Richard Thomas, best known for his role as John-Boy on the beloved TV show The Waltons, opens up in the new issue of Closer Weekly about his early fame and weighs in on how the entertainment industry has changed.

While he hit stardom at a young age, Richard tells Closer it was nothing like what young stars go through today.

“They live under a kind of microscope we didn’t,” the actor explains. “I don’t know how they survive. I have a lot of empathy for them.”

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Thomas as John-Boy in classic series The Waltons

The 62-year-old tells Closer he is incredibly grateful for his breakout role and doesn’t tire of people saying, “Good night, John-Boy!”

“It made me a star,” he explains to the mag. “It gave me the leverage that allowed me to work steadily my whole life. It will be ‘John-Boy Dies’ when I’m gone. That’s fine with me. There are worse ways to be remembered!”

Richard is also recognized for his facial birthmark and tells the mag he originally was turned down for roles as a result of it.

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Cast of The Waltons (1971-1981)

“When I was a boy, I auditioned for a Greyhound bus commercial and they took my dad aside and said, ‘He’s a nice boy, but unless you get that thing taken off his face, his chance for a career is very slim,’” Richard tells Closer. “So that just goes to show you what the industry knows!”

Now he’s co-starring as an FBI honcho on FX’s Cold War drama The Americans, which Richard tells Closer, “It’s not the kind of role I’d normally be cast in, but I thought it would be great fun.”

Clearly, John-Boy’s not ready to say “good night.”

For more from Richard Thomas, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!