Studio City, California – Schuyler, Virginia
Nelson County, Native and Waltons TV show creator Earl Hamner, Jr. has died at age 92.
“I am very sorry to be the bearer of sad news. My father, Earl Hamner, passed away today at 12:20 PM Pacific time. Dad died peacefully in his sleep at Cedar Sinai Hospital. He was surrounded by family, and we were playing his favorite music, John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Collection. Dad took his last breath half way through Rocky Mountain High. I am sure many of you know Dad was ill, but his amazing tenacity and fight masked how seriously ill he has been over the last year and a half. He was diagnosed with cancer in June of 2014, and had surgery performed in July on his 91st birthday,” his son Scott wrote on Earl’s Facebook page around 8PM Eastern Time Thursday evening.
More thoughts from Earl’s friend and BRL writer, Woody Greenberg:
“Although I knew it was inevitable, this is a day I never wanted to see. Earl Hamner Jr. is gone. Earl’s journey through life took him from Nelson County’s Schuyler to exotic new places and new experiences, but he never lost touch with his roots – his family and the community in which they were born and raised. He taught me the value of those connections. The surviving members of the cast of “The Waltons” remain to this day connected to Earl – and they always will be. He nurtured them, made them better people. The late Ralph Waite, who played John-Boy’s father on “The Waltons,” said many times that the values the show celebrated, love of family, tolerance of differences, respect for others, true friendship, real kindness, made him a better person. Earl personified those values and they permeate his writing. Not that he didn’t have a sense of humor and a fondness for the bizarre and strange. The humor came up in an interview we did about the connection of the show to his actual life. As the oldest of the Hamner brood, he said, he sometimes felt like a mother duck, followed around by a flock of ducklings. But he loved those ducklings, and you can see that in any episode of “The Waltons.” And as for the strange? Check out the episodes he wrote for “The Twilight Zone” and you’ll see what I mean. Earl’s impact on American popular culture will be the subject of many an article and dissertation, but his impact on those of us who knew and loved him is his real legacy.”
Earl was no stranger to Blue Ridge Life Magazine. “Earl wrote for our charter publication, Nelson County Life Magazine in the early years,” said Blue Ridge LIfe Magazine Publisher, Tommy Stafford.
In September 2014, not long after Earl had surgery in California, our Woody Greenberg (a longtime personal friend of Earl’s) stopped by his home in Studio City to see how he was doing.
In April of that year Earl had returned to his birth town of Schuyler in Nelson County as part of a documentary, Earl Hamner Storyteller, that was being filmed about his life.
Above Enjoy this December 2011 radio interview with Earl Hamner (creator of The Waltons & The Homecoming)as BRL Publisher Tommy Stafford and Memphis radio host Earle Farrell talks for over an hour as Earl reminisces about his career, life in the Virginia Blue Ridge and more. Toward the end he reads a special Christmas tribute remarking about the late Will Geer who played Grandpa Walton.
To read more about our coverage of Earl Hamner, Jr. during the past decade here in Nelson County, click here.