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Earl Hamner Jr. (1923 - 2016)

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Earl Hamner Jr. (1923 - 2016)

Earl Hamner Jr., the writer who created the long-running CBS television family series "The Waltons," has died, according to multiple news sources, including The Associated Press. He was 92.

Hamner died of cancer Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

"They broke the mold after they made him," his daughter Caroline said.

Although Hamner is known best for creating "The Walton's," the Virginia-born writer also created the prime-time soap opera "Falcon Crest."


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Earl Henry Hamner Jr. was born July 10, 1923, in Schuyler, Virginia. His childhood during the Great Depression provided the inspiration for much of his work. His 1961 novel "Spencer's Mountain" was adapted into a 1963 movie that starred Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara.

Hamner's 1970 book, "The Homecoming: A Novel About Spencer's Mountain," was inspired by the author's Christmas Eve memory of 1933, when his father was late in returning home. The book became a two-hour CBS TV movie, "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story," in 1971. It was essentially the pilot for the long-running family drama, "The Waltons," which aired from 1972 to 1981. "The Waltons," starring Richard Thomas as John-Boy and Ralph Waite as his father, won five Emmys for its inaugural season, including one for outstanding drama series.

Fans of the show, along with other people "are hungry for a sense of security," Hamner said in a 1973 interview with Good Housekeeping magazine. "They're hungry, too, for real family relationships – not just rounding up the family for a cookout but real togetherness where people are relating honestly."

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