wife often tells me about a soap that replaced a leading actress on the show where the original was a smart person they replaced her with a total air head who was just a bouncy airhead as compared to the previous smart lady. The only time I recall a replacement being better was in the case of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie was so bad I almost didn't watch the television show. In fact I didn't until someone told me it wasn't like the movie except for the name. From that day on I was a big fan of it and it's spin off Angel.
stevennordgren2 3 months ago
After Richard Thomas left the Walton it seems like it turned into a soap opera.
MaraBella 3 months ago
I watched The Waltons up through season 8. I missed season 9 because I had gotten married and we didn't have a TV for the first year or so. I don't remember when I was able to watch the reruns of the last 2 seasons, but over the last few years, I've gone back and watched every episode!
I absolutely love it! I may have to watch it again soon.
I grew up with 4 older and 2 younger siblings. By the time the series started, only my younger siblings and I were the only kids left at home. We were a little better off than the Waltons, but not much.
I still love this show!
Teddy394 3 months ago
I started watching The Waltons in 2023. I guess I am a little behind but now I enjoy the show so much and the family situations.
JohnHardesty 3 months ago
Our family set away chores, fighting among ourselves, and petty things when we watched this golden hour gem, The Waltons were as close to our household as reality. The only difference was we had 4 sisters and 3 brothers. Yes, John Boy or Richard Thomas should've finished his obligation to his contract and more importantly his fans. The Waltons still live every day as it was in the early ‘30s and ‘40s on MeTV. It's still held up to the wear of time.
rain7sky9 4 months ago
When Richard Thomas left the cast of The Waltons, it was NEVER the same. He pulled EVERYONE together. I loved watching the show, and i still enjoy it to this day. A PERFECT cast of characters. Goodnight John boy. 💞
cperrynaples 4 months ago
No one ever accepted Robert Wightman as John Boy! It says something that his only other major role was Stepfather 3, and he flopped there too! Would have been better if they hadn't done a recast!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?