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Earl Hamner, Jr.

  • Birthplace: Schuyler, Virginia
  • Birthday: July 10
Date of passing: 
March 24, 2016

Earl Hamner Jr., was a writer and producer best known as the creator and narrator of the acclaimed television series The Waltons, which aired on CBS from 1971 to 1981.

An ensemble drama about a rural Virginia family during the Great Depression and World War II, The Waltons starred Ralph Waite and Michael Learned as John and Olivia Walton, and Richard Thomas as John-Boy, an aspiring writer and the oldest of their seven children.

Earl Hamner Jr., was a writer and producer best known as the creator and narrator of the acclaimed television series The Waltons, which aired on CBS from 1971 to 1981.

An ensemble drama about a rural Virginia family during the Great Depression and World War II, The Waltons starred Ralph Waite and Michael Learned as John and Olivia Walton, and Richard Thomas as John-Boy, an aspiring writer and the oldest of their seven children.

The series began as a television movie based on his novel The Homecoming: A Novel About Spencer’s Mountain, which served as a pilot episode. Hamner received Emmy nomination for writing the telefilm in 1972 and for writing the series in 1973.

In the 1990s he made several telefilms based on The Waltons, including A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion, A Walton Wedding and A Walton Easter.

In addition to The Waltons, Hamner created the series Apple’s WayBoone and Falcon Crest, the latter of which ran for nine seasons.

The Schuyler, Virginia, native got his start as a novelist. His TV writing career launched in the 1950s with shows that included The Kate Smith Hour, The United States Steel Hour and Justice. He went on to write for numerous other shows such as The Twilight Zone, Wagon Train, Gentle Ben and Nanny and the Professor.

Beyond his work for television, Hamner wrote the 1961 novel Spencer’s Mountain, which was adapted into a 1963 film of the same name, starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara. He later wrote screenplays for the 1963 college film Palm Springs Weekend, the 1973 adaptation of Charlotte’s Web and the 1974 drama Where the Lilies Bloom.

Hamner died on March 24, 2016, in Los Angeles. He was 92.

 

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