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Richard Earl Thomas (born June 13, 1951) is an American actor, best known as budding author "John-Boy" in the CBS Television Series The Waltons. Thomas can also be heard providing the voiceover in recent Mercedes-Benz and Aleve commercials.


Thomas was born Richard Earl Thomas in New York Citymarker, the son of Richard Thomas (born circa 1925) and the former Barbara Fallis. His parents were each 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 Broadwaymarker debut in Sunrise at Campobello (1958) playing John Roosevelt, son of future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


He 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 Manhattanmarker.

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.

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), and William Denbrough in Stephen King’s It (1990).

Personal life

Thomas has been married twice, first to Alma Gonzales and then to Georgiana Bischoff. He married Alma Gonzales on Feb 14,1975, and the marriage lasted for almost two decades, but ended in divorce in 1993. A year after he and Gonzales divorced, Thomas married Georgiana Bischoff on Nov 20, 1994. He and Alma had one son, Richard Francisco, born 1976 and triplet daughters Barbara Ayala, Gweneth Gonzales and Pilar Alma who were born August 26, 1981; he and Georgiana have one son, Montana James, born July 28, 1996.

Recent 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 Stagemarker in Connecticut: Hamlet (1987), Peer Gynt (1989),Richard II (1994), and Tiny Alice (1996).

His recent New York stage credits include 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 can also be heard providing the voiceover in recent Mercedes-Benz, BB&T and Aleve commercials. In the summer of 2008, Thomas made commercials for the Zaxby's restaurant chain.

Richard Thomas will be featured in Race, a new play by David Mamet on Broadway in the fall. He joins James Spader in the play, directed by Mamet, which begins previews Nov. 17 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatremarker in New York Citymarker.











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