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Michael Landon : Biography, Pictures, Photos, Trivia, Address, Filmography (Highway to Heaven, Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza)

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Michael Landon

Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven, Charles Philip Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie, Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright in Bonanza

Photos Michael Landon Birth name: Eugene Maurice Orowitz
Birth date: 1936/10/31
Date of death : 1991/07/01 (55 years old)
Birth place : Forest Hills, Queens,New York (USA)
Height: 1.75 m

French Traduire

Biography for Michael Landon

The second child whose mother, a popular comedienne, was an Irish Catholic and whose father, a theater manager, was Jewish, Michael Landon was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz, on October 31, 1936, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. In 1941, he and his family moved to Collingswood, New Jersey.

When Eugene was in high school he participated--and did very well--in track and field, especially javelin throwing, and his athletic skills earned him a scholarship to UCLA. However, an accident injured his arm, ending his athletic career--and his term at UCLA--and he worked a number of odd jobs and small roles to make ends meet, and decided that acting was for him. However, he thought that his real name was not a suitable one for an aspiring actor, and so "Michael Landon" was born.

Two of his first big roles were as Tony Rivers in I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) and as Tom Dooley in the western The Legend of Tom Dooley (1959). That same year he was approached by producer David Dortort to star in a pilot called "The Restless Gun", which was renamed when the series was picked up to "Bonanza" (1959). Landon played Little Joe Cartwright, the youngest of the three Cartwright brothers, a cocky and somewhat rebellious youth nevertheless had a way with the ladies. For 14 years Landon became the heart and soul of the show, endearing himself to both younger and older viewers, and he became a household name during the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1968, after almost ten years of playing Little Joe, he wanted an opportunity to direct and write some episodes of the show. After the season finale in 1972 Dan Blocker, who played his older brother Hoss and was also a close friend, died after undergoing heart surgery, but Michael decided to go back to work, revisiting his own character in a two-part episode called "Forever".

"Bonanza" was finally cancelled in early 1973, after 14 years and 461 episodes. Michael didn't have to wait long until he landed another successful role that most TV audiences of the 1970s would thoroughly enjoy, his second TV western, for NBC, "Little House on the Prairie" (1974). That show was based on a popular book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and he played enduring patriarch and farmer Charles Ingalls. Unlike "Bonanza", where he was mostly just a "hired gun", on this show he served as the producer, writer, director and executive producer. By the end of its eighth season in 1982, Landon decided to step down from his role on "Little House", as he saw his TV children grown up and moved out of their father's house, and a year later the show was cancelled. After 14 years on "Bonanza" and 8 years on "Little House", it was about time to focus on something else, and once again, he didn't have to wait too long before "Highway to Heaven" (1984) came along. Unlike the western shows that he did for 23 years, this NBC fantasy/drama show focused on Jonathan Smith, an angel whose job was to save peoples' lives and work for God, his boss. Victor French played ex-cop Mark Gordon, who turned down a fortune but had redeemed himself by meeting Jonathan.

By the end of the fifth season in 1989, French was diagnosed with lung cancer and died in June of that same year. Landon was devastated by the loss, and pulled the plug on "Highway." In early 1991, after 35 years of working on NBC, he was axed by the network and moved to CBS to star in the pilot of a two-hour movie, Us (1991) (TV), in which he played prisoner Jeff Hayes, who tried his best to kill a wealthy man's wife and was sentenced to prison. This was going to be another one of Landon's shows but, in April 1991, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He later appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962) to talk about his battle with the disease and many people in the audience were affected by the courage and energy he showed. Unfortunately he was already terminally ill by that time, and on July 1, 1991, after a three-month battle, he finally succumbed to the disease. His family, his colleagues and his children were all by his side.


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Title Role
A Bing Crosby Christmas (2000 video documentary) Lui-mĂȘme (images d'archive)
The Best of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts (1998 Documentaire TV) Lui-mĂȘme (images d'archive)
Michael Landon: The E! True Hollywood Story (1998 Documentaire TV) Lui-mĂȘme (images d'archive)
Michael Landon (1997 Documentaire TV) Lui-mĂȘme (images d'archive)
Back to Bonanza (1993 Téléfilm) Little Joe Cartwright (images d'archive)
Idols (1991 Documentaire TV) Lui-mĂȘme
Us (1991 Téléfilm) Jeff Hayes, Réalisateur, Producteur Executif, Scénariste
Where Pigeons Go to Die (1990 Téléfilm) Hugh as adult, Réalisateur, Producteur, Scénariste
Desperate Passage (1987) Host
NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration (1986 Documentaire TV) Lui-mĂȘme
53rd Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (1984 TV special) Lui-mĂȘme/Grand Marshal
Sam's Son (1984) Gene Orman, Réalisateur, Scénariste
La petite maison dans la prairie: Bless All the Dear Children (1984 Téléfilm) Charles Ingalls (voix), Producteur Executif
Les Routes du Paradis (1984 Serie TVs) Jonathan Smith, Réalisateur, Producteur Executif, Scénariste (Scénariste), Developpeur
La petite maison dans la prairie: The Last Farewell (1984 Téléfilm) Charles Ingalls, Réalisateur, Producteur Executif, Scénariste
La petite maison dans la prairie: Look Back to Yesterday (1983 Téléfilm) Charles Ingalls, Producteur Executif
Love Is Forever (1983 Téléfilm) John Everingham
Walt Disney: One Man's Dream (1981 Téléfilm) Acteur
Father Murphy (1981 Serie TVs) Réalisateur, Producteur, Scénariste (Scénariste)
Where Have All the Children Gone (1980 Téléfilm) Acteur, Réalisateur
La petite maison dans la prairie Years (1979 Téléfilm) Charles Ingalls, Réalisateur, Scénariste
General Electric's All-Star Anniversary (1978 Documentaire TV) Acteur
Killing Stone (1978 Téléfilm) Réalisateur, Producteur, Scénariste
The Loneliest Runner (1976 Téléfilm) John Curtis
La petite maison dans la prairie (1974 Serie TVs) Charles Philip Ingalls (1974-1982), Réalisateur, Producteur Executif, Scénariste
La petite maison dans la prairie (1974 Téléfilm) Charles Ingalls, Réalisateur, Producteur
It's Good to Be Alive (1974 Téléfilm) Réalisateur
Let the Good Times Roll (1973 documentary) Scene from I Was a Teenage Werewolf (images d'archive)
The Special London Bridge Special (1972) Acteur
Swing Out, Sweet Land (1970 Documentaire TV) Peter Minuit
Rowan & Martin at the Movies (1968 documentary short) Lui-mĂȘme (as Mike Landon)
The Errand Boy (1961) Lui-mĂȘme
Bonanza (1959 Serie TVs) Joseph "Little Joe" Cartwright
Staccato (1959 Serie TVs) Acteur
The Legend of Tom Dooley (1959) Tom Dooley
Maracaibo (1958) Lago Orlando
God's Little Acre (1958) Dave Dawson
High School Confidential! (1958) Steve Bentley
Fight for the Title (1957 short) Kid Lombard
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) Tony Rivers/Teenage Werewolf
These Wilder Years (1956) Boy in poolhall


He was the only actor (so far) to have three consecutive shows on television which ran for five years or more: "Bonanza" (1959) (1959-1973), "Little House on the Prairie" (1974) (1974-1983), and "Highway to Heaven" (1984) (1984-1989).

Interred at Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California, USA.

Actress Melissa Gilbert's son Michael (b. 1995) was named after him.

His birthplace, Forest Hills, is a neighborhood area in Queens, New York.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Davis Reagan, attended Landon's memorial service the day after his death.

Inducted (as a cast member of "Little House on the Prairie") into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1998.

Always claimed to have chosen his professional name by picking the name Michael Landon out of the Los Angeles telephone directory.

Graduated from Collingswood High School in Collingswood, New Jersey, in 1954.

Started having gray hair at age 20.

Won the freshman javelin toss at the University of Southern California-Los Angeles.

Comedian and ex-talk show host, Johnny Carson was a longtime friend of his and had (in private) always confided in Landon and shared his own issues with him.

Before his death, he appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962) to talk about his brave battle against cancer and his life and it was the highest-rated show of all time.

Had to dropd out of the University of California-Los Angeles because he tore his shoulder ligaments, which would not allow him to throw the javelin again, and he was attending UCLA on an athletic scholarship.

His last wife was former make-up artist Cindy Clerico, whom he met near the end of the "Little House" run in 1981, and married two years later.

Grew up in southern New Jersey (Collingswood), and attended Collingswood High School.

Charles Ingalls, Landon's character on "Little House on the Prairie" (1974), was ranked #4 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].

Studied karate under Chuck Norris, as did the children of his "Bonanza" co-star Dan Blocker.

Before he became a successful actor, he worked in a warehouse and at a gas station.

Starred with Victor French in two of his successful TV series.

His second wife, Marjorie Lynn Noe, was one of the few people who refused to attend his funeral, because she told her children that the divorce had already been like a death to her.

When he filed for divorce from Lynn, it cost him $26 million. Though he gave her his $3.5-million, 35-room Beverly Hills mansion, this bitter divorce was a devastating blow for Lynn, who stated on TV that her ex-husband had become her angel. (16 April 1981)

In 1954, he was the national high school record holder in the javelin throw.

Wrote and directed two made-for-TV movies that were semi-autobiographical: The Loneliest Runner (1976) (TV) and Sam's Song (1984) (TV).

By most accounts he was exactly like the kind, gentle, heroic characters he portrayed onscreen and in fact few, if any, people complained about working with him, something rare in Hollywood.


David Jansen : "Michael Landon jouait le rÎle d'un enfant gùté quand il le voulait. Et il le voulait souvent"

Howard Stern : "Il a toujours eu cette belle image de pÚre de famille. Un pÚre de famille ? Il a eu 9 enfants avec 3 femmes différentes... Il était un pÚre de familles... Avez-vous vu les hommages qui lui ont été rendus quand il est décédé ? Toutes les images le montraient marchant sur une route, tel un ange comme dans sa série "Les Routes du Paradis". Etait-il vraiment un ange ? Je suis certain qu'au moins 2 de ses ex-femmes étaient sûres qu'il irait en enfer."


Spouse : Cindy Clerico (14 February 1983 - 1 July 1991) (his death) 2 children, Marjorie Lynn Noe (12 January 1963 - 1982) (divorced) 4 children, Dodie Frasier(11 March 1956 - December 1962) (divorced) 3 children.

Children: Mark Fraser Landon (adopted at age 7 in 1956), Josh Fraser Landon (adopted as newborn in 1960), Leslie Ann Landon (b 10/1963), Michael Graham Landon (b. 6/1965; aka Michael Landon Jr.), Shawna Leigh Landon (b. 1971), Christopher Beau Landon (b. 2/27/1975), Jennifer Rachel Landon (b. 8/29/1983), Sean Matthew Landon (b. 6/1986) and his "step-daughter" Cheryl Ann Pontrelli.

His mother Peggy died on March 15, 1981.

His parents were Jewish and Irish Catholic.

Never legally adopted his stepdaughter, Cheryl, because of her birth father's objections.

The youngest of two children.

Author of the card

  • Creation date: 01/07/2003 by stals
  • Last update: 10/06/2009 by Yochko

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