One of the most admirable aspects of my youth is that I never once watched The Waltons. Seriously, not once. I’ve never even looked at YouTube clips. Not even last night when I read about the passing of Ralph Waite at age 85. I never wanted to because I hated the idea of The Waltons from the get-go. Condolences to family, friends and fans but Waite had a long and fruitful life. My most distinctive memory is his portrayal of Jack Nicholson‘s brother, Carl Fidelio Dupea, in Five Easy Pieces (’70). Waite wore a neck brace in every one of his scenes. Nicholson’s character had it off with Carl’s wife, played by Susan Anspach, but it never came to anything.

(l. to.r.) Jack Nicholson, Ralph Waite and Susan Anspach in Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces.