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Michael Landon

An icon in family programming, as an actor, writer, director and producer, Michael Landon's legacy of work is filled with television moments that touched millions of viewers hearts.

In the course of his years as a celebrity, Landon received numerous acknowledgments, garnering a Golden Globe nomination for his acting work in Little House on the Prairie in 1979 and a National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences Academy Founders Award in 1982. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1995.

Landon was discovered by a Warner Brothers' executive while working in an obscure job as a gas station attendant. By the time producer David Dortort cast him for Bonanza, he had appeared on television in Cavalcade of America and had made his feature film lead debut in the campy, I Was a Teenage Werewolf.

His portrayal of Little Joe, the highly spirited, youngest, and best looking son of Ben Cartwright, on NBC's mega-hit series, Bonanza, made Landon a star with a permanent place in television history. Bonanza catapulted Michael into the mainstream. While appearing on the show for its entire fourteen-year run from 1959 through 1973. Landon was able to fully develop his talents by directing and writing scripts for numerous episodes.

Mr. Landon Executive Produced the beloved television frontier saga based on the book series by Laura Ingalls-Wilder, Little House on the Prairie. Portraying homesteader Charles Ingalls, Landon was a shining role model/hero for many young kids in need of a compassionate and reliable father figure.

The show focused on timeless themes that today, are still relevant to kids of all ages and their families. Additional functions in writing and directing for the show provided a creative outlet for his personal views on religion, faith and family values. The original network run for Little House spanned eight years, airing from 1974-1982. Today, the television classic can be seen in reruns on PAX-TV. Michael was creator/executive producer of his next series, Highway to Heaven. From 1984-1989 he again wrote, directed and produced while portraying one of the show's lead characters, Jonathan, an angel on probation, teaching the principles of love, forgiveness, charity, and that heaven is under our feet as well as above our heads!

An active philanthropist, he worked with the Make A Wish Foundation and sourced The Michael Landon Tennis Classic which takes place in Tucson Arizona, to benefit in-state charities. The Michael Award (a fashion industry nod) benefits the National Children's Leukemia Foundation is named after the actor. Among many credits, Michael also starred in telefilms including Where Pigeons Go To Die, Us, several telefilms for Little House on the Prairie The Loneliest Runner, made numerous guest appearances on various shows and starred in his autobiographical film, Sam's Son.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Michael Landon Facts

Birth NameEugene Michael Orowitz
OccupationActor, Director, Producer
BirthdayOctober 31, 1936
BirthplaceForest Hills, New York, USA
Date of deathJuly 1, 1991 (age 54)
Height6' (1m83)  How tall is Michael Landon compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Pilot Part 1
Death on Sun Mountain
Bonanza TV
Little House on the Prairie: The Complete Series
Land of the Lost
Little House on the Prairie: Season 1
A Song for Jason Part 1
Role Models
Man to Man
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