‘Little House on the Prairie’: A Look Back on the Life and Career of Michael Landon

Michael Landon is best known for his starring role in the popular series Little House on the Prairie. Here’s a look back at his life and career.

Michael Landon’s movies and TV shows

Michael Landon on the set of 'Little House on the Prairie | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Michael Landon on the set of ‘Little House on the Prairie | 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 the Joseph “Little Jo” 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 awards

Landon won Western Heritage Awards in 1970 and 1975 for Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie. In 1981, he received a Western Writer’s of America Award for a Little House on the Prairie script titled “May We Make Them Proud.” In 1984, Landon was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Landon was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1995.

Michael Landon’s work outside of acting

Landon’s entertainment career extends beyond acting. He also had credits as a writer, producer, and director. Landon made his directorial debut with the television series Bonanza. He directed 14 episodes from 1968 to 1973. Landon also directed episodes of Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven.

Landon had 13 producer credits. His debut as a producer was with the 1974 TV movie The Jackie Robinson Story. In 1976, he produced the TV movie The Loneliest Runner. His other production credits include Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy, and Highway to Heaven. Furthermore, Landon has 12 writing credits for his work on Bonanza, Us, Where Pigeons Go to Die, Little House Years, and more.

Michael Landon’s life before acting

When Landon was in college, he was a javelin thrower. In high school, he was reportedly the best javelin thrower in the United States. Landon told The Washington Post when he was a kid he believed he was strong because his hair was long.

Unfortunately, the long hair became a problem when Landon was older. He says his peers treated him differently. He recalled one day when football players at the University of Southern California pushed him down and shaved off his hair. Landon told the publication he couldn’t throw the javelin after that incident and he decided to leave school.

Michael Landon’s net worth

At the time of his death, Landon had an estimated net worth of $40 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

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