Richard Thomas Is A Proud Father Of 7 Children & Shares Parenting Wisdom: ‘Leave Them Alone’

Apr 29, 2022 by apost team

Richard Thomas is an American actor best known for his leading role as John-Boy Walton in the television series “The Waltons.” The show was a historical drama series about a family in rural Virginia that took place during the time of the Great Depression and World War II. The show was a massive success with fans and critics, and has since gone into syndication.

Born in Manhattan, New York, on June 13, 1951, Thomas grew up with parents already in the entertainment industry. His mother, Barbara Fallis, and father, Richard Scott Thomas, were both dancers in the New York City Ballet. After he began studying at Columbia College at Columbia University, he landed the role of John-Boy in “The Waltons,” and ended up dropping out of school during his junior year to commit to the role full-time. He then moved across the country to Los Angeles, California.

Although his role on “The Waltons” has gone on to be Thomas’ most noteworthy performance, he has also had some outstanding performances in the miniseries “It” and on the spy thriller series “The Americans.” While Thomas has found love from fans and critics for all of his work in the entertainment industry, he has also found love in his personal life. 

He has been married twice and is the proud father of seven beautiful children, including a set of triplets. What’s so remarkable about Thomas’ family is that he has the same number of children as the Waltons had on the show. Read on to find out more about Thomas’ career and his gorgeous kids.

Richard Thomas (1965), (Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

Created by Earl Hamner Jr., “The Waltons” is an American historical drama series that follows the lives of the Walton family, and shows audiences what it was like to live in rural Virginia during the Great Depression. The show aired from September 1972 until June 1981, and was based on the 1961 book “Spencer’s Mountain” and the 1963 film of the same name. The TV movie “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” was broadcast in December 1971, and was so successful that the CBS network created the TV show “The Waltons.” The show has since gone into syndication, distributed by Warner Bros.

“The Waltons” followed John-Boy, his six siblings, his parents and his paternal grandparents. One of the most common catchphrases from the show was “Goodnight, John-Boy,” as the family was famous for having a long round of goodnights each night before they went to bed.

There’s a saying that life imitates art, and it appears as if Thomas’ life has coincided with “The Waltons.” Just like how there were seven children on the TV show, Thomas is the proud father of seven children in his real life. “You just recreate a certain kind of happy childhood, don’t you,” Thomas said during an appearance on the Australian morning TV show “Studio 10” in 2019, as per the Outsider

He left “The Waltons” in 1977, as he had already started growing his family. Thomas married Alma Gonzales in 1975, and the two welcomed their first and only son in 1976 named Richard Francisco. The second time Gonzales became pregnant, the parents were in for a huge surprise.

Richard Thomas, Georgiana Bischoff (2012), (Fernando Leon/Getty Images)

According to the Outsider, Gonzales knew she was pregnant with twins, as twins ran on both sides of the family. In 1981, Gonzales went into labor three weeks early and a sonogram surprisingly revealed a third heartbeat. On Aug. 21, 1981, she gave birth to triplet daughters: Pilar, Barbara and Gwyneth.

In an interview in 1982, Thomas expressed his gratitude for his family and life. "I get up every morning and thank God I have three beautiful little girls and a wonderful son," the actor said. He also gave credit where credit was due. "But I know who makes it all work—Alma. She’s a wife and a mother, and she has a great sense of pride and accomplishment in that. And she still remains her own woman."

However, Thomas and Gonzales later divorced in 1993. Speaking about their divorce, Thomas only revealed in an interview with PEOPLE in 1993 that "Both of us are in the process of putting our private lives back together. I have a wonderful therapist." He also added that he and Gonzales “are communicating.” 

Gonzales also revealed that the divorce process was hard on Thomas. She said, "I guess I shocked him. But if you are really in touch with your mate, you can see things are not right. I wasn’t very happy [in the marriage]. There is no [single] reason why one person’s needs get met and the other person’s do not."

However, she had no ill will towards Thomas and said that he is "a good person." She also added that the separation is "amicable, thank goodness, because we have four terrific kids."

Richard Thomas (2017), (Walter McBride/WireImage/Getty Images)

During the Thanksgiving season of 1994, Thomas found love once more. He married for a second time and tied the knot with Georgiana Bischoff, as per the Outsider. Together the couple had one son, Montana, who was born in 1996. Bischoff also had two children — daughters Brooke and Kendra — from previous marriages. Altogether, Thomas was officially the father of seven children in a beautiful blended family.

The actor’s children have since grown up. Speaking with Closer Weekly in December 2020, Thomas explained that his kids were scattered all over the country, living in California, Oregon and New York. On top of being a father of seven children, Thomas is now also a grandfather of five grandchildren. Someone who has such a big and blended family is bound to have some wisdom about how to be a great parent. “Don’t try to make them be like you,” Thomas said, revealing his parenting advice. “Leave them alone.” 

He elaborated, “I don’t mean let them go out and play in traffic. But let them be free to grow into who they are. It’s not new wisdom -- we all try to do it, and it’s easier said than done. But it’s important.” After starring on a successful show with such a large family, it’s no surprise that Thomas has just as big and beautiful of a family in his real life.

As his children have begun to have children of their own, his family is still continuing to grow. Thomas has shown himself to be a loving and happy father and puts his family above all else. 

Richard Thomas, Montana James Thomas, Georgiana Bischoff Thomas (2011), (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

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