Michael Landon

Almost everyone knows of Michael Landon, Little Joe in Bonanza, Charles Ingalls in The Little House on the Prairie, Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven. How did he start his career, when he had no idea that he would be entering into acting/writer/director/producer when thought he would be pursuing a javelin athletic career.

Here at Mrslagibb.superonlinevalues.com is dedicated to help folk to purse their dreams even when they think they do not have talent. In this article, Michael Landon’s early life shows how he did not expect to become the talented actor/writer/director/producer that he was. I quote from imdb.com Michael Landon quotes; “I never felt I was going to make it as an actor because to me actors were tall and handsome and had great voices”; and from Brainyquote.com “Dreaming is one thing, and working towards the dream is one thing, but working with expectations is very self-defeating”.

Michael Landon was not born with this name, just purely changed his name to what he had picked out of a telephone book; that arose from an audition by helping a friend out with his acting, which his friend did not get the part. I quote again from Brainyquote.com “I don’t have expectations, expectations in your life just lead to giant disappointments”.

Michael was born into Jewish and Irish parents. His Jewish father Eli Maurice Orowitz was a Move theatre manager and actor. His Irish Catholic mother Peggy Orowitz (O’Neil) was a comedienne and dancer. He was the youngest of two children his sister Evelyn three years older than he.

Eugene Maurice Orowitz (Michael Landon) began his life 31st October 1936 to extraordinary parents. At the time his parents and Sister Evelyn lived in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, USA. In 1941 when Michael was four, he and his family moved to Philadelphia, Collingswood, New Jersey, here he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at the Temple Beth Shalom in Haddon Heights now Cherry Hill. In Michael’s era Jews were not allowed in Haddon Heights due to the Second World War. His initiations toward this had been hard because he had to cycle to a nearby town to read Hebrew.

During his high school years Michael had thought he would be pursuing a javelin throwing career, when in 1954 as a high school pupil his longest throw in javelin had been 193.4 it had been the longest throw of that year; which merited his athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California. Due to torn ligaments in his shoulder, this ended his career in javelin and his involvement in USC track team, which made him drop out of college.

Michael’s acting career began when a friend asked him for help for his part in an acting audition, after working dead-end jobs to make a living selling blankets, working as stock boy and unloading freight cars at a warehouse. Michael himself found he had been enrolled into acting school to develop is skills further instead of his friend. At this point Michael changed his name, he thought his real name was not apt for an enthusiastic person in the profession he chose. Later he found he had been assigned to a part as the main character in the episode of The Mystery of Casper Hauser to the TV show Telephone Time.

Other roles came flooding in for films and T.V. shows; the first I was a Teenage Wolf (film) portraying the character Tony Rivers. In 1959 in a Western The Legend of Tom Dooley, again as the main character in the film Tom Dooley. Michael had played in a supporting role the pilot episode of The Restless Gun aired for TV on 29th March 1957 produced by David Dortort. It was in 1959, due to Michael’s capabilities of an actor, that David Dortort engaged him to play the role of Little Joe in Bonanza a well rated T.V western series. Michael’s part was the youngest of three Cartwright brothers. From this show, he became a heartthrob and a household name, Bonanza aired for 14 years, where he also had learned directing and wrote a few episodes. The series ran from 1959 to 1973.

Michael’s talents directed him to a project Little House on the Prairie, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder about family values in the late 1800’s. Landon took the role of Laura’s father Charles Ingalls and he also had been the executive producer. The series aired from 1974 to 1983. From 1974 to 1983 he took on other roles in films produced for T.V. The Loneliest Runner 1976, Operation Comeback 1983.

Then his goals and interests took him else where in 1984 serving as an executive producer, writer and director to the series High Way to Heaven where he owns the series outright; the show ran from 1984 to 1989.

In 1991 Landon, had written, produced, directed and starred a TV series call US, about a man being released from prison after many years, who had been wrongfully convicted of killing a wealthy man’s wife. Sadly, the series did not get aired after the two-hour episode; due to being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on April the 5th 1991.

Sadly, Michael passed away 1 July 1991; throughout Michael’s life he had been awarded for all he had achieved:-

Won Awards for:-

Bambi award for his work in Bonanza.

Bronze Wrangler Award for the episode in Bonanza - The Wish where he with the director, producer and cast.

Spur Award for the best TV Script - Little house on the Prairie episode May We Make Them Proud.

Inducted for:-

Hollywood Walk of Fame - Television Star at 1500 N Vine Street,

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum - Western Performers Hall of Fame.

Honored for:-

Golden Boot Award – Significant contribution to the Western Genre,

Youth in Film Award – Michael Landon Award – Outstanding Contribution to Youth through Entertainment,

Television Hall of Fame – Significant Contribution to the Field of Television.

Nominated for:-

Golden Globe Award – Best TV Actor – Little House on the Prairie,

TV Land Award – Most Memorable Mane – Little House on the Prairie.