Earl Hamner Jr., who created the popular television series The Waltons, has died at 92. His son Scott announced on Facebook that Hamner had been suffering from cancer, and died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Thursday.
The Waltons was based on Hamner’s novel, Spencer’s Mountain, which was in turn inspired by Hamner’s childhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the Great Depression.
The television show ran for nine seasons on CBS, and featured Richard Thomas as John Boy Walton, an aspiring writer who represented Hamner. John Boy was surrounded by his parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters and the larger community of Walton’s Mountain, people living good lives under trying economic conditions.
The show often ended with one of the family members drifting off to sleep with the words, “Good night, John Boy,” and an off-camera narration by Hamner himself.
Scott Hamner says of his father’s final moments:
“He was surrounded by family, and we were playing his favorite music, John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Collection. Dad took his last breath halfway through Rocky Mountain High.”