‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon Got Revenge on Geraldo Rivera for Calling His Wife an ‘Air-headed Bimbo’

Michael Landon was married to his third wife, Cindy Landon, from 1983 until his death from cancer in 1991. When Geraldo Rivera reportedly called Landon’s wife an “air-headed bimbo” on his talk show, the Little House on the Prairie star didn’t back down. Landon decided to get revenge.

How did Michael Landon meet Cindy Landon?

Michael and Cindy Landon | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Michael and Cindy Landon | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Landon met Cindy (formerly Cindy Clerico) on the set of Little House on the Prairie. She worked on the set as a makeup artist. At the time, Landon was married to his second wife, Lynn Noe. They were married from 1963 to 1982. Landon and Cindy had two children together, named Jennifer and Sean (he had a total of nine children).

During a 1985 interview, Landon told People that he and Noe had significant relationship issues before he met Cindy. He made it clear he didn’t leave Noe for Cindy simply because she was younger.

“You have to have major differences and a deep-rooted need to stop a relationship after as many years as I was married,” said Landon. “I would have done anything to make that relationship continue, but I could not. It’s not just difficult for the wife. It is painful for the husband too. But it is far better than letting it stay the way it was.”

Michael Landon got revenge on Geraldo Rivera for disrespecting his wife

Geraldo Rivera | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Geraldo Rivera | Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Landon was furious after Rivera called Cindy an “air-headed bimbo” during his show, reports Deseret News. This reportedly occurred while Rivera was interviewing Landon’s ex-wife. Landon was concerned about the impact an interview like this could have on his children.

“It’s bad enough to encourage this kind of thing, but he’s talking about people he doesn’t know in a situation where a lot of children are involved,” Landon told the publication. “He calls my wife–who happens to be the sweetest and nicest person I have ever met, and who is adored by all the children–an air-headed bimbo.”

Michael and Cindy Landon with their son Sean Landon | Ron Galella, Ltd/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Landon wasn’t about to look the other way. He decided the best way to get revenge would be to take a jab at Rivera on his hit TV show, Highway to Heaven. The series had an episode about two high school journalists who tried to inimidate a school bus driver accused of molesting a student.

Landon’s character, who plays at angel, stops the journalists from moving forward with the story because of a lack of evidence. According to Deseret News, one of the student journalists replies: “Do you realize we can make a movie of the week out of this? We’ll send this to Hollywood. They love this kind of (stuff). Why do you think they watch Geraldo Rivera?”

What Michael Landon loved about his wife, Cindy

Landon said one thing he loved about Cindy was that she was a devoted mother. In the book Conversations with Michael Landon, he joked that she spent more time with the kids than she did with him. He said Cindy was different from his second wife when it came to child rearing. According to Landon, Noe wasn’t as involved in raising them.  

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