Michael Landon

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Michael Landon
Michael Landon
Publicity still of Landon, c. 1960s
Birthday/Birthplace Eugene Maurice Orowitz
(1936-10-31)October 31, 1936
Queens, New York, U.S.
Deceased July 1, 1991(1991-07-01)
Malibu, California, U.S.
Cause of death Pancreatic cancer
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery
College(s) University of Southern California
Profession(s) Actor, director, producer, writer
Active Years 1956–1991
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Wife/Husband Dodie Levy-Fraser
(m. 1956–62)
Marjorie Lynn Noe
(m. 1963–82)
Cindy (Clerico) Landon
(m. 1983; his death 1991)
Kid(s) 9, including Mark, Leslie, Michael Jr., Christopher, and Jennifer

Michael Landon , born Eugene Maurice Orowitz (New York, October 31, 1936 – Malibu, California, July 1, 1991), was an actor, American writer, producer and director, who starred in three successful television series on the NBC network. He was best known for his role as “Little Joe” in Bonanza (1959-1973), as “Charles Ingalls” in Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983), and as “Jonathan Smith” in Highway to Heaven (1984-1989).

Michael_Landon’s Biography

His youth

His father Eli Orowitz was an advertising employee of the RKO production company and his mother was of Irish nationality. Little Eugene did not have a happy childhood, since his mother was very abusive, both of her children and her husband. In his youth Eugene was an athlete and specialized in javelin throwing, discipline thanks to which he won a scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The Orowitz family moved from the east coast of the United States to California, and Eugene’s career seemed headed for the sport, until an injury ruled the end of his days at UCLA. However, this injury was responsible for the young man’s approach to the art of interpretation and, after some attempts, Eugene Orowitz became Michael Landon.

In the mid-1950s, Michael, 20 years old, was working on small roles in film and TV. In the first medium appeared in These Wilder Years (1956), with the stars James Cagney and Barbara Stanwyck, in a secondary role as one of the boys of the billiard room. It was the following year that he had his first leading role, with I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) film turned into a bizarre and role-playing classic much loved by Landon (in an episode of the series Highway to Heaven, Landon turned to disguise as a lycanthrope).

More popularity had Michael with his appearances in series like Wanted Dead or Alive and in the first episode of The Restless Gun, series with John Payne.

Producer David Dortort realized Landon’s potential for a western character and that’s how he wrote the character of Joe Cartwright thinking of Landon. Bonanza meant a lot to Michael. Not only was it the series that made him an international star, but it also helped him acquire great experience, as an actor and later as a scriptwriter and director.

Through the 14 seasons of Bonanza, the character of Joe Cartwright matured into Charles Ingalls, the protagonist of the series that Landon initiated after the cancellation of Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie (The Ingalls Family or The house of the prairie) that began in 1974, as Landon’s work, since he officiated as an executive producer, protagonist and eventual writer and director. With the Ingalls, Landon condensed the humanism that Bonanza had been developing during his last seasons, and had the opportunity to deal with more modern topics, such as racism, religion, problems of the couple, drugs, etc.


In 1959, at the age of 22, Landon had his first major role in television playing the role of Little Joe Cartwright in Bonanza, the first TV series to be broadcast in color. Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, and Dan Blocker also participated in the same series. Due to the good reception by the public of his performance, and after overcoming severe problems of drinking and addiction to tranquilizers, Landon was able to direct and write some episodes of the series. Finally, Bonanza was canceled in 1973 due to the low audience levels it had at that time.

Little House on the Prairie

A year after Bonanza was canceled, Landon would star as the pilot of another successful western, Little House on the Prairie (known in Spain as La casa de la pradera, in Mexico as Los pioneers, in Venezuela and Chile as La Pequeña Casa de la Pradera and in the rest of Spanish America as La Familia Ingalls), again for NBC.

In addition to Melissa Gilbert, two then unknown actresses named Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls, the eldest daughter of the Ingalls family) and Karen Grassle (Caroline Ingalls, Charles’ wife), participated in the program.

Landon was the executive producer, writer and director of the series. Little House … emphasized good values ​​and friendship, something that the audience liked, making the series a success in the first season.

The series was nominated for several Emmys and Golden Globes. After eight years, NBC brought the show back in 1982.

The same year, Landon directed Little House: A New Beginning, this series being the “final chapter” of the program, since it would end in the following spring.

Highway to Heaven

In Highway to Heaven, Landon played Jonathan Smith, a guardian angel under test whose job it was to help people win their wings. NBC thought that the program would not last long, but the reality was very different, proving to be a great success for the actor. As in Little House …, here Landon was not only acting as an actor, but also as an executive producer, writer and director of the show.

Personal life

Landon got married three times.

  • Dodie Levy-Fraser (they married in March 1956. They divorced in December 1962)
    • Mark Fraser Landon, born on October 1, 1958 dies on May 12, 2009 (adopted)
    • Josh Fraser Landon, born on February 11, 1960 (adopted)
    • Jason Samuel (Landon) Smith, born May 13, 1961 (adopted)
  • Marjorie Lynn Noe (born Marjorie Lynn Noe, they were married on January 12, 1963. They divorced in 1980)
    • Leslie Ann Landon, born on October 11, 1962
    • Michael Landon Jr. born on June 20, 1964
    • Shawna Leigh Landon, born on December 4, 1971
    • Christopher Beau Landon, born on February 27, 1975
  • Cindy Clerico (they married on February 14, 1983)
    • Jennifer Rachel Landon, born on August 29, 1983
    • Sean Matthew Landon, born on August 8, 1986

Illness and death

On April 5, 1991, Landon was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which had already metastasized to the liver and lymph nodes. The cancer was inoperable and the medical prognosis was terminal.On May 21, 1991, Landon was successfully operated on from a blood clot that almost cost him his left leg.He died in Malibu on July 1, 1991.

Michael Landon Net Worth – $40 Million

More Facts about Michael Landon

Whole Name Eugene Maurice Orowitz
AKA(s) Michael Landon, Landon, Michael
Born/Where Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, New York, USA
Born October 31, 1936
Died 1991-07-01
Lived 54 years, 8 month, 1 days
Astrological sign Scorpio
What He/She Does Actor, director, producer, writer
Alma Mater University of Southern California
His/Her Height 5′ 9″ (1.75 m)
Relationships Dodie Levy-Fraser

The Michael Landon’s statistics like age, body measurements, height, weight, bio, wiki, net worth posted above have been gathered from a lot of credible websites and online sources. But, there are a few factors that will affect the statistics, so, the above figures may not be 100% accurate.

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