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 66)
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, for which he won one Emmy Award and received nominations for another Emmy Award and two Golden Globe Awards. He also played Special Agent Frank Gaad on FX's crime drama series The Americans (2013–2016), appeared in Stephen King's mini series IT (1990), and had a supporting role in the comedy-drama film Wonder Boys (2000).

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), A Flame in the Wind, 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 1980, he appeared as Shad (the young farmer entrusted to employ mercenaries to save his planet from Sador and his invading forces) in Battle Beyond The Stars.

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

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 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 had starred in It together five years earlier.

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

Thomas appeared in the 2017 Broadway revival of The Little Foxes, receiving a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play nomination.

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.

He owns an apartment in Manhattan's historic Alwyn Court building at 180 West 58th Street. [3]



Year Title Role Notes
1969 Winning Charley
1969 Last Summer Peter
1971 Red Sky at Morning Joshua Arnold
1971 The Todd Killings Billy Roy
1971 Cactus in the Snow Harley MacIntosh aka You Can't Have Everything
1972 You'll Like My Mother Kenny
1974 Sisters of the Space Age Narrator Short film
1977 September 30, 1955 Jimmy J.
1980 Battle Beyond the Stars Shad
1999 Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder Charles Ingalls Video
2000 The Million Dollar Kid Ted Hunter
2000 Wonder Boys Walter Gaskell
2000 Bloodhounds Inc. Robert Hunter Video
2009 Taking Woodstock Reverend Don Darren Pettie
2015 Anesthesia Mr. Werth

Television films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1959 A Doll's House Ivor
1971 The Homecoming: A Christmas Story John-Boy Walton
1973 The Thanksgiving Story N/A
1974 The Red Badge of Courage Pvt. Henry Fleming
1975 The Silence Cadet James Pelosi
1978 Getting Married Michael Carboni
1979 No Other Love Andrew Madison
1979 All Quiet on the Western Front Paul Baumer
1980 To Find My Son David Benjamin
1981 Berlin Tunnel 21 Lieutenant Sandy Mueller
1981 Barefoot in the Park Paul Bratter
1982 Pavarotti & Friends Himself
1982 Johnny Belinda William Richmond
1982 Fifth of July Kenneth Talley Jr.
1982 Christmas at Kennedy Center with Leontyne Price Himself
1983 Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story Hank Williams Jr.
1983 Hobson's Choice Will Mossup
1984 The Master of Ballantrae Henry Durie
1985 Final Jeopardy Marty Campbell
1988 Go Toward the Light Greg Madison
1989 Glory! Glory! Rev. Bobby Joe
1990 Andre's Mother Cal Porter - Andre's Lover
1990 Common Ground Colin Diver
1991 Mission of the Shark Lieutenant Steven Scott
1991 Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus James O'Hanlan
1992 Crash Landing: The Rescue of Flight 232 Gary Brown aka A Thousand Heroes
1992 Lincoln John Hay Voice role
1993 I Can Make You Love Me Richard Farley aka Stalking Laura
1993 Precious Victims Don Weber
1993 Linda Paul Cowley
1993 A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion John-Boy Walton
1994 To Save the Children David Young
1995 Death in Small Doses Richard Lyon
1995 A Walton Wedding John-Boy Walton
1995 Down, Out & Dangerous Tim Willows
1995 The Christmas Box Richard Evans
1996 West Virginia: A Film History Narrator Voice role
1996 What Love Sees Gordon Holly
1996 Timepiece Richard Evans
1997 A Walton Easter John-Boy Walton
1997 A Thousand Men and a Baby Dr. Hugh 'Bud' Keenan aka Narrow Escape
1997 Flood: A River's Rampage Herb Dellenbach
1998 Big and Hairy Victor Dewlap
2000 In the Name of the People Jack Murphy
2000 The Christmas Secret Jerry McNeil
2001 The Miracle of the Cards Dr. Neal Kassell
2002 Beyond the Prairie, Part 2 Charles Ingalls
2002 Anna's Dream Rod Morgan
2005 Annie's Point Richard Eason
2006 Wild Hearts Bob
2011 Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Dick

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1961 Way Out Jeremy Keeler Episode: "The Croaker"
1961 Great Ghost Tales Conradin Episode: "Srendhi Vashtar"
1961 The Defenders Johnny Remington Episode: "The Boy Between"
1961–62 1, 2, 3 Go! Himself 5 episodes
1961 From These Roots Richard Unknown episodes
1961 The Edge of Night Ben Schultz, Jr. Unknown episodes
1964 A Flame in the Wind Chris Austin Episode: "#1.1"
1965 Seaway Martin Anderson Episode: "Last Voyage"
1966–67 As the World Turns Thomas Christopher Hughes #4 Unknown episodes
1969–70 Marcus Welby, M.D. Dennis Alan Graham 2 episodes
1970 Medical Center Toby Tavormina Episode: "Runaway"
1970 Bracken's World Alan Episode: "Fallen, Fallen Is Babylon"
1970 Bonanza Billy Episode: "The Weary Willies"
1971 The F.B.I. John "Chill" Chilton Episode: "The Game of Terror"
1972 Night Gallery Ian Evans Episode: "The Sins of the Fathers"
1972–77 The Waltons John-Boy Walton 124 episodes
1973 Match Game 73 Himself 5 episodes
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Jim Warner 3 episodes
1989 The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible Mark "The Easter Story"
1990 Tales from the Crypt Dr. Trask Episode: "Mute Witness to Murder"
1990 It Bill Denbrough 2 episodes
1995 The Outer Limits Dr. Stephen Ledbetter Episode: "The New Breed"
1995 The Invaders Jerry Thayer 2 episodes
1996 Dave's World Himself Episode: "L.A. Times"
1997–98 Promised Land Joe Greene 4 episodes
1997–98 Touched by an Angel Joe Greene 2 episodes
1997 Riding the Rails Narrator TV documentary
1998 The Adventures of Swiss Family Robinson David Robinson 30 episodes
1999 The Practice Walter Arens Episode: "Committed"
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Daniel Varney Episode: "Scourge"
2002–03 Just Cause Hamilton Whitney III 22 episodes
2006 Nightmares & Dreamscapes Howard Cottrell Episode: "Autopsy Room Four"
2009 Law & Order Roger Jenkins Episode: "Dignity"
2011 Rizzoli & Isles Professor Dwayne Cravitz Episode: "Rebel Without a Pause"
2013–16 The Americans Frank Gaad 41 episodes
2013 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Nat Randolph Episode: "Brief Interlude"
2013 White Collar William Wolcott Episode: "Master Plan"
2014 The Good Wife Ed Pratt Episode: "Dear God"
2016 Chicago P. D. Adam Ames Episode: "A Night Owl"
2016 Elementary Mitch Barrett Episode: "Henny Penny the Sky is Falling"
2016 Conviction Earl Slavitt Episode: "A Different Kind of Death"
2017 Billions Sanford Bensinger Episode: "The Oath"
2017 Blue Bloods Congressman Richard Walters Episode: "Ghosts of the Past"


  • What Love Sees (1996) (co-producer)
  • Summer of Fear (1996) (co-executive producer)
  • For All Time (2000) (co-executive producer)
  • Camping with Camus (2000) (producer)


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1973 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Waltons Won
1974 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
1975 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
1990 CableACE Awards Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries Glory! Glory! Nominated
1995 CableACE Awards Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries Linda Nominated
2016 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Incident at Vichy Nominated
2017 Tony Awards Best Featured Actor in a Play The Little Foxes Nominated


  1. ^ "Richard Thomas Biography (1951-)". Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  2. ^ Tucker, Ken (January 30, 2013). "The Americans premier review: Are you rooting for these Russians?". Entertainment Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  3. ^

External links[edit]