Richard Thomas (actor)

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Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas 2015.jpg
Thomas at the Peabody Award, May 2015
Born Richard Earl Thomas
(1951-06-13) June 13, 1951 (age 65)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1958–present
Spouse(s) Alma Gonzales (1975–1993)
Georgiana Bischoff (1994–present)
Children 7

Richard Earl Thomas (born June 13, 1951) is an American actor. He is best known for his leading role as budding author John-Boy Walton in the CBS drama The Waltons, where he won one Emmy Award, and received nominations for another Emmy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

From 2013 to 2016, he starred in the FX drama series The Americans.

Early life[edit]

Thomas was born in Manhattan, the son of Barbara (née Fallis) and Richard S. Thomas, in 1951.[1] His parents were 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 Broadway debut in Sunrise at Campobello (1958) playing John Roosevelt, son of future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


Thomas 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 Manhattan.

Thomas received his first major film roles, appearing in Winning (1969) with Paul Newman, about auto racing, and Last Summer (also 1969) with Bruce Davison and Barbara Hershey, a summer coming-of-age movie. In 1971 he starred in the Universal Pictures Hal Wallis Production Red Sky at Morning, which was a financial failure.

Thomas on the set of The Waltons, 1973.

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 March 17, 1977. 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 1973. He enrolled in Columbia College of Columbia University as a member of the class of 1973 but left after his junior year.

In 1972, he played against type as murderer and rapist Kenneth Kinsolving in You’ll Like My Mother opposite Patty Duke. 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 Col. Warner’s younger son Jim in Roots: The Next Generations (the sequel to the Emmy-winning Roots); 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); Martin Campbell in Final Jeopardy (1985); and the adult Bill Denbrough in Stephen King’s It (1990).

Later career[edit]

In 1980, Thomas made his first Broadway appearance in more than 12 years when he stepped in as a replacement in Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July. In 1987, he appeared on stage in Philadelphia and Washington DC in the one-man tour-de-force "Citizen Tom Paine". In 1993, he played the title role in a stage production of Richard II.

In 1981, his book of poetry "Glass" was published as a letterpress limited edition by Kenward Elmslie's Z Press.

In 1990, he played the adult version of main character Bill in the TV adaptation of Stephen King's novel "It".

Thomas starred with Maureen O’Hara and Annette O’Toole in the Hallmark Channel movie, The Christmas Box, in 1995. O'Toole and Thomas starred in It five years earlier as the adult Beverly Marsh and adult Bill Denbrough.

Thomas has appeared in a quartet of performances at the Hartford Stage in Connecticut: Hamlet (1987), Peer Gynt (1989), Richard III (1994), and Tiny Alice (1996).

In 1997 and 1998, he appeared on Touched by an Angel.

In the early 2000s, he appeared in a London production of Yasmina Reza’s Art with Judd Hirsch (2001); on the New York stage in 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, hosted the PAX TV series It’s a Miracle, and starred in the series Just Cause for the same network.

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 has provided voiceovers in Mercedes-Benz, BB&T and Aleve commercials. In the summer of 2008, Thomas made commercials for the Zaxby’s restaurant chain.

In 2009–2010, Richard Thomas was featured on Broadway in Race, a play by David Mamet. The production was directed by Mamet and included James Spader, David Alan Grier and Kerry Washington. In February and March 2011, he starred at the New York Public Theater in Timon of Athens.

Thomas has a supporting role in the FX Network Cold War drama The Americans, which debuted in January 2013.[2] He plays Frank Gaad, an FBI counterintelligence supervisor helping to investigate KGB sleeper agents in early 1980s America.

Personal life[edit]

Thomas married Alma Gonzales on February 14, 1975. They had one son, Richard Francisco, born in 1976, and triplet daughters Barbara Ayala, Gweneth Gonzales and Pilar Alma, born August 26, 1981. They divorced in 1993.

Thomas married Georgiana Bischoff on November 20, 1994, and they had one son, Montana James Thomas, born July 28, 1996. Bischoff has two daughters from previous marriages, Brooke Murphy and Kendra Kneifel.










  • Prudential (2010) (TV commercial) (voice)
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (2010–2011) Hallmark Movie
  • Time After Time (2011) Hallmark Movie
  • Rizzoli & Isles (episode: "Rebel Without a Pause") (2011)
  • The Americans, FX Network spy drama. FBI supervisor. Supporting cast. (2013-2015), Main (2016)
  • Law & Order: SVU, (2013) (Episode: "Brief Interlude")
  • White Collar, (2013 TV series) (Episode: "Master Plan")
  • The Good Wife, (2014) (Episode: "Dear God")
  • Chicago P. D., (2016) (Episode: "A Night Owl")
  • Elementary, (2016) (As Mitch Barrett in the episode: "Henny Penny the Sky is Falling")
  • Conviction, (2016) (As Earl Slavitt in the episode "A Different Kind of Death")
  • Billions (2017) ( As Sanford Bensinger in the episode " Vulture")




  1. ^
  2. ^ Tucker, Ken (January 30, 2013). "The Americans premier review: Are you rooting for these Russians?". Entertainment Retrieved January 31, 2013. 

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