How Old Was Michael Landon When He Died?

Little House on the Prairie star Michael Landon starred on the series as Charles Ingalls from 1974 to 1983. The actor died in 1991 after a successful television career. How old was Landon when he died? Here’s what we know.

Michael Landon’s television career

Michael Landon poses on the set of Little House on the Prairie
Michael Landon | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Michael Landon, also known as Eugene Maurice Orowitz, was born on October 31, 1936. One of Landon’s early acting roles was in a 1955 episode of Luke and the Tenderfoot titled “The Boston Kid.” He played the role of Clyde Meacham. The following year, Landon appeared in an episode of The Sheriff of Cochise titled “Human Bomb.” He made his film debut in the 1957 movie I Was a Teenage Werewolf.

Landon continued to rise to fame after joining the cast of Bonanza in 1959. He played Joseph “Little Joe” Cartwright until the show ended in 1973. Landon became a household name after playing Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie from 1974 to 1983.

Landon starred in yet another successful television series when he began playing Jonathan Smith on Highway to Heaven. Landon’s final on-screen appearance was in the TV movie Us.

Michael Landon’s age when he died

Landon was 54 years old when he died on July 1, 1991. His cause of death was liver and pancreatic cancer. His daughter, Leslie Landon Matthews, told People her father tried to remain hopeful about the outcome when he first received the cancer diagnosis. He fought hard to beat the disease until the very end.

“He definitely showed his vulnerable side in announcing this illness, but he wanted to stay as hopeful as possible that he could beat it,” said Matthews. “I think the part that probably was surprising to all of us was how quickly we saw his health deteriorate.”

Michael Landon’s children keep his memory alive

Landon’s children work hard to keep their father’s memory alive. During an interview with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), they shared some of the thoughts and memories they have about him.

“I keep my father’s memory alive by living each day to the best of my ability and try being of service to others,” says Shawna Landon in her interview with PanCAN. “I instill some of his strong beliefs in my children–to work hard, be a good human being, and live each day to the fullest. Never take what you have for granted and whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. I miss my dad every day and strive to be the best version of myself to pass on his legacy to my family.”

Yellowstone star Jennifer Landon says she holds her childhood memories close to her heart. She still remembers some of the funny things her father used to do.

“Some of my favorite memories of Pops were all the times he let me order pu pu platters just so I could say ‘poopoo’ as a 5-year-old,” she tells PanCAN. “And when he covered all the snow in the backyard with strawberry Quik and let me eat it. I recently started watching Little House from the beginning.”

 RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon Said He Was ‘As Insecure As Any Other Artist’

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