Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ted Danson Who Played Sam Malone in the TV Comedy Cheers

Ted Danson was born December 29, 1947 in San Diego, CA.  He is most famous for playing the role of bartender/bar owner Sam Malone in the TV comedy Cheers from 1982 to 1993.  He is also well known for playing the role of Dr. John Becker in the TV show Becker from 1998 to 2004.  Fact is, Ted is a very prolific actor in Hollywood these days and has been since Cheers.
Ted Danson then

Ted began his acting career as Tom Conway on the daytime soap opera Somerset (1975-76).  A year later he appeared on 2 episodes of The Doctors starring David O'Brien, Jane Fleiss, Larry Weber, and Dorian Lopinto (1977).

Ted Danson made his TV debut on the day time soap opera Somerset in 1975

Two years later, Danson would continue making television appearances such as The Amazing Spider-Man starring Nicholas Hammond, Chip Fields, and Robert F. Simon (1979). Ted landed his first film role that same year in The Onion Field co-starring John Savage, Christopher Lloyd, James Woods, Dianne Hull, Franklyn Seales, and Ronny Cox (1979).  


Ted Danson in his film debut The Onion Field 1979

Danson went on to appear in Mrs. Columbo starring Kate Mulgrew, Lili Haydn, Henry Jones, and Don Stroud (1979); Trapper John, M.D. starring Pernell Roberts, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Charles Siebert (1979); The French Atlantic Affair co-starring Jean-Pierre Aumont, José Ferrer, Chad Everett, Horst Buchholz, James Coco, John Houseman, Michelle Phillips, Telly Savalas, Stella Stevens, Donald Pleasence, and Marie-France Pisier (1979); and an appearance on B.J. and the Bear starring Greg Evigan.

In 1980 Danson went on to appear movies and shows such as Laverne & Shirley starring Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Michael McKean, David L. Lander, Phil Foster, Eddie Mekka, and Betty Garrett; Family starring Sada Thompson, James Broderick, Meredith Baxter, Gary Frank, and Kristy McNichol (1980); The Women's Room co-starring Lee Remick, Colleen Dewhurst, Tyne Daly, Mare Winningham, Patty Duke, Gregory Harrison, Tovah Feldshuh, Kathryn Harrold, and Jenny O'Hara (1980); and Once Upon a Spy co-starring Mary Louise Weller, Eleanor Parker, and Christopher Lee (1980).



In 1981, Ted appeared in a couple of episodes of Benson starring Robert Guillaume, James Noble, Missy Gold, Inga Swenson, Rene Auberjonois, and Ethan Phillips; Magnum, P.I. starring Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Larry Manetti, and Roger E. Mosley; Dear Teacher starring Melinda Culea, Rebecca York, John Welsh, Rachel Jacobs, Sydney Penny, and Nan Martin; Body Heat co-starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner , Richard Crenna, Kim Zimmer, and Mickey Rourke; and Our Family Business co-starring Steve Peck, Deborah Carney, Vera Miles, James O'Sullivan, David Morse, and Christopher Mayer.



Ted Danson (center) in the film Body Heat 1981

Danson started off 1982 appearing in an episode of Taxi starring Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Andy Kaufman, and J. Alan Thomas.  His career would take a huge turn however later in the year as he landed his signature role as Sam Malone in the hit TV comedy Cheers.  He co-starred with Rhea Perlman (Carla Tortelli), Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Frasier Crane), Woody Harrelson (Woody Boyd), George Wendt (Norm Peterson), John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin), Shelley Long (Diane Chambers), Nicholas Colasanto (Coach), and later in the series, Kirstie Alley (Rebecca Howe) as well as Bebe Neuwirth (Dr. Lilith Sternin).  Only Danson, Perlman, and Wendt starred in all episodes of Cheers.  Ratzenberger was one episode short of joining the those three.  Danson played the role of Sam Malone for 11 years until the show ended in 1993.



Ted Danson as bartender/bar owner Sam Malone in the hit TV comedy Cheers 1982-1993
The cast of Cheers during the early years.  Front: John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin), Rhea Perlman (Carla Tortelli), George Wendt (Norm Peterson) Back: Nicholas Colasanto (Coach), Ted Danson (Sam Malone), and Shelly Long (Diane Chambers)

During his run on Cheers, Danson also starred in Creepshow co-starring Hal Holbrook, Leslie Nielsen, E.G. Marshall, Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Harris, Fritz Weaver, Carrie Nye, and Viveca Lindfors (1982); Tucker's Witch starring Tim Matheson, Catherine Hicks, Barbara Barrie, Bill Morey, and Alfre Woodard (1982); Allison Sydney Harrison co-starring Katy Kurtzman, Corbin Bernsen, Ellen Travolta, Cynthia Harris, and Don Calfa (1983); Cowboy co-starring James Brolin, Annie Potts, Randy Quaid, Robert Keith, and George DiCenzo (1983); Something About Amelia co-starring Glenn Close, Lane Smith, Olivia Cole, Jane Kaczmarek, and Kevin Conway (1984); Little Treasure co-starring Margot Kidder, Burt Lancaster, and Joseph Hacker (1985); Just Between Friends co-starring Mary Tyler Moore, Christine Lahti, Sam Waterston, Julie Payne, Salome Jens, Beverly Sanders, and Timothy Gibbs (1986); A Fine Mess co-starring Howie Mandel, Maria Conchita Alonso, Stuart Margolin, Richard Mulligan, Jennifer Edwards, Paul Sorvino, and Tawny Moyer (1986); When the Bough Breaks co-starring Richard Masur, Kim Miyori, and Rachel Ticotin (1986); We Are the Children co-starring Khadija Ali Ahmed, Ally Sheedy, Judith Ivey, and Zia Mohyeddin (1987); 3 Men and a Baby co-starring Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, Margaret Colin, and Nancy Travis (1987); Mickey's 60th Birthday co-starring Kirstie Alley, Wayne Allwine, Meredith Baxter, Tony Anselmo, Justine Bateman, Corbin Bernsen, Fred Dryer, and Brian Bonsall (1988); Cousins co-starring Isabella Rossellini, Lloyd Bridges, Sean Young, William Petersen, Keith Coogan, and George Coe (1989); Dad co-starring Jack Lemmon, Olympia Dukakis, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Spacey, and Kathy Baker (1989); and 3 Men and a Little Lady co-starring Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, Nancy Travis, Sydney Walsh, Fiona Shaw, and Robin Weisman (1990).



The cast of Cheers during the later years.  Front: George Wendt (Norm Peterson), Kirstie Alley (Rebecca Howe), Ted Danson (Sam Malone) John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin)  Back: Rhea Perlman (Carla Tortelli), Woody Harrelson (Woody Boyd), Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Frasier Crane),  Bebe Neuwirth (Dr. Lilith Sternin)
3 Men an a Baby stars Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson

After Cheers, Danson went on to star in Made in America co-starring Whoopi Goldberg, Will Smith, Jennifer Tilly, Nia Long, Paul Rodriguez, and Peggy Rea (1993); Getting Even with Dad co-starring Macaulay Culkin, Glenne Headly, Gailard Sartain, Saul Rubinek, Hector Elizondo, Sam McMurray, and Kathleen Wilhoite (1994); Pontiac Moon co-starring Mary Steenburgen, Ryan Todd, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Schweig, Max Gail, Lisa Jane Persky, and Don Swayze (1994); The Simpsons starring Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright and Julie Kavner (1994); Frasier starring former Cheers co-star Kelsey Grammer, Peri Gilpin, David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, and John Mahoney (voice, 1995); Gulliver's Travels co-starring Mary Steenburgen, Ned Beatty, James Fox, Edward Fox, Karyn Parsons, Alfre Woodard, and Peter O'Toole (1996), and Vows of Deception
Nick Mancuso, Nancy Cartwright, Mike Farrell, and Michael Woolson, and Cheryl Ladd (1996).


Ted Danson stars in Gulliver's Travels 1996

It was in 1996 that Danson landed the role of Mike Logan in the TV series Ink.  He co-starred with his off screen wife, Mary Steenburgen (Kate Montgomery).  The show lasted for 22 episides ending in 1997.  



Ted Danson (Mike Logan) and Mary Steenburgen (Kate Montgomery) in the TV show Ink

During his run on Ink, Danson also starred in the film Loch Ness co-starring Joely Richardson, Ian Holm, Nick Brimble, James Frain, Harris Yulin, and Kirsty Graham (1996); and Pearl starring Carol Kane, Kevin Corrigan, former Cheers co-star Rhea Perlman, Dash Mihok, Lucy Liu, and Malcolm McDowell (1997).

After Ink, Ted starred in Jerry and Tom co-starring Joe Mantegna, Sam Rockwell, Sarah Polley, Maury Chaykin, William H. Macy, Charles Durning, Peter Riegert, Shelley Cook, and Lindsey Connell (1998); Veronica's Closet starring Kirstie Alley, Kathy Najimy, Daryl Mitchell, Wallace Langham, and Dan Cortese (1998); Homegrown co-starring Billy Bob Thornton, John Lithgow, Hank Azaria, Jon Tenney, Kelly Lynch, Jon Bon Jovi, Ryan Phillippe, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tiffany Paulsen, and Judge Reinhold (1998); Thanks of a Grateful Nation aka The Gulf War co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Keeslar, Brian Dennehy, Amy Carlson, Steven Weber, and Sabrina Grdevich (1998); and Saving Private Ryan co-starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Adam Goldberg, Barry Pepper, Edward Burns, Vin Diesel,  Jeremy Davies, Giovanni Ribisi, and Dennis Farina (1998).



Ted Danson in Saving Private Ryan 1998

It was later in 1998 that Danson landed the role of Dr. John Becker in the TV show Becker.  He co-starred with Hattie Winston (Margaret Wyborn), Shawnee Smith (Linda), Terry Farrell (Reggie Kostas), Saverio Guerra (Bob), and Alex Désert (Jake Malinak).  Ted played the role of Becker for seven years until the show ended in 2004.



Ted Danson in Becker

During his run on Becker, Danson also starred in films such as Mumford co-starring Loren Dean, Hope Davis, Mary McDonnell, Jason Lee, Alfre Woodard, Zooey Deschanel, David Paymer, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Martin Short, Jason Ritter, Priscilla Barnes, and Jane Adams (1999); Grosse Pointe starring Irene Molloy, Lindsay Sloane and Bonnie Somerville (2000); Curb Your Enthusiasm starring Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, and Jeff Garlin (1st appearance, 2000.  Four more appearances in 2002); Living with the Dead co-starring Mary Steenburgen, Michael Moriarty, Diane Ladd, Queen Latifah, and Jack Palance (2002); Electric Playground starring Eliza Bayne, Victor Lucas and Donna Mei-Ling Park (2002); and Gary the Rat starring Kelsey Grammer (voice, 2003).



The cast of Becker. Front: Shawnee Smith (Linda), Ted Danson (Dr. John Becker), Hattie Winston (Margaret Wyborn) Back: Alex Désert (Jake Malinak), Terry Farrell (Reggie Kostas)

After Becker, Danson starred in films and movies such as It Must Be Love co-starring Mary Steenburgen, Erin Karpluk, Bonnie Bartlett, Polly Holliday, Adam Frost, Fred Keating, Mary B. McCann, and Danny Dorosh (2004); Fronterz co-starring Reno Wilson, Dennis Pressey, Ken Garito, Garth Belcon, Laurence Mason, Tamara Lynch, and Henry Winkler (2004); Curb Your Enthusiasm (2004); The Amateurs co-starring Jeff Bridges, Joe Pantoliano, Tim Blake Nelson, William Fichtner, Lauren Graham, Dawn Didawick, Tom Bower, Glenne Headly, and Jeanne Tripplehorn (2005); Our Fathers co-starring Christopher Plummer, Ellen Burstyn, Brian Dennehy, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Baldwin, Will Lyman, and James Oliver (2005); Knights of the South Bronx co-starring Malcolm David Kelley, Devon Bostick, Clifton Powell, Keke Palmer, Kate Vernon, Brian Markinson, Alex Karzis, and Karen LeBlanc (2005); and another episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (2005);



Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen in 2004

In 2006, Ted landed another series role as Dr. Bill Hoffman in Help Me Help You.  He co-starred with Jere Burns (Michael), Charlie Finn (Dave), Darlene Hunt (Darlene), Suzy Nakamura (Inger), and Jim Rash (Jonathan).  The show was short lived and only lasted 14 episodes before being cancelled.



Ted Danson and the cast of Help Me Help You

During his run on Help Me Help You, Danson also starred in Guy Walks Into a Bar with Jeff Ellingson, Kathryn Fiore, Kirsten Maryott, George Grey, Robin Thede, Chris Williams, Gabriel Tigerman, and former Cheers co-star George Wendt (2006); Bye Bye Benjamin co-starring Griffin Armstorff, Roland Armstorff, Seymour Cassel, Taylor Baugh, Lolita Davidovich, and Benjamin Bryan (2006); and an episode of Heist starring Marika Dominczyk, Dougray Scott and Steve Harris (2006).

After Help Me Help You in 2007, Danson almost imediately landed the role of Arthur Frobisher on the show Damages.  Appearing in roughly half of the episodes so far, he co-starred with Glenn Close (Patty Hewes), Rose Byrne (Ellen Parsons), Tate Donovan (Tom Shayes), Zachary Booth (Michael Hewes), and Anastasia Griffith (Katie Connor).  As of the writing of this article the show is still running.



Ted Danson in the TV show Damages

During his run on Damages, Danson has also starred in films such as Nobel Son co-starring Alan Rickman, Bryan Greenberg, Mary Steenburgen, Eliza Dushku, Shawn Hatosy, Bill Pullman, Lindy Booth, Danny DeVito, Ernie Hudson, and Tracey Walter (2007); Curb Your Enthusiasm (4 episodes, 2007); Mad Money co-starring Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes, Adam Rothenberg, Meagen Fay, Peyton 'Alex' Smith, and Christopher McDonald (2008); King of the Hill starring Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Stephen Root, Pamela Adlon, Johnny Hardwick, and Brittany Murphy (voice, 2008); The Human Contract co-starring Jason Clarke, Paz Vega, Jada Pinkett Smith, Idris Elba, T.J. Thyne, Steven Brand, Tava Smiley, Nicole Muirbrook, and Joanna Cassidy (2008); The Magic 7 co-starring Jason Aaron Baca, Kevin Bacon, Michael J. Fox, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Judy Collins, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John, Ice-T, Meryl Streep, and James Earl Jones (voice, 2009); and The Open Road co-starring Justin Timberlake, Mary Steenburgen, Harry Dean Stanton, Kate Mara, Jeff Bridges, and Laurie Foxx (2009).



Ted Danson 2008
Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen in 2008

In 2009, Danson began playing the role of George Christopher on the series Bored to Death.  He co-starred with Jason Schwartzman (Jonathan Ames), Heather Burns (Leah), and Zach Galifianakis ( Ray Hueston). Danson also appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm (2 episodes, 2009) during this time as well as Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! starring Tim Heidecker, John C. Reilly, Eric Wareheim and Bob Odenkirk (2010); Fight for Your Right Revisited co-starring Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, Rashida Jones, Mike Mills, Arabella Field, Seth Rogen, and Susan Sarandon (2011);



Ted Danson today

Ted will be appearing on the new 2011 season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as D.B. Russell, playing the head honcho of the crime lab who had once upon a time been Gil Grissom.


Ted Danson and Marg Helgenberger in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2011

Danson has future productions in the works such as voicework in Jock with Donald Sutherland, Helen Hunt, Bryan Adams,William Baldwin, Mandy Patinkin, and Desmond Tutu (2011); and Big Miracle co-starring Kristen Bell, Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Vinessa Shaw, Dermot Mulroney, and Stephen Root scheduled for release in 2012.




Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Michael Landon who played Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie and Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza

Michael Landon was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz October 31, 1936 in Queens, New York. He chose his stage name randomly out of a telephone directory.  He is known for his long time role as 'Little Joe' Cartwright on the TV show Bonanza.  However, Michael is probably best known for his role as Charles Ingalls on the TV show Little House on the Prairie.  Landon also played the popular role of Jonathan Smith on the series Highway to Heaven. Landon holds a record for the most time starring in full one hour TV shows, more than any other actor or actress.  The three main shows he starred in were tremendously successful which helped him earn this title.  He tended play family oriented roles and stick to family oriented shows.


Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls on the TV show Little House on the Prairie
Michael Landon as 'Little Joe' Cartwright on the TV show Bonanza

1956

Landon made his first film appearance in These Wilder Years in 1956.  He co-starred with James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Walter Pidgeon, Dorothy Adams, and Dean Jones.  That same year he made his first TV series appearance on the show Sheriff of Cochise starring John Bromfield, Stan Jones and Roy Engel.

Michael would go on to appear in Studio 57 starring Marguerite Chapman, Robert Armstrong, Jean Byron, Paul Bryar, and Don Haggerty; The Adventures of Jim Bowie starring Scott Forbes, Minerva Urecal and William Schallert; Crusader starring Brian Keith, Edwin Reimers and Wilfred Knapp; Wire Service starring Dane Clark, Mercedes McCambridge and George Brent; and Landon would star in two appearances in Crossroads starring Jeff Morrow, Robert Carson and Frank J. Scannell.


1957

Michael appeared in Dr. Christian starring Macdonald Carey, Jan Shepard and Jack Hogan; Fight for the Title starring George Brenlin, Don Haggerty, William Newell, Bill Erwin, and Arlene McQuade (1957); The 20th Century-Fox Hour: End of a Gun starring Jimmy Baird, John Drew Barrymore, Lyle Bettger, Richard Crane, and Jamie Farr; Cavalcade of America: The Man from St. Paul co-starring Bud Alberts, Stacy Keach, Claire Carleton and Bonnie Franklin; Telephone Time starring John Nesbitt, Frank Baxter and Maurice Marsac; State Trooper starring Rod Cameron, Robert Armstrong and Don Haggerty;

Landon landed his first starring role in a film in 1957 playing the role of Tony Rivers in I Was a Teenage Werewolf co-starring Yvonne Fedderson, Whit Bissell, Barney Phillips, and Malcolm Atterbur.

Michael Landon and Whit Bissell in the film I Was a Teenage Werewolf 1957
Michael Landon as Tony Rivers in  I Was a Teenage Werewolf 1957

He would go on to appear in The Court of Last Resort starring Robert H. Harris, Carleton Young and S. John Launer; Suspicion  starring Dennis O'Keefe, Holly Bane, Clark Howat, Marian Seldes, and Jack Klugman; and 3 episodes of Tales of Wells Fargo starring Dale Robertson, William Demarest and Kit Carson.

1958

Landon would appear in U.S. Marshal starring John Bromfield, James Griffith and Buck Young; Cheyenne starring Clint Walker, Clyde Howdy and Fred Carson; Maracaibo co-starring Cornel Wilde, Jean Wallace, Francis Lederer, and Abbe Lane; High School Confidential! co-starring Russ Tamblyn, Jan Sterling, Mamie Van Doren, Diane Jergens, John Drew Barrymore, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Charles Chaplin Jr.; several episodes of Schlitz Playhouse with John Forsythe, Abby Dalton, Claude Akins, Staats Cotsworth, Jean Allison, DeForest Kelley, Robert Crosson, Joyce Cunning, and Andrew Duggan; Alcoa Theatre: Johnny Risk co-starring Lew Ayres, Bonnie Bolding, Robert Griffin, DeForest Kelley, and Alan Hale Jr.; God's Little Acre co-starring Robert Ryan, Tina Louise, Buddy Hackett, Aldo Ray, Jack Lord, and Vic Morrow; The Texan starring Rory Calhoun, Regis Parton and Duncan Lamont; and Trackdown starring Robert Culp, Norman Leavitt and Ellen Corby.



Michael Landon in his younger years

1959

Landon landed his first regular role on a TV series as 'Little Joe' Cartwright on the TV show Bonanza in 1959.  He co-starred with Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright), Dan Blocker ('Hoss' Cartwright), and Pernell Roberts (Adam Cartwright).  Landon would play the role of Little Joe until the show ended in 1973.  He starred in an incredible 429 episodes over 14 seasons.  



Cast of Bonanza, the early years left to right: Pernell Roberts (Adam Cartwright), Michael Landon ('Little Joe' Cartwright), Lorne Green (Ben Cartwright), and Dan Blocker ('Hoss' Cartwright)
Michael Landon as 'Little Joe' Cartwright in the TV western Bonanza

In 1959 Michael also appeared in Frontier Doctor starring Rex Allen, Alan Dinehart III and Chubby Johnson; Wanted: Dead or Alive starring Steve McQueen, Wright King and Jack Tornek; Tombstone Territory starring Pat Conway, Richard Eastham and Quintin Sondergaard; Playhouse 90: Project Immortality co-starrng Lee J. Cobb, Gusti Huber, Patty McCormack, and Kenneth Haigh; The Rifleman starring Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford and Paul Fix; The Legend of Tom Dooley co-starring Jo Morrow and Jack Hogan; and Johnny Staccato starring John Cassavetes, Eduardo Ciannelli and Frank London.



Michael Landon and Dan Blocker of the TV show Bonanza

During his run on Bonanza, Landon starred in Luke and the Tenderfoot co-starring Richard Bakalyan, Jim Bannon, Charles Bronson, Edgar Buchanan, and Dick Bernie (1965); Swing Out, Sweet Land co-starring John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Dan Blocker, Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Lorne Greene, Celeste Holm, and Phyllis Diller (1970); The Red Skelton Hour starring Red Skelton, Billy Barty, David Rose, and Bob Duggan (1970); The Special London Bridge Special with Jennifer O'Neill, Kirk Douglas, Tom Jones, Jonathan Winters, Chief Dan George, Lorne Greene, and Charlton Heston (1972);



Members of the Cartwright family from the TV show Bonanza: Michael Landon ('Little Joe'), Lorne Greene (Ben), and Dan Blocker ('Hoss')
Michael Landon as Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright in the TV show Bonanza 1959-1973

In the later years of Bonanza, Landon honed other skills by directing 14 episodes as well as writing 20 episodes.  He would put these new found talents to good use.


Lorne Green and Michael Landon reunite years after their days together on the set of Bonanza

1974 - 1983

After Bonanza was cancelled, Landon would a year later start a project of his own. He would produce, write, direct and star in the TV show Little House on the Prairie.  The show was a family western based on the book Little House in the Big Woods written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Landon would play the role of Charles Ingalls, Melissa Sue Gilbert would play the part of Laura Ingalls.  Other co-stars on the show included Karen Grassle (Caroline Ingalls), Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls), Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Victor French (Isaiah Edwards), and Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). 


Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls of the TV show Little House on the Prairie
Michael's daughter Leslie Landon also appeared in the show through the years as various characters, but in the last couple of years she was a regular as Etta Plum. The show ran for 187 episodes over 9 years and ended in 1983.  These portion of his career may have been overshadowed by the 14 year run of Bonanza, but it was still a highly successful and popular show by all means which makes it a very memorable portion of Landon's career.


Karen Grassle and Michael Landon (Caroline and Charles Ingalls) of the TV show Little House on the Prairie
Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls of the TV show Little House on the Prairie

Having produced, directed, and written most of the shows in addition to acting in them, Landon did not have much time for other appearances.  However, he did find time to direct, write, and star in The Loneliest Runner co-starring Lance Kerwin, Brian Keith, Melissa Sue Anderson, and DeAnn Mears (1976); and the Thanksgiving "Little House" special entitled Little House Years starring the regular show cast.



Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls), Melissa Sue Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) , and Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls) of the TV show Little House on the Prairie
The Ingalls family from Little House on the Prairie. Front: Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls), Karen Grassle (Caroline Ingalls), Melissa Sue Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) Back: Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls), Lindsay or Sidney Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls)
Also during this time period, Landon produced, wrote, and even directed a couple of episodes, but did not star in "Little House" star Merlin Olsen's own show Father Murphy from 1981 to 1983.

After Little House on the Prairie, Landon starred in Love Is Forever with Laura Gemser, Priscilla Presley, Edward Woodward, and Jürgen Prochnow (1983); Little House: Look Back to Yesterday co-starring Melissa Gilbert, Dean Butler, Victor French, Richard Bull, Jonathan Gilbert, Allison Balson, Kevin Hagen, Shannen Doherty, and Leslie Landon (1983); Little House: The Last Farewell co-starring Melissa Gilbert, Dean Butler, Victor French, Richard Bull, Jonathan Gilbert, Allison Balson, Kevin Hagen, Karen Grassle, Shannen Doherty, and Leslie Landon (1984); and Sam's Son co-starring Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Timothy Patrick Murphy, Hallie Todd, Jonna Lee, William Bassett, and James Karen (1984).  Landon would produce, but have only his voice heard in the Holiday TV movie Little House: Bless All the Dear Children (1984).



Michael Landon

In 1984, Landon would be at it again producing, directing, writing AND acting in most episodes his new TV show Highway to Heaven.  He would star as Jonathan Smith a fallen angel sent to earth to do good.  Landon teamed up with his co-star and director of the "Little House" TV movies, Victor French as police officer Mark Gordon. His other co-stars on this hit show would be a line of weekly guest stars a few of which are established stars, however they were mostly up and coming stars including Jennifer Parsons, Mary McCusker, Robin Riker, Dennis A. Pratt, David Spielberg, Helen Hayes, Ned Beatty, Herb Edelman, Peter Billingsley, Eli Wallach, Danny Pintauro, Will Estes, Christine Healy, and Leann Hunley.  The show would run for six successful years ending in 1989.  



Victor French (Mark Gordon) and Michael Landon (Jonathan Smith) in the TV show Highway to Heaven
Michael Landon as Jonathan Smith in the TV show Highway to Heaven

In 1990, Landon would direct, write the screenplay, and act in the film Where Pigeons Go to Die co-starring Carol Barta, Richard Bull and Art Carney.

Landon's last directing, writing, and acting performance would be in 1991 in the film Us co-starring Barney Martin, Meg Wittner, Casey Peterson, David Spielberg, Deborah Benson, and Cynthia Geary.



Michael Landon in his later years

In April of 1991, Landon was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which then quickly spread to his liver.  Michael Landon died July 1, 1991 after a four month battle with the illness.  He will be sorely missed, however, he has left a legacy of family shows and films for which he will be forever remembered.