Biography Lorne was born Lyon Chaim Green in Ottawa, Ontario to Russian Jewish immigrants, Daniel and Dora Green. Lorne Green began acting while attending Queen's University in Kingston, where he also acquired a knack for broadcasting with the Radio Workshop of the university's Drama Guild on the campus radio station CFRC.
He gave up on a career in chemical engineering and, upon graduation, found a job as a radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). He was assigned as the principal newsreader on the CBC National News. The CBC gave him the nickname "The Voice of Canada"; however, his role in delivering distressing war news in sonorous tones following Canada's entry into World War II in 1939 caused many listeners to call him "The Voice of Doom". During his radio days, Greene invented a stopwatch that ran backwards. Its purpose was to help radio announcers gauge how much time they had available while speaking. He also narrated documentary films, such as the National Film Board of Canada's Fighting Norway (1943). In 1957 Greene played the role of the prosecutor in the socially controversial movie Peyton Place.
The first of his American television roles was as family patriarch Ben Cartwright on the long-running western series Bonanza (1959–1973), making Greene a household name. He garnered the role after having turned in a highly-regarded performance in a production of Nineteen Eighty-Four for the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). After the cancellation of Bonanza, he was host for the syndicated nature documentary series Last of the Wild from 1974 to 1975. In the 1977 miniseries Roots, he played the first master of Kunta Kinte, John Reynolds. Greene was also popular as the spokesman for Alpo Beef Chunks dog food commercials through-out the 1970s.
Greene's next best-known role was Commander Adama, another patriarchal figure, in the science fiction feature film and television series Battlestar Galactica (1978–1979) and Galactica 1980 (1980).
In the 1960s, Greene capitalized on his Pa Cartwright image by recording several albums of country-western/folk songs, which Greene performed in a mixture of spoken word and singing. In 1964, Greene had a #1 single on the music charts with his ballad, "Ringo." He was also known as the host and narrator of the nature series, Lorne Greene's New Wilderness. He also appeared in the HBO mockumentary The Canadian Conspiracy, about the supposed subversion of the United States by Canadian-born media personalities. For nearly a decade, Greene co-hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. He is also fondly remembered as the founder of Toronto's Academy of Radio Arts (originally called the Lorne Greene School of Broadcasting).
Greene died of pneumonia on September 11, 1987 in Santa Monica, California at the age of 72. Only weeks before his death, he had been signed to appear in a revival of Bonanza. He was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, Culver City, California.
Personal life Greene was married twice, first to Rita Hands of Toronto (1938–1960, divorced). Some reports list the start of their marriage as 1940. They had two children, twins born in 1945, Belinda Susan Bennet (née Greene) and Charles Greene.
His second wife was Nancy Deale (1961–1987, Greene's death), with whom he had one child, Gillian Dania Greene, born January 6, 1968 in Los Angeles, California. In 1993, Gillian married actor/director/producer Sam Raimi; they have five children.
Tributes He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on October 28, 1969, "For services to the Performing Arts and to the community."
Greene was the 1987 recipient of the Earle Grey Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Canadian Gemini Awards.
In May 2006, Greene became one of the first four entertainers to ever be honored by Canada Post by being featured on a postage stamp.
Forlorn Green, an album by trumpeter Greg Kelley and tape loop manipulator Jason Lescalleet, is an indirect tribute to the actor: the album's title is a pun ("For Lorne Greene"), the four pieces are each named after a movie featuring Greene, and the album is dedicated "most of all" to "Ben Cartwright".
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1559 N. Vine Street.
Lorne Greene Biography courtesy of WeaverEB ~ Elisha Visit our Forum on Bonanza Boomers dedicated to Lorne Greene and his work outside Bonanza. Click here to view.
May 18, 1928 - January 24, 2010
Born Pernell Elvin Roberts, Jr. on May 18, 1928. He grew up in Waycross, Georgia. During his high school years he played the French horn, acted in school and church plays and sang in local USO shows. While attending Waycross High School, he was a member of the boys basketball team. He attended both Georgia Tech and the University of Maryland but flunked out of both colleges because of boredom and interest in acting rather than studying. He joined the Marines in 1946 and served for two years. During that time he became interested in Philosophy and Psychology after coversing with captives of the Japanese POWs once they were released. He eventually decided to give acting a chance and supported himself as a butcher, tombstone carver and forest ranger to name a few jobs during the lean years while pursuing his craft.
On stage in the 1950s
Pernell gained experience in various plays before spending a couple of years performing the classics with the renowned Arena Stage Company in Washington, DC. Productions there included "The Taming of the Shrew" (as Petruchio), "The Playboy of the Western Word," "The Glass Menagerie," "The Importance of Being Earnest," and "Twelfth Night."
He made his Broadway debut in 1955 with "Tonight in Samarkind" and that same year won the "Best Actor" Drama Desk Award for his off-Broadway performance as "Macbeth," which was immediately followed by "Romeo and Juliet" as Mercutio. Other Broadway plays include "The Lovers" (1956) with Joanne Woodward, a return to Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" (1957) and "The Duchess of Malfi" (1957). He returned to Broadway fifteen years later as the title role opposite Ingrid Bergman in "Captain Brassbound's Conversion" (1972).
Heading to Hollywood
Pernell found minor roles in films and TV, but his first big break was in the film "Ride Lonesome" in 1959 where he played Sam Boone. His performance was met with critical acclaim, with most critics saying that he stole the show from the star of the film, Randolph Scott. That same year, he landed the pivotal role of Ben Cartwright's oldest and best-educated son Adam Cartwright in the TV show Bonanza. The series made Roberts a bonafide TV star, while the program itself became the second longest-running TV western (after "Gunsmoke") and first to be filmed in color.
At the peak of his and the TV show's popularity, Pernell elected not to renew his contract and left at the end of the 1964-1965 season to the utter dismay of his fans. The show continued successfully without him, but a gap was always felt in the Cartwright family by this abrupt departure. The story line continued to leave open the possibility of a return if desired, but Pernell never did.
Pernell Roberts focused on singing and the musical stage. One solo album was filled with folks songs entitled "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies." Besides such standard roles in "Camelot" and "The King and I," he starred as Rhett Butler to Lesley Ann Warren's Scarlett O'Hara in a musical version of "Gone with the Wind" and appeared in another musical production based on the life of "Mata Hari."
He starred in foreign films such as The Kashmiri Run (1970) & Four Rode Out (1970). He maintained a viable presence in TV with parts in mini-series and guest shots on TV.
In 1979 he won another long-running series role (and an Emmy nomination) as Trapper John, M.D. (1979) in which he recreated the Wayne Rogers TV M*A*S*H (1972) role. The medical drama co-starring Gregory Harrison ran seven seasons.
Pernell did an outstanding performance as a guest star in "The Young Riders" in 1990 called "Requiem for a Hero" as Hezekiah Horn, for which he won western heritage award.
Pernell's last starring series & retirement:
Pernell starred in his last series as host of FBI: The Untold Stories (1991).
Pernell's final TV appearance was on Diagnosis Murder, where he continued his character, George Fallon, from a Mannix episode from 1973. He retired from acting at age 69 in the late 1990s.
Pernell's Personal Life:
Pernell was a heavily principled man and spent a life-time of work fighting racism, segregation, and sexism, notably on TV. He was at odds with the "Bonanza" series writers of his concerns regarding equality. Married and divorced three times, he had one son, Jonathan Christopher, by first wife Vera. Jonathan was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1989.
Roberts was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and died about two years later at age 81 on January 24, 2010, survived by fourth wife Eleanor Criswell. Pernell Roberts outlived the entire Cartwright clan (Dan Blocker died in 1972; Lorne Greene in 1987); and Michael Landon in 1991).
Eleanor Criswell (1999 - January 24, 2010) (his death)
Kara Knack (June 1, 1972 - 1996) (divorced)
Judith Roberts (October 19, 1962 - 1971) (divorced)
Vera Mowry (January 4, 1951 - 1959) (divorced) (1 child)
Pernell Elven Roberts, Sr. (1907–1980)
Minnie (Betty) Myrtle Morgan Roberts (1910–1988)
He sang in several episodes of Bonanza (1959) and appeared on 2 record albums with the Bonanza (1959) cast as well as 1 solo album.
Was also a lifelong activist, which included participation in the Selma to Montgomery Marches in 1965, and pressuring NBC to refrain from hiring whites to portray minority characters.
He was only 13 years younger than Lorne Greene who played his television father, Ben Cartwright, on Bonanza (1959).
Had a penchant for martial arts; was known for giving demonstrations at the annual Circus of the Stars (1977), from the 1970s through the 1980s.
Remained good friends with Gregory Harrison, during and after Trapper John, M.D. (1979).
He had several hobbies, including, swimming, reading, playing tennis, cooking, running, playing the guitar, singing & riding motorcycles.
Had appeared in each and every episode of Trapper John, M.D. (1979), with the exception of 1.
His son, Jonathan Christopher Roberts died in 1989 in a motorcycle accident.
Was reunited with his ex-Bonanza (co-star, Lorne Greene, for 2 episodes of Vega$ (1978).
His second ex-wife Judith Roberts guest-starred with him on an episode of Trapper John, M.D.
Pernell Roberts was the longest living Bonanza cast member, followed by Lorne Greene, who played his TV father in the series.
His ex-Bonanza co-star, Michael Landon, died of pancreatic cancer, the same disease Roberts succumbed to, years after.
Upon his death, he was cremated.
Met Peter Breck on one of the two episodes of The Big Valley (1965), where the two became friends until Roberts' own death in 2010.
Longtime friend of James Drury.
Attended Michael Landon's funeral, attended Lorne Greene's funeral and gave the eulogy at Victor Sen Yung's funeral.
Roberts appeared with his ex-Bonanza (1959) co-star's, Michael Landon's, former television daughter, Melissa Gilbert, in Donor (1990).
He was known to be a very private man.
I was teaching a Sunday school class at one of the churches in Waycross, Georgia, where I grew up. And the lesson dealt with equality and all of us being one under the eyes of God. All of a sudden it hit me!! This isn't true! The church was - is- the most segregated place one day a week there is in our country. And it's so ironical and so tragic that here's a philosophy which preaches and teaches human understanding and brotherly love and practices, in essence, the most vicious form of human relationship there is.
I'm never satisfied with my own work.
In 1979: I've never been career oriented. Did I even want to be a star? What's a star? Is that something in the heavens? That's the only definition that comes to my mind. And the most important goals in my life have been to move gently to be at ease with the mystery of what it's all about.
As we get older, we become more political in terms of survival. We realize a certain amount of cunning is necessary and that you just end up in a victim when you are totally honest in an environment where those around you aren't. It's a matter of remaining true to yourself while continuing to move forward. It's also a matter of learning to keep control of one's balance.
Pernell Roberts bio courtesy of January and A Ponderosa Pine. Click here to go to Pernell's Place. A Forum dedicated to the work of Pernell Roberts outside of Bonanza!
Blocker was born in De Kalb in East Texas, the son of Ora Shack Blocker & Mary Davis Blocker. His family moved to O'Donnell located in both Lynn and Dawson counties near Lubbock in west Texas soon after his birth. He attended Texas Military Institute and later graduated from Sul Ross State Teacher's College in Alpine, where he earned a master's degree in the dramatic arts. (The Hoss character was originally written as "lovable but slow-witted". Blocker however, was the only cast member with an advanced degree.). Despite playing the "middle son" on Bonanza, he and the actor who played his elder TV brother, Pernell Roberts, were born the same year. Blocker said that he portrayed the Hoss character with a Stephen Grellet excerpt in mind, "We shall pass this way on Earth but once, if there is any kindness we can show, or good act we can do, let us do it now, for we will never pass this way again."
Blocker held down various jobs as a high school English and Drama Teacher in Sonora, Texas, actor and rodeo performer. He reputedly worked as a bouncer in a beer joint while a student. By all accounts he is remembered from his school days for his size of 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) and weight of 300 pounds (136 kg), and as being good-natured despite his intimidating size.
Blocker was drafted and served in the Korean War. He later married Dolphia Parker, whom he had met while a student at Sul Ross State.
All of their four children's names begin with a 'D': actor Dirk Blocker and producer David Blocker, and twin daughters Debra Lee (who studied to be a hairdresser) and Danna Lynn. The actor once owned an authentic 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 (with the sought-after Z16 option) as Chevrolet was the commercial sponsor of the show. His Chevelle is now in private hands, and is sometimes displayed in car shows.
A Free Methodist, Blocker was among Hollywood celebrities who supported then U.S. Senator Eugene J. McCarthy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968. McCarthy's anti-war theme scuttled fellow Texan Lyndon B. Johnson's reelection bid, but the senator failed to draw more conservative Democrats. After McCarthy withdrew, Blocker then supported another Minnesotan, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey for the presidency against the Republican Richard M. Nixon. Blocker so opposed the Vietnam War that he uprooted his family in 1970, and moved to Switzerland in protest. He kept a house in Inglewood, California and commuted to NBC. His 6,000-square foot Tudor style mansion in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles is currently owned by Rob Zombie.  On a television interview Zombie claims to have had encounters with Blocker's ghost, though he may have been joking.
He received partial ownership in a successful chain of Ponderosa/Bonanza Steakhouses in exchange for serving (in character as Hoss) as their commercial spokesman and making personal appearances at franchises. Though not as widespread as they once were, a few of the restaurants still remain.
In 1972, Blocker died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism following routine gall bladder surgery in Los Angeles. The cast and crew of Bonanza were shaken by his death, and the writers took the then-unusual step of referencing a major character's death in the show's storyline that autumn. It is speculated, however, that the loss of the show's most affectionate character hastened its end. Bonanza lasted another season, but the final season in which Blocker did not appear is the least-requested in reruns.
Blocker is buried in a family plot in DeKalb, although he lived there only briefly. The common gravesite is marked by a plain stone with the name "BLOCKER" engraved, and three family members are buried beside him.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announcer Jim Ross affectionately calls many of the bigger wrestlers "Hoss" in honor of Blocker's character from Bonanza.
Stanley Kubrick attempted to cast Blocker in his film Dr. Strangelove, after Peter Sellers backed out of playing the role of Major T.J. "King" Kong, but according to the film's co-writer, Terry Southern, Blocker's agent rejected the script as being "too pinko". The role subsequently went to Slim Pickens.
Blocker also appeared in the Three Stooges short Outer Space Jitters in 1957, playing the part of "The Goon," billed as 'Don Blocker.' He appeared in an episode of Walt Disney's Zorro, "The Señorita Makes a Choice," in 1958. In 1968, Blocker starred with Frank Sinatra in Lady In Cement.
Robert Altman befriended Blocker while directing episodes of Bonanza. Years later, he cast Blocker as Roger Wade in The Long Goodbye. Unfortunately, Blocker died before filming commenced. The role went to Sterling Hayden, and the film was dedicated to Blocker.
Biography by weavereb Source: Wikipedia
Click here to go to Dan's Block. A forum dedicated to Dan Blocker and his work outside of Bonanza.
Landon was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz in Forest Hills, a neighborhood of Queens, New York. Landon's father, Eli Maurice Orowitz, was a Jewish American actor and movie theater manager, and his mother, Kathleen Ignatius O’Neill, was an Irish American Roman Catholic dancer and comedienne. Eugene was the Orowitz' second child; his sister, Evelyn, was born three years earlier. In 1941, when Orowitz was 4 years old, he and his family moved to Collingswood, New Jersey, where he later attended Collingswood High School.
Life at home was anything but pleasant for young Landon. His parents would often speak to each other through him, saying such things as "Tell your father that dinner is ready." and "Tell your mother that I'll be there in a minute."
In addition to his parents’ refusal to speak to one another, Landon bore a terrible secret; he was a bed wetter. His mother would hang his soiled bedsheets in an effort to humiliate her son. Landon would later draw on this experience for the made-for-television movie The Loneliest Runner.
Michael also had to bear the burden of living with his mother's constant suicidal tendencies. He would often find his mother sticking her head in the oven.
After changing his name to Landon (selected from a phone book) he soon became one of the more popular and enduring young actors of the late 1950s, making his first appearance in The Mystery of Casper Hauser. This part led to other roles such as: I Was A Teenage Werewolf, Crossroads, The Rifleman, Fight For The Title, The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Wire Service, Telephone Time, General Electric Theater, The Court of Last Resort, The Tales of Wells Fargo, Johnny Risk, and The Legend of Tom Dooley, among many others.
In 1959, at age 22, Landon had his first starring TV role as Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza, one of the first TV series to be broadcast in color. Also starring on the show were Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, and Dan Blocker. Landon's character was the green, cocky youngest Cartwright brother. The character evolved into a "ladies' man". During Bonanza's sixth season (1964-1965), the show topped the Nielsen Ratings and remained number one for three years. Landon, a southpaw, often performed his own stunts. Receiving more fan mail than any other cast member, the young actor successfully coaxed the powers-that-be to allow him to write and direct some episodes. It was a smart move, as he spent the next twenty plus years as one of television's most successful talents. In 1962, he wrote his first script. In 1968, he directed his first episode. In 1993, TV Guide listed Little Joe's September 1972 wedding episode, as one of TV's most memorable specials. Landon's script fondly recalled brother Hoss, who was initially the story's groom, before Dan Blocker's untimely death. During its final season, Bonanza declined in the ratings and NBC cancelled it in October 1972. Its last episode aired on January 16, 1973. Along with Lorne Greene, Landon appeared in all 14 seasons of the western. Michael Landon was loyal to many of his Bonanza associates including producer Kent McCray, director William F. Claxton, and composer David Rose, who remained with him throughout Bonanza as well as Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven.
In 1962 Landon released a Bonanza related single, Gimme A Little Kiss/Be Patient With Me, on Columbia Records.
Little House On The Prairie
The year after Bonanza was canceled, Landon went on to star in the pilot of what would become another successful television series, Little House on the Prairie, again for NBC. The show was taken from a 1935 book that was published by Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose character in the show was played by then-unknown actress, Melissa Gilbert. In addition to Gilbert, two other unknown actresses also starred on the show: Melissa Sue Anderson who appeared as Mary Ingalls, the oldest daughter in the Ingalls family, and Karen Grassle, as Charles's wife, Caroline Ingalls. Landon served as executive producer, writer, and director of Little House, making him a driving force in Hollywood. The show, a success in its first season, emphasized family values and relationships. Little House became Landon's second-longest running series. Above all, the entire cast shared a close bond with Landon, especially Gilbert.
As Little House on the Prairie executive producer, Landon hired three sets of real-life siblings to appear on the show: Melissa and Jonathan Gilbert; Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush; and Matthew and Patrick Labyorteaux. Patrick appeared on Little House from 1977 to 1981 as Jonathan Garvey's son, Andy. Years later, he appeared as Bud Roberts in the hit series JAG, which ran for 10 years.
Landon's real-life son, Michael, appeared as Jim in the episode The Election and his real-life daughter, Leslie, also appeared in that episode as well as playing a plague victim in The Plague, an episode from the show's premiere season. Leslie would later appear as a dishwasher who befriends Laura in the season eight episode A Wiser Heart, and was cast as school teacher Etta Plum during the show's final season.
Tremendously popular with viewers, the show was nominated for several Emmy and Golden Globe awards. After eight seasons, Little House was retooled by NBC in 1982 as Little House: A New Beginning, which focused on the Wilder family and the Walnut Grove community. Though Landon remained the shows executive producer, director and writer, A New Beginning did not feature Charles and Caroline Ingalls. The New Beginning was actually the final chapter of Little House, as the series ended the show's run in 1983. The following year, three made-for-television movies followed, which served as the unofficial tenth season of Little House.
Gilbert said that her mentor Landon became a second father to her when she lost her own dad at age 11. When not working on the Little House set, Gilbert spent many weekends at Landon's home. In 1981, when Gilbert was 17, she briefly dated Michael Landon Jr., who took her to her prom. After the series ended, Gilbert stayed connected with Michael Sr. for the next 8 years, until his death. After Landon's passing, she named her son, Michael Garrett Boxleitner (1995), after him.
Landon teamed up with Oscar-winner Paul Newman, and First Lady Nancy Reagan, for a drug abuse foundation called, Just Say No.
Highway to Heaven
After producing both the Father Murphy TV series and a movie, Sam's Son, Landon went on to star in another successful television series. On Highway to Heaven, he played Jonathan Smith, a probationary angel whose job was to help people in order to earn his angel wings. His co-star on the show was Victor French (who previously co-starred on Landon's Little House on the Prairie) as ex-cop, Mark Gordon. NBC didn't feel the show would last very long, but it too proved to be another hit for Landon. This was also the first religious fantasy drama series, starting a specialized sub genre which included later shows such as Touched By An Angel. On Highway, Landon served as executive producer, writer and director of the show. Though Landon liked directing and writing more than acting, he continued to act because actors were paid more, and his top-billing enticed network executives to buy his series.. Highway to Heaven was the only show throughout his long career in television that he owned outright.
By 1985, prior to hiring his son Michael Landon Jr. as a member of his camera crew, he also brought real-life cancer patients and disabled people to the set. His decision to work with disabled people led him to hire a couple of adults with disabilities to write episodes for Highway to Heaven.
By its fifth season, Highway took a nose dive in the ratings, and in June 1989, co-star Victor French died of lung cancer. French's death contributed to the shows subsequent cancellation. Landon invited his youngest daughter Jennifer Landon to take part in the final episode.
Landon was married three times.
* Dodie Levy-Fraser (married in March 1956. Landon filed for divorce in March 1962 and the divorce became final in December 1962)
* Mark Fraser Landon, born October 1, 1948 (adopted)
* Josh Fraser Landon, born February 11, 1960 (adopted)
* Jason Samuel (Landon) Smith, born May 13, 1961 (adopted)
* Marjorie Lynn Noe (married on January 12, 1963/divorced 1982)
* Leslie Ann Landon, born October 11, 1962 (Has a Ph.D. in psychology, and is now a therapist, specializing in children dealing with loss. She is married, and has four children, Rachel Lynn (b. 25 October 1993), Justin Michael (b. 31 May 1995), Catherine (b. 2000), and Joseph (b. 2 February 2002).
* Michael Landon Jr., born June 20, 1964
* Shawna Leigh Landon, born December 4, 1971
* Christopher Beau Landon, born February 27, 1975
(Landon at one point attempted to adopt Lynn's daughter, Cheryl Ann Pontrelli, from her first marriage, but the child's birth father wouldn't allow it.)
* Cindy Clerico (married on February 14, 1983)
* Jennifer Rachel Landon, born August 29, 1983. (Jennifer is now an Emmy-winning actress starring as Gwen Norbeck Munson on the soap opera, As the World Turns.)
* Sean Matthew Landon, born August 5, 1986
His second marriage, to Marjorie Lynn Noe, ended in a bitter and public divorce in 1982. Landon had left Noe in 1980 when he met and became involved with Cindy Clerico. The final divorce decree did not address the division of assets, and so there was a separate battle over the division of the couple's community property that took two years to settle and ended up costing Landon more than US$26 million in 1982. She helped form a vocal Hollywood ex-wives association that included the former wives of Andy Griffith, Ken Berry, Don Knotts and Robert Goulet, entitled LADIES (Life After Divorce Is Eventually Sane). Defending himself in interviews, Landon replied, "Nobody's perfect. Not Charles Ingalls. Not Michael Landon.". Many fans felt betrayed by Landon, who had always played morally upstanding characters on television. Kodak Film suddenly dropped him as their official spokesperson without fanfare.
In February 1959, Landon's father died of a heart attack. In 1973, his stepdaughter, Cheryl was involved in a serious car accident. She was hospitalized in a coma. Three years later in 1976, Cheryl suffered bouts of depression and became addicted to painkillers. In March 1981, Landon's mother, Peggy O'Neill, died.
In the 1983, Landon co-produced an NBC "true story" television movie, Love Is Forever, starring himself and Laura Gemser, which tells of Australian photojournalist John Everingham's successful attempt to scuba dive under the Mekong to rescue his lover from communist ruled Laos in 1977.
After the cancellation of Highway to Heaven and before his eventual move to CBS Landon wrote the teleplay and directed Where Pidgeons go to Die (TV movie). Based on a novel of the same name, the film starred Art Carney and was nominated for two Emmy awards.
Landon's shows were all on NBC, but after ending Highway, he moved to CBS and in 1991 starred in a two hour pilot called Us. This was meant to be another series for Landon, but on April 5, he was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, an inoperable pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver and lymph nodes. On April 8, 1991, he appeared at a press conference to speak of his illness promising to do the best that he could to fight the cancer. On May 9, 1991, he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to speak of his illness and to publicly condemn the tabloid press for their sensational headlines and inaccurate stories, including the claim that he and his wife were trying to have another child. Less than 2 months later, on July 1, 1991, Landon died in Malibu, California, at the age of 54.
A community building at Malibu's Bluffs Park was named The Michael Landon Center following the actor's death.
He was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. Cindy and Michael's family were joined by 500 other mourners including former President Ronald Reagan (with whom Michael had once chopped wood) and his wife Nancy. Merlin Olsen, Ernest Borgnine, Brian Keith and many of Michael's co-stars, such as Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson, were present. Although Michael's first wife, Dodie, accompanied her two sons to the funeral, his second wife, Lynn, was absent. When asked why she didn't attend the funeral of the man she'd once shared nearly twenty years together, she would reply that she grieved Michael's death years before, when they were divorced.
After his death, Landon was again on the covers of weekly tabloids when his stepdaughter, Cheryl, alleged that he had made some last-minute changes to his will that gave a larger portion of his estate to his wife, Cindy, and their two children. Michael Landon has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 N. Vine Street. In 1998, he was inducted posthumously into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Landon had a lot of hobbies over the years: fishing, karate, spending family time, painting, creating , building mosaic coffee tables, playing bridge, golfing, swimming, weightlifting, cooking, playing tennis, water skiing and hang gliding. According to the A&E Biography, he also spent a lot of time with disabled children and adults. On an episode of Highway, Landon's character took them to the Special Olympics, including a special needs man, who felt he couldn't do anything, when he can fix things to make them right.
Following Landon's death, his son, Michael Jr., produced a memorial special, Michael Landon: Memories with Laughter and Love, featuring the actor's friends and co-stars. Bonanza co-star David Canary said that one word that described Landon was "fearless" in his dealings with network brass. TV daughter Melissa Gilbert said that the actor made her feel "incredibly safe" and that he was "paternal." One of Landon's trademarks was his signature "cascading chuckle," as the actor loved practical jokes. Often cited was his bizarre sense of humor, which included having toads leap from his mouth and dressing as a superhero to visit a pizza parlor. Replaying a 1988 "Tonight Show" episode, Johnny Carson related how the actor took him to a restaurant after Carson accidentally ran over a cat. Landon had a fake menu made that had variations of the word cat woven into many of the courses.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The biography listed above was found at:
Biography by weavereb
Click here to go to Mike's Little House. A forum dedicated to Mike Landon's work outside of Bonanza!
David Canary grew up and attended high school in Massillon, Ohio, playing football for the famed Massillon Tigers of Washington High School before earning a football scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, where he trained as a singer and became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. Soon acting became his goal, following college performances and summer stock shows.
After a semi-regular role as a doctor in the prime time serial Peyton Place, Canary first came to prominence in 1967 on the Western series Bonanza.
The year 1967 was very good to Canary and his resume. Canary did the classic western movie Hombre with Paul Newman and Cameron Mitchell, guest starred in a two-part Gunsmoke episode, and played a mobster with Jason Robards in the movie, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
A contract dispute that year between Leonard Nimoy and the producers of Star Trek forced Herb Solow, Robert H. Justman and Gene Roddenberry to compile a list of candidates for consideration as replacements for Mr. Spock. As revealed in Solow and Justman's book, Star Trek - The Inside Story, Canary was one of the "A List" candidates. When David Dortort ("Bonanza", "High Chaparral", "The Cowboys", and "Ponderosa" creator/ producer) was looking for a new Ponderosa foreman, he saw Canary in Hombre and cast him in the role. Canary left Bonanza in 1970 after a contract dispute with the show's producers. He would return after co-star Dan Blocker's May 1972 death. Canary said that he loved Bonanza, except for the on-location Nevada filming in over 100 degree heat.
In 1981, he assumed the role of Steve Frame on the soap opera Another World. However, the effort to revive the Steve/Alice/Rachel triangle was largely unsuccessful and Canary left the show in 1983, after the character of Steve Frame was killed off in a car crash.
That same year, he joined the cast of All My Children in the role of the cunning Adam Chandler. The following year, he was also cast as Adam's meek -- perhaps developmentally-challenged -- twin brother, Stuart. He has played the twins since (and as per SAG stipulations, gets paid double for performing two parts).
Additional daytime television roles have included the part of a cult leader on The Doctors and a role on Search for Tomorrow. Other prime time guest appearances include: Alias Smith and Jones, Kung-Fu, Hawaii Five-0, S.W.A.T., Primus, Remember WENN, and Touched By An Angel.
He has won five Daytime Emmy Awards as 'Outstanding Lead Actor', and has been nominated an additional eleven times, most recently in 2008 for Best Lead Actor. A baritone, Canary has performed in such musicals as, "Man of La Mancha", "Sweeny Todd", "Kismet" and "Carousel", as well as performing in dramatic pieces such as "The Seagul", and the one man play "Clarence Darrow". Canary's favorite stage performance was when he did Tennessee Williams' Broadway production of "Clothes for a Summer Hotel" with Geraldine Page.
Canary is known to be most affable and accessible to fans of both All My Children and Bonanza. At Disney resorts, he has done "meet and greet" appearances signing autographs for AMC fans. The actor has also made several appearances at the Lake Tahoe site of the Ponderosa ranch, a tourist attraction from 1967-2004.
The actor also appeared as the locomotive engineer in the movie Atomic Train.
In 2004, he appeared as mathematical genius Robert in a well-reviewed production of David Auburn's Proof (play) in Canton, OH, near his hometown of Massillon.
Canary is married to actress Maureen Maloney, with whom he has a son, Chris, and a daughter, Kate. He is the middle son of Hilary and Lorena Canary. His brothers are actor John Canary, who once had a role on All My Children and writer H. Glenn Canary (1934-2008). The brothers are descended from folk figure Calamity Jane, also known as Martha Jane Canary ("Bonanza Gold", April 2006).
David Canary Bio by weavereb
picture collage by January
Click here to go to Canary's Nest. A forum dedicated to David Canary and his work outside of Bonanza!