Here’s Why You Recognize Wendy’s Father on ‘Ozark’

A lot has changed since the first season of Ozark—from the setting, to the plot, to the key players, pieces are constantly moving. But one thing that’s always been consistent is that the show has some damn good acting. Obviously, at the center of that is main characters played by the likes of Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and Julia Garner. But it also includes characters who cycle in and out of the show, like those played by Tom Pelphrey (Ben Davis) and Janet McTeer (Helen Pierce).

And in Season 4, Part 1, a familiar face—actor Richard Thomas—shows up in a familiar part: as Wendy and Ben’s father, Nathan Davis. And while Richard Thomas isn’t exactly at the name recognition level of Brad Pitt, he’s got one of those faces that you see and…you kind of feel like you know him. This is a guy you definitely have seen before, even if you can’t quite place from where.

And as it turns out, that suspicion is right. Thomas’ career as a character actor began long before his three episodes in Season 4, Part 1 of Ozark—his first TV appearances, in fact, came when he was under 10 years old in the 1950s.

Since, Thomas has become a prolific actor of both television and film; just last month he appeared alongside Sandra Bullock, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Jon Bernthal in Netflix’s The Unforgivable. And the rest of his resume, is, well, loaded—check out his IMDB to see what we’re talking about. Here’s a peek of where else you may know Ozark‘s Nathan Davis from.

Richard Thomas, who pays Nathan Davis in Season 4, Part 1 of Ozark, is best known for his Emmy-winning role on The Waltons.


Thomas is best known for his longtime role as aspiring writer John-Boy Walton (based on series creator Earl Hamner Jr) on the CBS drama The Waltons, which aired originally for 9 seasons and 221 episodes between 1972 and 1981.

While Thomas didn’t play John-Boy for the entirety of that run, he did play him in the lead role for the first five seasons to go along with guest spots in Season 6; he also reprised the role in three sequel films. He also won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for the series.

He’s also been a mainstay of modern TV, with his biggest role coming on The Americans.

the americans richard thomas


More modern audiences likely recognize Thomas from some of his more contemporary roles, the most prominent of which, ironically, is in a period piece. In FX’s The Americans, Thomas played Frank Gaad—an FBI special agent who’s the supervisor of Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), one of the most important characters in the show. He appeared in 41 of the show’s 75 episodes.

Other prominent shows Thomas has appeared on include Billions (3 episodes), The Comey Rule, and The Good Wife, among others.

Another key role for Richard Thomas? Bill Denbrough in the 1990 version of Stephen King’s It.

richard thomas it


Horror fans should probably recognize Thomas as the leader of The Losers club in the 1990 adaptation of Stephen King’s epic It. Thomas played the adult version of Bill Denbrough, who’s brother Georgie being taken by Pennywise the (Evil) clown is a catalyst for the events of the entire story.

For those only familiar with the recent cinematic adaptations of It, it’s worth noting that the role Thomas played was the same role that James McAvoy played in the new films. While the 1990 adaptation doesn’t quite have the production value of the newer one, it’s still campy, fun, and well done (and you’ve got to see Tim Curry as Pennywise. You’ve just got to).

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