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Ralph Waite is an American actor whose most notable role was playing John Walton Sr. on the 1970s television series The Waltons.
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After The Waltons ended in 1981, Ralph Waite continued to work in film and onstage, including a number of Waltons television movies. In 1990, he acted upon long-held political ambitions, running for Congress as a Democrat in Riverside County, California’s 37th District. He lost to GOP incumbent Al McCandless. In 1998, Waite was a late candidate for the seat left vacant by Sonny Bono, who had died in a fatal skiing accident. Before he decided to run,
Waite had signed on to play Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman in New Jersey. Committed to both, Waite endeavored to do both, traveling on Sunday to California to campaign and then traveling back to New Jersey on Tuesday. He was ultimately defeated by Bono’s widow, Mary Bono.
Since 2000, Ralph Waite has continued to act in television, occasionally in guest spots that have included the legal drama The Practice, HBO's Carnivale and the prime-time crime series NCIS and CSI. In 2010, Waite returned to his religious roots and joined the Desert Presbyterian Fellowship in Palm Desert. He has since lent his talents to the pulpit, delivering some of the Sunday sermons.
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Lot of actors play politicians on the big and small screens, but few have made the transition in real life. At every level of government, there are actors who have used their charisma, good looks, and personalities to get the policies they support enacted. Though Hollywood has a reputation as a city of liberals, many conservative actors have been members of the Republican party. From Ronald Reagan to Sonny Bono, here's a look at famous actors who went on to careers in politics.
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