Richard Thomas Biography

(Best Known for His Role as ‘John-Boy Walton’ in the TV Series ‘The Waltons’)

Birthday: June 13, 1951 (Gemini)

Born In: Manhattan, New York, United States

Richard Thomas is an ‘Emmy Award’-winning American actor, best known for his role of novice author ‘John-Boy Walton' in the series ‘The Waltons,' which aired in the 1970s. The show was a hit and gave him worldwide recognition. He won an ‘Emmy Award’ and also received two ‘Golden Globe Award’ nominations for this role. The phrase “Goodnight, John-Boy,” said toward the end of every episode, picked up with the viewers and became a hit. More recently, his role of 'FBI’ special agent ‘Frank Gaad' in the series ‘The Americans' (2013–2018) earned him acclaim. He is also noted for his roles of ‘Shad' in the 1980 movie ‘Battle beyond the Stars' and adult ‘Bill' in the miniseries ‘It' (1990). He starred in the movies ‘Wonder Boys,’ ‘Anesthesia,' and ‘Taking Woodstock.' Richard started his career with theater, as a child artist, and continued even when he grew older. He is regarded as a remarkable theater actor. He has been part of some renowned plays, such as ‘The Little Foxes,’ ‘12 Angry Men,’ ‘A Musical Christmas Carol,' and a few Shakespearean plays (such as ‘Richard II’ and ‘Richard III’).
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Richard Earl Thomas

Age: 71 Years, 71 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Georgiana Bischoff, Alma Gonzales (m. 1975–1993)

father: Richard S. Thomas

mother: Barbara (née Fallis)

children: Barbara Ayala Thomas, Gweneth Gonzales Thomas, Montana James Thomas, Pilar Alma Thomas, Richard Francisco Thomas

Born Country: United States

Actors American Men

Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Males

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Columbia University

Childhood & Early Life
Thomas was born on June 3, 1951, in Manhattan. His father, Richard S Thomas, and his mother, Barbara Thomas, were both dancers. They were the founders and owners of the ‘New York School of Ballet.’
Richard majored in English and comparative literature from ‘Columbia University’ in 1969. He studied Chinese as an elective subject and later changed his major to Asian studies.
He got an early exposure to theater, owing to his parents' profession, and often accompanied them to theater shows. His first brush with the stage was when he was just 6 years old, at one of his father’s plays.
Despite being born to dancer parents, he never attended dance classes and was more inclined toward acting. His professional acting career began with a role in the ‘Broadway’ production ‘Sunrise at Campobello.’ In 1963, he acted in the play ‘Strange Interlude,’ directed by Jose Quintero.
Before he began college, he had already bagged roles in two movies: ‘Winning’ and ‘Last Summer.’ In 1971, he was cast as ‘John Boy’ in ‘Waltons.’ He left ‘Columbia University’ during his junior year, when he bagged this role.
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Thomas started his career with a ‘Broadway’ production named ‘Sunrise at Campobello,’ at the age of 7, in 1958. His first screen appearance was in the ‘Hallmark Hall of Fame’ presentation of ‘A Doll’s House’ in 1959.
In the 1960s, he acted in a few soap operas, such as ‘The Edge of Night,’ ‘A Flame in the Wind,’ and ‘As the World Turns.’
In 1969, he got his first major break, in the movie ‘Winning.’ Soon after, he appeared in the ‘Last Summer.’ In 1971 he starred in ‘Red Sky at Morning,’ a ‘Universal Pictures’ movie.
Thomas got worldwide recognition as an actor when he appeared as ‘John-Boy Walton Jr.’ in the TV series ‘The Waltons’ in the 1970s. He also directed five episodes of the series. Richard left the show after his 5-year contract expired.
In 1971, he starred in the ‘CBS’ TV film ‘The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,’ which was later adapted into a series. He appeared in it until 1977.
In 1972, he appeared in a negative role of a murderer and rapist named ‘Kenny’ in the movie ‘You’ll Like My Mother.’
He played lead roles in the movies ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ (1974) and ‘All Quiet in the Western Front’ (1979).
Some of his other works include the series ‘Roots: The Next Generations’ (1979) and Stephen King’s ‘It’ series (1990).
In the 1980s, he acted in a few TV movies, such as ‘Living Proof: The Hank William Jr Story’ (1983), ‘Hobson’s Choice’ (1983), ‘The Master of Ballantrae’ (1984), and ‘Final Jeopardy’ (1985)
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In 1989, he appeared in the ‘Broadway’ play ‘Fifth of July.’ During the same year, he also starred in ‘Battle beyond the Stars,’ playing ‘Shad.’
He played the title role in the Shakespearean play ‘Richard II’ in 1993, directed by Michael Kahn. He garnered critical acclaim for his performance.
In 1995, he appeared in the ‘Hallmark Channel’ movie ‘The Christmas Box,’ directed by Marcus Cole.
Richard delivered remarkable performances in plays such as ‘Hamlet’ (1987), ‘Peer Gynt’(1989), ‘Richard III’ (1994), and ‘Tiny Alice’ (1996).
He continued his theater stint with plays such as ‘Art’ by Yasmina Reza (2001) at London’s ‘West End’ theater. He was also part of ‘Democracy’ by Michael Frayn (2004), ‘The Stendhal Syndrome’ (2004), and ‘As You Like It’ (2005)
He appeared as the host in the ‘PAX TV’ series ‘It’s a Miracle’ and was also part of the series ‘Just Cause’ (2003).
In the 2007 national tour of the play ‘Twelve Angry Men’ by Reginald Rose, Thomas played the critical role of ‘Juror Eight.’
He starred in the ‘Broadway’ play ‘Race’ by David Mamet (2009–2010). The play also featured James Spader, David Alan Grier, and Kerry Washington. In 2011, he featured in the ‘Broadway’ play ‘Timon of Athens.’
Thomas played the role of ‘FBI’ agent ‘Frank Gaad’ in the series ‘The Americans’ in 2013.
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In 2017, he starred in the ‘Broadway’ revival of ‘The Little Foxes’ and got nominated for the ‘Tony Award’ for the ‘Best Featured Actor in a Play.’
In December 2018, he played the role of ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ in ‘A Musical Christmas Carol.’
He produced the movie ‘Camping with Camus’ (2000) and co-produced ‘What Love Sees’ (1996), ‘Summer of Fear’ (1996), and ‘For All Time’ (2000).
He will be playing the role of ‘Atticus Finch’ in the ‘Broadway’ adaptation of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ The show will begin its run for 2 years in August 2020.
Major Works
Thomas’s most famous role to date has been that of the budding author ‘John-Boy Walton’ in the ‘CBS’ series ‘Waltons.’
Family & Personal Life
Thomas got married to Alma Gonzales on Feb 14, 1975, and had a son, Richard Francisco, and triplet daughters (Gweneth, Pilar, and Barbara) with her. The couple divorced in 1993.
Following his divorce with Alma Gonzales, Thomas married Georgiana Bischoff on November 20, 1994. He has a son, Montana, from his second marriage.
Thomas was diagnosed with cochlear otosclerosis in his 30s. It is a condition that affects hearing. By the time he was diagnosed, Richard had lost 50 percent of his hearing. He now wears hearing aids. He is the national chairman of the ‘Better Hearing Institute.’
Thomas has a noticeable nevus mark on his cheek since birth. During his younger days, he failed to bag a TV commercial because of it.
The day Richard won the ‘Emmy Award,’ he had slammed his car into another while thinking of the award and his speech. He shared this fact in his acceptance speech after he won the award.
He lent his voice to a few ‘Mercedes Benz’ ads in 2007.


Primetime Emmy Awards
1973 Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Drama Series - Continuing) The Waltons (1972)

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