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TV Titans: Michael Landon



An occasional series looking at some true Titans of TV. Their characters are legend: Woodward. Austin. Tanna. Little Joe. But the importance of the fictional pales in comparison to that of the near-mythical actors and actresses who breathed life into the roles. Their shows seldom were Emmy-winning, but their work was seen in your household if you owned a set at the time, their names known to you. We salute TV’s true stalwarts — those with the constitution to make it to the set year after year, show after show.

This time it’s the turn of Michael Landon.

Notable contributions:
Highway to Heaven, Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza

Memorable traits:
A generous reserve of patience underneath a tough-but-fair surface. The man considered and judged, but wasn’t afraid to throw down and mix it up when the game became one of knuckles.

TV Titans Michael Landon in Bonanza

A young Michael in Bonanza.

Staying power:
From pioneer to caretaker to giver of aid and solace — the late Landon rode with the men who tamed this wild country, then settled down and busted its sod to conceive, nourish and raise a family. Afterward, he stuck around to comfort the sinners who fell through the cracks via carefully delivered wisdom and the occasional angelic nudge. A man could do worse, friend.