Brown - Light
Forest Hills, Queens, New York, USA
Place of Death
Malibu, California, USA
Cause of Death
Cancer - Pancreatic
Claim to Fame
Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven
Actor/Actress, Producer, Director
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
Michael Landon (October 31, 1936 - July 1, 1991) was an American actor, writer, director, and producer, who starred in three popular NBC TV series that spanned three decades. He is widely known for his roles as Little Joe Cartwright in Bonanza (1959-1973), Charles Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983), and Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven (1984-1989). Although his Bonanza co-star David Canary, and youngest daughter Jennifer Landon have both won Emmys, Landon was never given the honor. Nonetheless, few prime time actors have been so prolific. With twenty-eight years of full-hour episodic acting, he surpasses the TV mileage of both James Arness and Lucille Ball. Landon produced, wrote, and directed many of his series` episodes, including his only short-lived production, Father Murphy, which starred his friend and "Little House" co-star Merlin Olsen. In 1976 Landon wrote and directed an auto-biographical movie, The Loneliest Runner, and was nominated for two Emmys. He also hosted the annual long-running coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade with Kelly Lange, also on NBC. In 1981, Landon won recognition for his screenwriting with a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America.
On April 5, 1991, Landon was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in the pancreas, an inoperable form of cancer that had also spread into his liver and lymph nodes. On May 9, 1991, he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to speak of his cancer 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. During Landon`s appearance, he pledged to fight the cancer and asked fans to pray for him. In June 1991, Landon made the cover of Life Magazine, after granting the periodical an exclusive private interview about his life, his family, and his struggle to live. However, nearly 2 months later on July 1, 1991, Landon died in Malibu, California. He was 54 years-old. Landon was interred in Culver City`s Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery and his family was joined by 500 other mourners including former President Ronald Reagan (with whom Michael had once chopped wood) and his wife Nancy. Also among the mourners were actors Merlin Olsen, Ernest Borgnine, Brian Keith and many more of Landon`s co-stars, including Little House on the Prairie child-actors Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson. Although Landon`s first wife, Dodie Fraser, accompanied her two sons to the funeral, his second wife, Lynn Landon, was noticeably absent. When asked why she didn`t attend the funeral of her ex-husband, Lynn Landon replied that she grieved Michael`s death years before, when they were divorced.
Couple Profile Source
Collingswood High School, Collingswood, NJ (1954)
Full Name at Birth
Eugene Maurice Orowitz
Eli Maurice Orowitz
Evelyn Landon (sister)
Victor French, Merlin Olsen, President Ronald Reagan, Brian Keith, Ernest Borgnine, Johnny Carson, Dan Blocker
Jennifer Rachel Landon, born 1983 (daughter)
Melissa Sue Anderson (actress) (author), Melissa Gilbert (actress)
Karen Grassle (actress)
Michael Landon (born Eugene Maurice Orowitz; October 31, 1936 – July 1, 1991) was an American actor, writer, director, and producer. He is known for his roles as Little Joe Cartwright in Bonanza (1959–73), Charles Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie (1974–83), and Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven (1984–89). Landon appeared on the cover of TV Guide 22 times, second only to Lucille Ball.
Mark Fraser Landon, born 1948 (adopted; Dodie's biological son), died May 11, 2009 (son), Josh Fraser Landon, born 1960 (adopted as infant), Cheryl Ann Pontrelli, born 1953 (step daughter), Leslie Ann Landon, born 1962 (daughter), Michael Landon, Jr., born 1964 (son), Shawna Leigh Landon, born 1971 (daughter), Christopher Beau Landon, born 1975 (son), Sean Matthew Landon, born 1986 (son)
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