R.I.P. Ralph Waite
The 66-year-old veteran character actress was partially paralyzed and her ability to speak was severely impaired. Producer Earl Hamner Jr. (who wrote Spencer’s Mountain, the autobiographical novel upon which the series was based, and also served as narrator) could have decided to kill Grandma off, or recast the role, as he would later do with the character of John-Boy after star Richard Thomas left the series. Instead, he chose to write Corby’s illness and recovery into the storyline. It was a bold decision, and Corby’s willingness to perform on national television in a physically compromised state was enormously courageous.
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