Music has always been a part of Jon Walmsley's life, and while he may popularly be known as Jason Walton of "The Waltons" T.V. series, music was what brought him to the show and what he's been pursuing since. Read on to find out more about him.
Jon Walmsley was just eight years old when he began singing and playing the guitar, and it didn't take long before those in Hollywood noticed the young Englishman.
He was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, on February 16, 1959, before emigrating to the U.S. with his parents, where he started his musical career.
Jon Walmsley (as Jason Walton) and Judy Norton Taylor (as Mary Ellen Walton) on the set of "The Waltons," September 20, 1977 | Photo: Getty Images
Walmsley wasn't shy to showcase his talents, and it didn't take long before he started appearing on local T.V. talent shows where producers noticed his skills as a musician.
He started landing gigs in commercials and little appearances on some T.V. shows, including "Combat," "Adam-12," and "The Bill Cosby Show." He also voiced the character, Christopher Robin, in the movie "Winnie the Pooh."
The actor juggled his music career effectively and finally landed an appearance at the "Grand Ole Opry," a weekly American country music stage concert at the age of 19.
The cast of the hit television series 'The Waltons' poses for a promotional photo, 1972. | Photo: Getty Images
Not long after, Walmsley landed the role of Jason Walton on the popular T.V. series "The Waltons," for which he was popularly known.
"The Waltons" was a show about the life and struggles of a family based in the Virginia mountains. The show ran from the early '70s till the late '80s, and Walmsley appeared in 43 episodes of the show.
With an array of dynamic cast members who brought different talents and skills to the show, Walmsley brought his musical prowess to the character he played so well.
He was tasked with creating and performing many original songs and is credited with having written songs used in six episodes of the show, including the "Ironing Board Blues" and "Momma's Birthday Songs."
So evident was his musical talent that Mary McDonough, who played Erin Walton on the show, admitted in her memoir "Lessons from the Mountain" that she loved his "Ironing Board Blues" and would request he played the song long after the episodes aired.
As the show aired, Walmsley continued playing with bands in Los Angeles and sometimes invited the cast onstage to play with him.
After the show ended, Walmsley embraced his musical career fully and has also written songs for movies like "Seventh Heaven," "8 Simple Rules," and more.
After returning to England, Walmsley wrote "Going to Clarksdale," and it reminded him of the beauty and majesty of the area.
LIFE AFTER "THE WALTONS"
Walmsley was married to Lisa Harrison, who also played his wife on the show. She was popularly known as the character Toni Hazelton.
Their wedding ceremony was officiated by actor Ralph Waite, who played their dad on the show and was a minister in real life. They were married for almost 29 years before finally getting a divorce. They also had a daughter named Brighton together.
About a month after the divorce, the actor and musician got married for the second time to a younger Marion Walmsley, who is an avid supporter of his music and currently his manager. The couple lives together in North Cornwall.
THE U.K. BEAT
In 2002, Walmsley realized he had been playing mostly the guitar all his life and thus decided he would like to be in a band where he could play bass.
He called up Jeff Stillman, Howie Anderson, and Todd Tatum, three other like-minded musicians who loved 1960s British rock invasion. The three, together with Walmsley, formed a band called The U.K. Beat.
They rehearsed, got a couple of songs together, and decided to play at the birthday party of Jeff Stillman. They rented an auditorium, got on stage, and played together for the first time at the event.
The U.K. Beat performed at the Whale and Ale club in San Pedro, and the group was managed by Walmsley's wife, Marion. The group took arrangement ideas from original songs to beautify or create a total arrangement of the songs.
They had so much fun and played classical music from bands like the Kinks, the Yardbirds, the Animals, the Peacemakers, the Beatles, and a couple of other classic bands.
MOVING TO CORNWALL
He loves to have conversations with strangers and would prefer if they judge him based on his merits rather than preconceptions.
As reported by the Sun, Walmsley loves Cornwall, where he lives with his family. The actor once said the county has a lot to offer, and he and his wife love the sea, its coastal path, the livestock, the farms, and its good food, among other things.
Walmsley and Marion are dedicated to building a new life and together have bought a car, opened an account, and registered with the National Health Service while enjoying Cornwall's historic churches and pubs.
The couple recently celebrated their 13th anniversary together, and Walmsley posted an adorable picture of them on a date. In it, he wrote: "Happy Lucky 13th Anniversary to the love of my life Marion. I think she likes me too."
HIS LATEST ALBUM
Speaking to Billboard in 2017, before the release of his album "Going to Clarksdale," Walmsley explained how his audience might find the sound of his new music strange.
The actor claimed the inspiration for the album came from a trip he took to the Delta region with his wife, Marion. Heading to the Western Film Festival in Tunica, the couple took a trip following the Blues Trail through the Mississippi River.
After returning to England, Walmsley wrote "Going to Clarksdale," which reminded him of the beauty and majesty of the area.
His musical career has involved a lot of collaborations with artists like Richard Marx, Greg Trooper, and Merle Haggard. The album is a mixture of his original tunes and classic blues standards, and he promotes the album through his website.