Richard Earl Thomas (born June 13, 1951) is an American actor, best known as budding author John-Boy Walton in the CBS drama The Waltons.
Thomas was born Richard Earl Thomas in New York City, the son of Barbara (née Fallis) and Richard S. Thomas. His parents were dancers with the New York City Ballet and owned the New York School of Ballet. He attended The Allen Stevenson School and The McBurney School in Manhattan. Thomas was seven when he made his Broadway debut in Sunrise at Campobello (1958) playing John Roosevelt, son of future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Thomas soon began his television career. In 1959, he appeared in the presentation of Ibsen's A Doll's House with Julie Harris, Christopher Plummer and Hume Cronyn. He then began acting in daytime TV, appearing in soap operas such as The Edge of Night (as Ben Schultz, 1961) and As the World Turns (as Tom Hughes, 1966-67), which were broadcast from his native Manhattan.