Twenty five years ago today, Michael Landon passed away from pancreatic cancer. I can still remember being in the library as a senior at Maryville College when I learned of his cancer and was very saddened by the news. As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, it wasn’t what I wanted to be, it was “who” I wanted to be. The answer was “Little Joe Cartwright” from the television series, Bonanza, played by Michael Landon.
Landon, my all time favorite actor, was very influential to me as a young writer, director, and entertainer. In 2009, I was one of three presenters at the official Bonanza 50th Anniversary Friendship Convention in Lake Tahoe, NV and had the privilege of meeting his wife, Cindy, and son, Sean. Although it has been 25 years since his passing, Michael Landon’s legacy still lives on daily through reruns of Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Highway to Heaven. By the way, who is my four year old son’s favorite cowboy? “Little Joe Cartwright.”