Actor Joe Conley -- best known to television audiences for his role as storekeeper Ike Godsey on the long-running series “The Waltons” -- died at a care home in Newbury Park, Calif., on Sunday. He was 85 years old.
Conley was born March 3, 1928, in Buffalo, N.Y. He began his acting career in the 1950s after serving in the military during the Korean War. Conley bounced around the industry throughout the '50s and '60s, appearing in shows such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Mister Ed,” “Green Acres,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and more before landing the role of Ike Godsey on the highly popular “Waltons” in 1972.
Conley would remain with “The Waltons” for the duration of its 10-year run, which ended on June 4, 1981. He would reprise the role in a series of television movie sequels throughout the 1980s and '90s.
Actress Mary McDonough, who portrayed Erin Walton on “The Waltons,” weighed in on Conley’s passing with a post on her Facebook page. “It is a sad day,” she wrote. “So sorry to let you know Joe Conley, our beloved Ike Godsey passed early this morning, please keep him, Louise, and his family in your prayers. RIP mr. Godsey.”
Ronnie Claire Edwards, who played Godsey’s wife Corabeth on “The Waltons,” also reflected on Conley’s passing. "It was one of the greatest pleasures of my television career to play Corabeth opposite Joe because he made me so much better," she wrote. "I share all of your grief and appreciate your many condolences. He will be greatly missed but, thankfully, we may enjoy his work for years to come in the many reruns of The Waltons."
“A sad day.....Our beloved Joe Conley passed away yesterday morning,” wrote Erin Scott, who played Ben Walton. “I always loved him and will miss him dearly. Please keep his wife Louise and his wonderful family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Today.com points to an interview with Conley, in which the actor describes the degree to which he is identified with his famous role on “The Waltons.” "To millions of people I am Ike Godsey," he said. "People walk up and just call me Ike and carry on a conversation like we are old friends. I have to remember that for 10 years I did visit their home every week. To them I am an old friend or a member of the family."
Joe Conley is survived by his wife, three daughters and one son.