Victor Sen Yung Biography

Date of Birth
18 October 1915, San Francisco, California, USA

Date of Death
1 November 1980, North Hollywood, California, USA (accidental asphyxiation)

Birth Name
Sen Yung

5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Biography
Achieving both film and TV notice during his lengthy career, this diminutive Asian-American character was born Sen Yew Cheung on October 18, 1915 in San Francisco of humble Chinese émigrés. When his mother died during the flu epidemic of 1919, his father placed Victor and his sister in a children's shelter and returned to his homeland. He arrived back in America in the mid-20s having remarried, and the children were released back to his guardianship where they began learning Chinese. To contribute to the family income, young Sen Yung was employed as a houseboy at age 11 and managed to earn his way through college at the University of California at Berkeley with an interest in animal husbandry and receiving a degree in economics.

Following a move to Hollywood for some post graduate work at UCLA and USC, Victor gained an entrance into films via extra work, where he was in such roles as a peasant boy in _Good Earth, The (1937), and a soldier in Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938), among others. During this early period he also worked as a salesman for a chemical firm. In one of Hollywood's more interesting tales of being "discovered", the story goes that Victor was on the Twentieth Century-Fox studio lot at the time trying to pitch one of his company's flame retardant compounds to industry techies when one of them suggested he check out casting. The original Charlie Chan, Warner Oland, had passed away and the series was undergoing a major casting overhaul. In the end, Sidney Toler, who was replacing the late Mr. Oland and received cast approval, chose the fledgling actor following a screen test to play his #2 son, Jimmy Chan, for the film Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938). Victor went on to play the role for seventeen other "Charlie Chan" features. Needless, to say he quit the sales business for good.

Victor enjoyed playing Jimmy, the earnest rookie detective who, to his chagrin, was always under the watchful eye of his famous father while trying to help solve murder cases. Outside the role, however, Victor (billed as Sen Yung, Victor Yung and Victor Sen Yung at different times) found the atmosphere oppressive. Usually cast in nothing-special Asian stereotypes, sometimes villainous, in war-era films, parts in such movies as The Letter (1940) starring Bette Davis, _Secret Agent of Japan (1942), Little Tokyo, U.S.A. (1942), Moontide (1942), Across the Pacific (1942), Manila Calling (1942), China (1943) and Night Plane from Chungking (1943), did little to advance his stature in Hollywood. His career was interrupted for U.S. Air Force duty as a Captain of Intelligence during WWII. His part in the Chan pictures was taken over by actor Benson Fong.

Victor was able to pick up where he left off in Hollywood following the war and returned to his famous role as #2 son. The character's name, however, was eventually changed from "Jimmy" to "Tommy" after a third installment of Charlie Chan pictures were filmed with Roland Winters now the title sleuth after the passing of Mr. Toler in 1947. While Victor's workload was fairly steady, again the roles themselves were meager and hardly inspiring. Most were in "B" level crime mysteries and war pictures and many were accepted with no screen credit at all. Reduced often to playing middle-age servile roles (houseboys, laundrymen, valets, clerks, dock workers and waiters), some of his slightly more prominent roles include those in Woman on the Run (1950), Forbidden (1953), Target Hong Kong (1953), and Trader Tom of the China Seas (1954). His last film appearance was in Sam Marlow, Private Eye (1980).

On TV, Victor appeared in two familiar recurring roles. On the John Forsythe series "Bachelor Father" (1957), he showed up as "Peter Fong" on the final season of the sitcom. He played the cousin to houseboy Sammee Tong's regular character. Victor is better remembered, however, for the part of Hop Sing, the earnest, volatile cook to the Cartwright clan, provided sporadic comic relief on the long-running "Bonanza" (1959) western series. He also appeared in the TV pilot and in several episodes of the popular philosophical western series "Kung Fu" (1972), as well as popping up in dramatic episodes of "Hawaiian Eye", "The F.B.I. and "Hawaii 5-0". Sitcoms gave a hint of his gentle, humorous side in "Here's Lucy", "Get Smart" and "Mister Ed", but there was not a single role that truly improved his standing in Hollywood.

Married and divorced with one child, Victor was looking for work outside of acting by the mid-1970s. At one point he was giving cooking demonstrations in department stores. An accomplished chef who specialized in Cantonese-style cooking, he wrote the 1974 Great Wok Cookbook and dedicated the book to his father, Sen Gam Yung. Victor was working on a second cookbook when he was suddenly found dead in November of 1980 under initially "mysterious circumstances" in his modest San Fernando Valley bungalow. Following an investigation it was determined that Victor was accidentally asphyxiated in his sleep after turning on a faulty kitchen stove for heat. He was survived by his son and two grandchildren.
Biography by catlover0908

Tim Matheson ~ Bio

Tim Matheson
tim m.jpg
tim m.jpg (52.4 KiB) Viewed 4744 times

Tim Matheson is an American actor, producer, and director. He is well known for his portrayal of the smooth-talking Eric "Otter" Stratton in National Lampoon's Animal House, and Vice President John Hoynes in the NBC drama, The West Wing.

Timothy Lewis Matthieson, the son of Clifford and Sally Matthieson, was born on December 31, 1947 in Glendale, California. He landed his first acting job at the age of thirteen playing Roddy Miller in Robert Young's CBS series, Window on Main Street, (1961).

tim 1.jpg
tim 1.jpg (15.07 KiB) Viewed 4745 times
tim 2.jpg
tim 2.jpg (26.87 KiB) Viewed 4745 times

While still in high school, Tim appeared in many well-known TV series, including My Three Sons and Leave it to Beaver. He also worked as a voice artist, providing the voice of Jonny for the cartoon series The Adventures of Jonny Quest. When Tim finished high school he went to California State University to study psychology. He got many offers of work from TV Studios, and Tim soon realized that acting was the only career he really wanted. He left college to study at the Actors and Directors Lab in Los Angeles for two years.

Tim's first movie was Divorce American Style (1967), starring Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds. A year later he appeared in the movie Yours Mine and Ours starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda.
tim 3.png
tim 3.png (230.23 KiB) Viewed 4745 times

That's Tim standing next to Henry Fonda.
Recognize the younger red-headed boy waving at the bottom of the pic?

:whisper It's Mitch Vogel!

In 1969, he joined the NBC's "The Virginian" in its eighth season as Jim Horn.

tim 4.jpg
tim 4.jpg (25.84 KiB) Viewed 4745 times

In 1972, Tim signed on to "Bonanza" to play young cowhand Griff King, a role created by the network to lure younger viewers to the show which was slipping in the ratings. He appeared in 15 episodes before Bonanza went off the air.

tim 5.jpg
tim 5.jpg (9.84 KiB) Viewed 4744 times

Tim made many guest appearances on hit TV shows including Hawaii Five-0, The Magician, and Ironside. In 1976, he appeared with Kurt Russell in the 15 episode NBC series The Quest. Tim was also on stage in San Francisco and New York in producctions of True West and Bus Stop.

tim 6.jpg
tim 6.jpg (25.64 KiB) Viewed 4744 times

In 1978, Tim auditioned for a role in a comedy movie called National Lampoon's Animal House. The producers wanted him to play one of the no-nonsense, straight-laced Omegas. He adamantly refused, saying, "I'm tired of playing it straight," and sought a role as one of the hard-partying, fun-loving"Deltas. Tim succeeded, and became Otter, one of the most fun-loving Deltas of the whole film. For years after playing this role, Tim had to explain to disappointed fans that, no, that was only a character he played, and he couldn't really offer them advice on their love life!

tim 7.jpg
tim 7.jpg (21.69 KiB) Viewed 4743 times

By the mid 80's, Tim was making several movies a year covering the gamut from comedies to thrillers, science fiction, and romance. In 1985, he made his debut as a director with an episode of NBC's St. Elsewhere. Tim also directed episodes of White Collar, Third Watch, The Twilight Zone, Without a Trace, Criminal Minds, and several other TV shows.

tim 8.jpg
tim 8.jpg (68.17 KiB) Viewed 4743 times

In 1999, Tim was cast in the role of Vice President John Hoynes in the NBC's drama The West Wing. He appeared in the first four and final seasons, and directed the episode, "The Last Hurrah". This role earned Tim two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2002 and 2003.

tim 9.jpg
tim 9.jpg (22.18 KiB) Viewed 4742 times

In 2009, Tim directed the pilot episode of"Covert Affairs, which premiered on USA Networks in 2010. He also directed the pilot eps of The Good Guys, Criminal Behavior, and Wild Card. In 2011, Tim joined the cast of The CW Network series, Hart of Dixie playing Dr Brick Breeland in 70 episodes. (2011 - 2015).

tim 10.jpg
tim 10.jpg (42.03 KiB) Viewed 4742 times

Tim has been married twice, first to Jennifer Leak who co-stared with him in Yours, Mine, and Ours. The marriage lasted from 1968 to 1971. He remarried Megan Murphy Matheson in 1985 and divorced in 2010. The couple has three children: Molly Lewis Matheson, (b 1987), Emma Katherine Matheson, (b 1988) and Cooper Timothy Matheson, (b 1994).

Although Tim is a vegetarian, he is an avid deer hunter. He also served in the USMC Reserves, in 1969. Tim currently lives in Santa Barbara, California.

tim 11.png
tim 11.png (193.54 KiB) Viewed 4742 times

He's aged rather well, don't you think?
Tim Mathison Bio by Gillie

Friends Bio ~ Bern Hoffman: Sam The Bartender

Bernard "Bern" Hoffman
Alias: "Sam the Bartender"



The man we all know as "Sam the Bartender" was born Bernard "Bern" Hoffman, on February 17, 1913, in Baltimore, Maryland. Bern was an athlete in college, where he studied to be a doctor. Bern's life ended up quite differently, however. Along the way, he even became an explosives expert in World War II!

Although you know Bern as character actor, he actually got his start as a Broadway "song and dance man." Hoffman began his career in 1938, appearing in a series of uncredited roles. He made his debut with Jan Kiepra and Martha Eggerth in the 1944 revival of "The Merry Widow." That same year, Bern was signed by Producer Mike Todd to play the part of "Pugacheff," one of Mae West's leading men in "Catherine Was Great." On tour, he played Pawnee Bill opposite Mary Martin, in "Annie Get Your Gun." (c. 1952)

In 1956, Bern returned to Broadway in the part of Eddie Benaro in "The Hot Corner." When the original Broadway production of "Guys and Dolls" opened up at the St. James Theater in New York City, Bern enjoyed a record-breaking run as singer Joey Biltmore. He also acted in the musical production "Lend An Ear."

It was also in this year that Bern created the role of "Earthquake McGoon" in the Broadway version of "L'il Abner." It was a move that would change his life, forever.

Although he went on to other, higher profile acting ventures, he returned to the stage in 1962, touring the country as Fatso O'Rear in "Do Re Mi."

"L'il Abner" was based on Al Capp's comic strip. The show opened on November 15, 1956, and had a moderately successful run of 693 performances. Choreographer Michael Kidd and female lead Edie Adams (Daisy Mae) won Tony awards, and the male lead, newcomer Peter Palmer (L'il Abner) won the Theater World Award.

The cast recorded an album. He can be seen below, in the recording studio.



Bern played the part of Erik Torp, opposite George Raft, in the moody mystery drama "Nocturne," in 1946. Produced by longtime Alfred Hitchcock associate Joan Harrison, it was a big money maker for R.K.O.


Here, we see Bern in an uncredited role as a wrestler in the film "The Naked City." (1948)

Bern has worked with some of the big names in Hollywood, in addition to George Raft. He appeared as a singer with Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Vera-Ellen and Ann Miller in "On the Town," (1949) and with Henry Fonda and Leslie Caron as the Soprano in "The Man Who Understood Women." (1959) Bern had a part as a bartender alongside Ray Walston, Dean Martin, Kim Novak and Felicia Farr in "Kiss Me, Stupid," in 1964. (You might remember Felicia, she played Joe's mother in "Marie, My Love.") He also acted with Ralph Bellamy (in the part of the Russian Premier) in the TV movie "Missiles of October," in 1974.

In the 1960's, Bern settled in North Hollywood.
There, he recreated his role for Paramount, in a movie version of L'il Abner.

Is this really you, Sam???

The entire movie can be seen on TMC, and is also available for viewing, online.
Here is a blooper reel, which provides a good sampling of the talents you never knew "Sam" had.
No entertainment needed in the bar-Sam could have provided it all-all by himself!
Keep an eye on the graphics, to catch the "bloopers."


Bern went on to make other movies, and work with other big names: Richard Burton and Barbara Rush in "The Bramble Bush" (1960) and Robert Wagner in "Don't Just Stand There." (1968)

Hoffman's first Bonanza appearance was as a fisherman in the 1963 ep "A Woman Lost:"

His name is included in the credits for a total of thirteen episodes, between the years 1963 and 1971. In some, he is merely listed as "bartender." In "Little Man, Ten Feet Tall," (1963) he is actually credited as "Bernie the Bartender!" His first appearance as "Sam" came in "The Gentleman From New Orleans," in 1964.

Bruno VeSota took over the role of Sam the Bartender, during the '65-'69 seasons. Actor Remo Pisani also was seen as bartender for the '68 - '70 seasons.

In addition to his Bonanza appearances, Bern acted in hundreds of other popular television shows, between 1949 and 1976. One series, "Major Dell Conway of the Flying Tigers," was about an American secret agent, posing as a pilot for the Flying Tigers airline. Bern played the real-life character of Caribou Jones, a member of an exclusive pre-World War II unit whose mission was to shoot down Japanese planes, in order to protect the Chinese from being invaded. Sadly, the 1951 series is now believed to be completely lost.

Among Bern's other shows were: "Studio One In Hollywood," (1949) "The Phil Silvers Show," (1955, 1956, and 1957) "Laredo," (1965) "Lost in Space," (1967) "Bewitched," (1967) "Ironside," (1973) "Streets of San Francisco," (1973, 1974) and "The Brady Bunch." (1974)

Bern passed away in a hospital in Sherman Oaks, California, on December 15, 1979, after a prolonged illness. He was 66 years old.

For those of you who would care to remember Bern in a personal way,
you can visit his grave
in Mount Sinai Memorial Park, in Los Angeles.



Bern as Thor, in "Lost in Space" (1967)

L'il Abner (1959)

"Kiss Me, Stupid!" (1964)


Bernard Hoffman Bio and images courtesy of Joe'sGal

Ray Teal Bio

Ray Teal was born on January 12, 1902, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

At 5’11”, Ray, a musician, worked his way through college
playing the sax in local bands. At UCLA in the 1920s, he formed
his own band and led it until 1936.

Ray was one of the more versatile character actors in the business.
In his almost 40-year career, he played everything from cops to gunfighters to sheriffs to gangsters to judges.
He’d play a kindly grandfather in one film and a heartless, sadistic killer in the next,
and Ray was equally believable in both roles.

After appearing in several films in minor bit parts,
he won a more substantial role in 1938’s Western Jamboree, a Gene Autry film.

Tracycap from Western Jamboree, 1938
In 1940, he had a bigger part in the Spencer Tracy adventure Northwest Passage (Book I: Rogers' Rangers) as one of Rogers' Rangers, and below, he plays Little John in The Bandit of Sherwood Forest. The film also starred Cornel Wilde and Edgar Buchanan.
Ray is in the back, right of the picture!

cap from The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, 1946
Roy plated a nasty man in 1946's The Best Years of Our Lives, with Myrna Loy and Dana Andrews.
Ray does look snappy in his suit!

Ray made many television appearances, including Our Miss Brooks in 1954.

Tracycap from Our Miss Brooks, 1954

Ray won the role of one of the judges in the 1961 movie, Judgement At Nuremberg.This movie has an all-star cast that includes Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift and William Shatner.

Tracycap from Judgement At Nuremberg, 1961
Ray co-starred in 96 episodes of Bonanza from 1960 until 1972.
He won the hearts of fans as Sheriff Roy Coffee, lawman of Virginia City and loyal friend to the Cartwrights.

In Ray in "No Less A Man

Tracycap from No Less A Man
The Legacy, an episode that explores loss, revenge, and a man's character is one of Roy's shorter, yet best performances.


Ray Teal died of natural causes on April 2, 1976, at the age of 74.
Ray Teal bio by Tracy

Bing Russell Bio

Bing Russell

CastCap by Cal Bing in Branded

He was born Neil Oliver Russell in Brattleboro, Vermont on May 5, 1926. Russell had two loves: acting and baseball. He made his film debut in 1951 in an un-credited role, but then went on to be in hundreds of films and television shows during his forty-year acting career. Some of his film credits included Rio Bravo (1959), Tango & Cash (1989) and even managed to work in several films with his son, Kurt. He married Louise Julia Crone in 1946 and was with her until he died. They had four children: Jill, Jamie, Jody and Kurt. Bing Russell died of cancer on April 8, 2003 in Thousand Oaks, California.

From 1961 to 1973, he was in fifty-five Bonanza episodes. Before assuming the role of Deputy Clem Foster we see him as Poindexter in The Long Night and as a corrupt Calvary officer in The Honor Of Cochise but once he came to Virginia City in 1963 as a law officer, he stayed. We first see him in Half a Rogue and see him last in The Bucket Dog. We see him once as a different sheriff in The Other Son, but I don't think we were supposed to recognize him. He is an honest and fair officer and one that the Cartwrights are proud to call friend.

CastCap by Cal Deputy Clem Foster

As a child in Florida, Bing watched spring training at the Yankees facility in St. Petersburg, Fl. One day in 1935 at age 9 he outraced other kids for a foul ball only to have to fight them off to keep it. Lefty Gomez, the ace of the Yankees' pitching staff, noticed the kids scuffling, picked up Bing by the collar and said, "Kid, you'll never have to fight for a ball the rest of your life." From then on Bing was their bat boy.

CastCap by Cal Bing and Kurt Russell on the ballfield

Bing maintained a long and varied association with baseball throughout his life, including playing professional minor league baseball in 1948 and later owning the only independent team in the Class A Northwest League - the Portland Mavericks. In 1974 he was named Minor League Executive of the Year and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for his work as a minor league executive. Russell had created a park without corporate sponsorship. His June try-outs were always open to anyone that showed up. He hired the first female general manager in professional baseball, and hired the first Asian American General Manager. His team set a record for the highest attendance in Minor league history, and went on to win the pennant that year.

Bing Russell Bio by Calamity

Guy Williams Bio

Guy Williams


Born - January 14th 1924

Date of Death - April 30th 1989

Spouse - Janice Cooper (divorced) 2 children

Guy Williams was born Armand Catalano in New York on January 14, 1924, He attended Peekskill Military High School but had little interest in his studies. Wanting to be an actor, his good looks and 6'3" frame helped him land work as a model in the 1940s. His photographs appeared in a number of ads for products in magazines such as Harper's Bazaar. When he wasn't on a modeling assignment, Williams studied drama. He met fellow model Janice Cooper while on a shoot, and the couple married a short time later. With the rise of television, Williams began doing television commercials in New York in the late 1940s, and in the early 1950s, he moved to Hollywood and was put under contract by Universal.

After a year at Universal, Williams had appeared in only a few films, including Bonzo Goes to College (1952; with Maureen O'Sullivan and Charles Drake) and The Man from the Alamo (1953; with Glenn Ford and Julie Adams). In 1953, he left Universal and freelanced, working in films for Allied Artists and Warner Brothers, and building his TV resume.

In 1957, Disney executives who were casting for the proposed Zorro TV series spotted Williams in a small role in the American International release I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957; with Whit Bissell and Michael Landon). Williams was put under contract by Disney and began shooting episodes of the series. The series lasted from 1957 through 1959, and two films---actually edited episodes of the series--were released: The Sign of Zorro (1958) and Zorro, the Avenger (1960). Although the series was very popular, a dispute between Disney and ABC forced the series off the air. Disney kept Williams under contract through 1961, in case the dispute was resolved.


Guy was handed fully-bearded heroes to play in a couple of fantasy film adventures. He portrayed Damon in the costumer Damon and Pythias (1962) With the exception of The Prince and the Pauper (1962), Williams had little work for two years, and therefore he asked to be let out of the contract. he then headed for Europe and made a couple of films.


Guy Williams appeared in several episodes of “Bonanza” playing Will Cartwright.


The cult sci-fi series "Lost in Space" (1965) would be Guy's last hurrah in show business. Although overshadowed extensively by the nefariously campy antics of Jonathan Harris' Dr. Smith character, Guy nevertheless provided a strong anchor to the family show, which included June Lockhart as the silver-suited wife and mother of his three intergalactic offspring. Battling aliens and the forces of nature, the show's popularity went stratospheric at first. However, much like "Batman" (1966), it faded very quickly and ended up having a short life--three seasons.


After Lost in Space left the air in 1968, Guy Williams decided to retire from acting and pursue other interests. After a 1973 trip to Argentina, Williams fell in love with the country and lived there from time to time. On April 30, 1989, Williams was found dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of natural causes. He was survived by his wife, son, and daughter.


An avid fencer (obviously) and chess player, he also played the guitar, was a wonderful cook and was an expert on tropical fish.

He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.


Guy Williams Bio by nyspats

Roy Engel Bio

Roy Engel
Born on September 13, 1913, in New York City
No Personal information was found.

Roy appeared in 194 films and TV programs, between 1943 till 1977. Most of his films list him as uncredited.
He began his career on ABC radio on ‘The Sky King Show’. His first feature film debut in ‘the Heat is On’ ( 1943). Some of the movies he was in include Spartacus (1960), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World (1963) , The Storm Riders (1957) , Vivia Las Vegas (1964), and several others.
The Storm Riders (1957) - Major Bonnard, Rancher

Roy appeared in several TV series. Some he only appeared in once shows like Whirlybirds, Cheyenne, Tales of the Wells Fargo, Lawman, Northwest passage, M Squad, The Texan, My Three Sons, Dennis The Menace, Get Smart, Lancer, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Daniel Boone , The Rookie, Pistol’s ‘n’ Petticoats, Barnaby Jones, The Walton’s and several others.
Some other TV shows he had a reappearing roles either as the same character or another part. These include ones like Death Valley Days, Lassie, The F.B.I. , Andy Grittith Show, My Favorite Martian, Rawhide, The Untouchables, Have Gun- Will Travel, Maverick, Wagon Train, Sheriff of Cochise, ‘The Virginian‘, ‘Wild , Wild, Wild , West’ and several others.
‘The Wild Wild West’… ‘The Night of the Colonel's Ghost’- President Ulysses S Grant
‘The Virginian’ … ’ A Killer in Town ’ - Barney Wingate
He played in 18 episodes of Bonanza.
Playing Doctor Paul Martin in ‘The Julia Bulette Story’, ‘The Outcast’, ‘Day Of Reckoning’, ‘The Dark Gate’, ‘The Secret’, ‘The Lawmaker’, ‘The Dowry’, ‘Knight Errant’. ‘The Good Samaritan’, ‘The Prime Of Life’, ‘The Companeros’, and “It’s A Small World’ ..
Pictures of Roy Engel as Doc Martin.
‘The Julia Bulette Story’
‘Prime Of Life’
‘ The Dark Gate’
He was also in ‘The Boss’, ‘False Witness’, where he is listed just as the Doctor. Doc Trolliver in ‘Vengeance’ ,,, Doctor Paul Kay in ‘Elegy For A Hangman’ ,, Burt/Clyde Quinn in ‘Anatomy of a Lynching’,, Doctor Thomas in ‘Is There Any Man Here?’..
‘Elegy For A Hangman’
Roy died on December 29, 1980 in Burbank California, of meningitis at the age of 67. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered over Lake Arrowhead.

Roy Engel bio by Chey

Mitch Vogel Bio

Mitch Vogel
Mitch Vogel was born in Alhambra, California on January 17, 1956 gifted with the looks, talent, and personality to be a very successful child actor. His father, Dennis Vogel, was in the construction business. His parents were divorced, and his mother remarried a Marine sergeant. He lived with his mother, step-father, Edward Greenleaf, and a younger half-sister, Kelly, in Mesa, California. His grandmother, Mrs. Maude Awrey, served as his business manager.

Mitch's fascination with acting began when he was ten when his mother took him to see Peter Pan at the Melodyland Theatre in Anaheim. Although he was a guitar enthusiast, when asked whether he would rather take acting lessons or guitar lessons, he choose acting, beginning at the Orange County Performing Arts Foundation. He soon was cast as the lead in "Tom Sawyer," "Heidi," and "The Wizard of Oz" and caught the attention of a Hollywood agent, Evelyn Farney, who got him a professional audition.

Mitch's first credited role was at age 12 playing Tommy North in the 1968 comedy film, Yours, Mine, and Ours. The film is loosely based on the real life blended family of Frank (Henry Fonda) and Helen North Beardsley (Lucile Ball) and their twenty children.

Mitch (waving) as Tommy North with Henry Fonda. Yours, Mine, and Ours 1968
That's Tim Mathieson (aka Griff) as Mike Beardsley holding the child on the right.

Mitch with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda Yours, Mine, and Ours 1968
Mitch’s career steadily grew as he landed roles in The Virginian, Death Valley Days, and Adam-12. Then in 1969, he earned the major role of 11-year old Lucius McCaslin in the film adaptation of William Faulkner’s novel The Reivers. Lucius travels with plantation hand Boon Hoggenback (Steve McQueen) from rural Mississippi to Memphis to visit Boon’s girlfriend. Mitch earned a Golden Glove Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The film’s star Steve McQueen was nominated for Best Actor.
Boon and Lucius The Reivers 1969
Mitch appeared in numerous TV films and shows including a guest star appear as Tommy in the 1968 Bonanza episode, "The Real People of Muddy Creek." Tommy and his grandfather were two of only a handful of people that stayed in town to help Ben fight off Cliff Harper and his gang.
Tommy "Real People of Muddy Creek" 1968

Mitch as Jamie McIver in "Menace on the Mountain" The Wonderful World of Disney 1970
Jodie Foster was also in this film as 8 year old Suellen McIver.
In 1970, Mitch was cast as a regular on Bonanza as Jamie Hunter, an orphan taken in by the Cartwrights and adopted. David Dortort reportedly was looking for a younger character who could be on the receiving end of Ben’s fatherly wisdom now that Little Joe was in his mid-30’s.
"We got hired, Mr. Cartwright. We're gonna make rain."
Jamie Hunter "A Matter of Faith" Bonanza 1970

"I'm too big to cry."
Jamie Hunter "A Matter of Faith" Bonanza 1970
Mitch made quite an impression on the Bonanza cast.

Lorne Greene commented in March 1971, "Just for the fun of it, I decided to test him (Mitch) out one day. I wanted to find out what kind of actor he was. Playing a scene with him in rehearsal, I made departures from the script, changing lines and movements. This would rattle most kids who wouldn't be prepared for anything that didn't appear on paper. But Mitch was concentrating on me, not merely the words he had learned, and he responded to my changes perfectly. I realized that this was no ordinary kid actor, but a boy with an unusual talent." (TV Guide, March 1971)

David Canary noted in September 1972, "I returned to the series after an awkward absence. I know the storyline now embraced this young, adoptive Cartwright. So few teens in this field can prove their salt. Watching him, over what, the first ten weeks, I knew Mitch's skills could not be questioned-he's kind of this 27 year old actor residing in an a much more innocent shell." (Wikipedia)

Mitch played the role of Jamie until Bonanza ended in 1972. His friend Michael Landon later cast him as Johnny Johnson in two episodes of Little House on the Prairie in 1974-75. He continued to work in television in episodes of Gunsmoke, The Streets of San Francisco, and others throughout the 70’s, playing roles in 32 credited titles during his ten-year career.
Mitch Vogel with Melissa Gilbert Little House on the Prairie 1972
In 1978 at age 22, Mitch left the TV spotlight, and his acting roles ceased. However his TV appearances were not over for good. In 2002, Vogel returned to Bonanza's locations for the Travel Channel's TV Road Trip. He narrated a look at the Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village, Nevada. He has also maintained his connection with Bonanza by participating in both the 2005 Bonanza Convention, the 2010 Bonanza Weekend in Liverpool, England, and the 2011 Bonanza Round-up in Los Angeles, California as several Boomers can attest from personal experience!
Bonanza Weekend London 2010 ~ Courtesy of Yelah
Mitch married his wife Christine in 1986 and has two daughters, Shauna and Melanie. He is currently living in Southern California.
Photo courtesy of Yelah
A talented musician, Mitch currently sings in a band and continues to act and direct in amateur productions.
Photo courtesy of Yelah
collage courtesy of Yelah

TV Guide March 27, 1971

Mitch Vogel bio by Gillie