Open Letter to Michael Landon

A Tribute to Michael Landon

Dear Michael Landon (Eugene Maurice Orowitz), You've been on my mind lately. It could be because your birthday is approaching. Your 76th birthday would have been on Halloween Oct. 31, 2012 what a celebration that would have been.

I could also be thinking of you because of the passing of Patrick Swayze (Sept. 2009) and Steve Jobs (Oct. 2011) due to Pancreatic Cancer. I never knew what a pancreas was until it was announced in April 1991 that you were a victim. I could only imagine how devastated and distraught you and your family were.

Michael Landon
Michael Landon
Little House On The Prairie
Little House On The Prairie
Highway To Heaven
Highway To Heaven

I among millions of your fans were heartbroken and wished everyday that you would get better. Your TV fans willed you to recover, but cancer won. Unfortunately we lost you in July of 1991, only four months after your diagnosis. Your family always spoke very highly of you. Your peers never had a negative word to say about you, that I ever heard.

They emphasized the fighter and champion that you were until the end. Sure the critics did mention you might have been a bit excessive with drinking and smoking but that was your choice and I don't believe it was the cause of your cancer. My cousin who was a healthy 40 year old female also passed away a few years ago of pancreatic cancer. She never smoked, drank and she was a fitness buff. She was diagnosed and died all within 6 months. Pancreatic cancer is just mean. Heck cancer in any way, shape or form is mean.

Here we are twenty one years after your might be gone, but you were never forgotten. I also wanted to make you aware that pancreatic cancer is still as deadly as it was twenty one years ago. Modern medicine still doesn't have a clue on how to prevent or cure it. Sure there are theories, but if Steve Jobs couldn't be saved with all his millions of dollars, the rest of us don't have a prayer. That doesn't speak to highly of our medical advancement through the years.

Michael Landon TV actor

On a lighter first caught my attention at age ten when I saw you on TV as Little Joe on Bonanza. The series had ended that year but that didn't stop me from becoming a fan! You, along with Adam, Hoss and your dad Ben Cartwright always had a wild western adventure for us each week. I still watch the show in syndication. Life on the Ponderosa didn't seem like an easy task but you cowboys always left me wanting more. What I didn't realize back then, but learned later on was that Ben was widowed three times and the three sons all had different mothers. Interesting take on a TV show from the 60's time era.

I followed your career to Little House On The Prairie. I imagined myself being part of the Ingalls family and taking up residence on the prairie. This show made me appreciate the hard work and dedication of a farming families life. I have to be honest with you, I never would have survived. I'm just not a prairie kind of girl. I don't think the farm life is for me. The idea of camping to me is sleeping in a hotel with the window slightly ajar. Yes, that's my idea of roughing it. It would have been nice to visit for a week. I think I could have helped Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace tend to the livestock or use a washboard to clean laundry. I possibly could have helped retrieve water from the well. On second thought, probably not. I'll just continue to watch the TV show and imagine.

You then moved to Highway To Heaven, as did I. How could I not? Okay this might be a good time for a confession...I had a massive crush on you! Come on, what women didn't? You were Michael Landon the multi-talented actor, writer, director, singer and producer! When it was announced that you had passed away I couldn't help but wonder if you would continue on with your role as Jonathan Smith the angel sent back to earth to help people. I sure hope so. Your character offered much hope to it's viewers about angels.

What I've learned from you is that we aren't invincible. Be the best you can be during the time you have on earth. If possible leave a mark so that when you are gone, you will always be remembered. You will always be remembered for all the good you left behind. For all you have given your fans I present you with the Emmy that you well-deserved and earned, but were never honored with even though you were nominated.

Your legacy will live on with your three wives, nine children and your many fans. Oh to think of the many tales you could have shared with us today. Your wit and humor was always appreciated and your laughter was contagious! When you laughed everyone laughed! Your singing voice was beautiful, I wish there were more videos and songs to enjoy. I often wonder how much more you would have accomplished if given the opportunity. I also wonder what your secrets were to having the best hair of any Hollywood actor!

Thank you for all you have given us and what you have left behind. Whether we remember you as Little Joe, Charles Ingalls, Jonathan Smith, Michael Landon, Eugene Maurice Orowitz, father, husband or friend, actor or singer....your light will forever shine on and will never go dim.

Shenandoah sung by Michael Landon (ballad)

Remember Me

Remember me with smiles and laughter,
For that's the way I'll remember you all.
If you only remember me with tears,
Then don't remember me at all.

Michael Landon

Michael Landon ... I Like It Like That (he had some moves)

A violinist also.... so many talents!

© 2011 Linda Bilyeu

More by this Author

What are your memories of Michael Landon? 75 comments

manthy profile image

manthy 5 years ago from Alabama,USA

Voted up and awesome - I remember him from little house on the prairie and for his amazing will to live.

What a nice guy - so talented - thanks for reminding us of a great person,father,actor & friend.

geegee77 profile image

geegee77 5 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

Voted up also, I used to love him especially on Little house on the prairie, me and my sister used to watch it together. I always thought that little cabin they lived in looked so cozy and warm. I think he was as awsome a man as I've always heard people describe him. Very talented man, awsome job sunshine, still working on my next hub, Ive got lil Faith & Savannah today so not much working on that as you can imagine:) Take care:) ge

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 5 years ago from Georgia

What a nice tribute to Michael Landon. I loved him as Little Joe and I've heard over the years what a fantastic man he was. You put a lot into this hub and your admiration/crush shows through. Good writing.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

AWESOME, Sunshine. Michael was quite a guy, God rest his sweet soul. Believe husband is watching TV........"BONANZA." You and that ESP of yours! Thanks for this wonderful tribute to a much-loved actor.

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Rest In Peace Michael,You've Earned It As One Of The Hardest Working Wonders In Show Business.;)

A Fitting And Beautiful Tribute Linda.;)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

I can see from your comments that I'm not the only one who still remembers and treasures Michael Landon. He's surely missed by many as I'm being told here and via other sites! I knew he was a unique multi-talented man BUT I actually discovered more about him from writing this article then I thought I knew! Thank you for all your wonderful comments!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Dear Linda, Many thanks for the lovely compliment to the community.

I have your beautiful tribute to "Michael Landon" translated into Dutch,

and have determined that you put words came from the heart in all sincerity.

You have real talent as a writer to get people emotionally reachable, because I am a hobby poet and write poems accessible life.

I give you the freedom to continue this community to others to carry out, and wish you much success with writing!!!

Sorry, if my English is not correct,

because I use an Internet translator.

My English is limited to write ...

Many thanks,Roger Bamps from Belgium :)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

The above comment from Roger makes me smile :)

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I have seen plenty of Bonanza. Ironically, one of my classmates died of pancreatic cancer at 29. He had been 24 when he was diagnosed. I didn't know you could get that type of cancer that early.

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Very nice tribute and awareness hub. Michael Landon was one of the celebrities I grew up with....when I started becoming aware of things...I noticed he was on the reruns of Bonanza...on primetime on Little House on the Praire....a class man taken way too soon.

He actually does not sound too bad singing in the dad always liked his I Was A Teenage Werewolf movie back in the 1950s.

Thanks for sharing this hub....Voted up awesome and interesting.

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

What a wonderful tribute to one of my favorite actors and characters in the cast of family members we knew as Bonanza. I never missed a series as a teen and adult.May he be RIP with all of them on the big ranch in the sky. He was a very talented actor and moved on to various t.v. series and performed them all well.

I loved little house on the Prairies and my ex and I named our first born Laura after Laura from that show. Thank you for the fond memories of a man we all miss and adore. Rated way up.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

@flora cancer has no age barriers. @cogerson I also became a fan when reruns began. I read about the Teenage Werewolf but that was before my time :) @saddlerider ... Melissa Gilbert would appreciate knowing you named your daughter after her character! Who knows maybe she'll read this letter and comment :))

Barbara Turpin profile image

Barbara Turpin 5 years ago from N. California

This is a Great tribute to a multiple-talented man

I voted !!! (lots of areas)

Dave Ligler profile image

Dave Ligler 5 years ago

As Bonanza was one of my family's favorites as a child I saw most every episode. Little Joe was always my favorite ! And that shot from Little House of the funeral was great ! My kind of funeral, a celebration of life ! Voted way Up Sunshine, Michael would be very proud of you !

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

@barbara thank you for your votes! @dave awwwww Michael would be proud and I agree about funeral video...cotton eye joe :))

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

Great tribute Sunshine to a great actor and man. I always enjoyed Little House on the Praire, despite it being before my time. Voted up.

Stokermm profile image

Stokermm 5 years ago from Gainesville, FL

I'm too young to know him, but nice tribute!! I can tell that you really enjoyed him. :)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

@lyricwriter ... thank you for your vote!

@stoker ... you should check out Little House or Highway to Heaven, you would appreciate them :)

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

Michael Landon always seemed to be the perfect father on Little House on the Prairie. That really was a great series. I cannot believe it has been twenty years since Landon's death. I don't know if I ever realized the cause was pancreatic cancer. It truly is "mean."

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi ktrapp! Michael Landon's nine children also said he was the perfect father. I guess he wasn't just acting in Little House as Charles Ingalls.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

(Further proof on how much Michael Landon touched his fans lives)

There you can rest assured Linda!!,we enjoy your writing(;o)

I see it like this:"I grew up with my TV Cartwright family"

And have the values that I have learned from them,

as something very special,and always abided in my life.

Ben Car...twright as my father and his sons as my brothers.

"Little Joe" was my favorite brother.

Family was never a big word in my life because I was an unwanted child ... Too bad!

"The Ranch Ponderoza:"I have always given a warm home in mind and in my heart.

Dear Linda,do you persist in writing,about what you felt at the thought of this extraordinary actor and person:"Michael Landon".

"For the harsh world of today,your words have more than needed".

Kind regards,Roger from Belgium.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Hi Sunshine! Great tribute to Michael Landon! I was deeply hurt when he passed because he was so much a part of my growing up in watching him on my favorite shows. I remember watching him in a movie called "I Was a Teenage Werewolf."

Pancreatic cancer is a mother. I had a very healthy cousin to die of it. I hope researchers continue to press forward to find a cure.

Thanks for another timely hub. We are blessed by you. Voted up, up and away!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Dex! Thank you for your support and kind words. One word at a time, we all could make a difference :)

rsusan profile image

rsusan 5 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for taking us back to the 'good old days' in this way, Sunshine. Voted up. Somehow memories of a star like Michael Landon always go hand in hand with a warm, nostalgic smile.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Thank you Susan, that's exactly what I was doing while I was creating this tribute....smiling :)

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Sunshine - I loved Michael Landon - he was the very first actor I ever loved on TV! I did see him in Bonanza but Little House on the Prairie was my favorite television show. what a nice tribute to him - voted up!

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

This hub is an awesome tribute to Michael Landon. Like you Sunshine, Bonaza had stopped on the UK TV as well. My Mum used to love all the westerns and so we would watch as well. I loved the show and 'Little Joe' in particular. And we also followed Michael onto the other TV shows - his smile was one of the cutest I have ever seen even to this day!

You are also right about pancreatic cancer. The pancreas is such a wonderful, intricate, complicated organ that carries out so many essential functions that it's not surprising there is still no real understanding about - not only CA of the pancreas - but many other conditions that affect this organ. My oldest sister's friend, Gracie, was 34 years of age when she died from pancreatic cancer. Gracie never smoked or drank alcohol ever. She was also very healthy - did sports, excellent diet and so on. She died within 7 months of the diagnosis. It is heartbreaking and this form of ravaging cancer takes so many victims of all ages and with seemingly very little time for them to prepare.

But despite all this you still managed to write such a beautiful tribute to this very talented actor who is still missed so much by people all over the world! Many thanks for sharing!

Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Sunshine, oh wasn't he handsome in his day, I was a big fan, especially when he was in Bonanza.

I haven't been able to get the videos to play, so I will come back later and try them again.

A wonderful letter to Michael,a great hub and tribute, thank you for sharing, voting up. Best wishes MM

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Real! I'm with you on both of your statements! :)

Hi Seeker! A tribute and a shout-out to pancreatic cancer awareness, Sunshine leaves no stone unturned. Thanks for sharing your story.

Hi MM! I wish the videos worked for you, they are SO WORTH the watch. Superb!!!

profile image

SusieQ42 5 years ago

Excellent hub! I too loved Michael Landon. It seems that the nice guys go first. So sad. I was also in love with Ricky Nelson who died in a plane crash years ago. Oh well, may Little Joe is my guardian angel!!!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Susie! Are we going to be sharing Michael along with Tim??! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts about Michael Landon :)

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

This is a lovely tribute, Sunshine, to a much-loved and lovable actor. Isn't it wonderful how much we learn about someone when we do the research and learn more about their life? It makes the person so much more real to us.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

So very true drbj! :)

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

You have done a wonderful tribute here Sunshine. I wa a huge fan of Michael Landon and well remember all of those shows. You weren't the only one who had a big crush on him. A very talented and loveable person who will never be forgotten.

Fantastic job voted up

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Roseway...Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Michael Landon :)

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

This is so beautiful, I loved Michael too and he did such wonderful work. I heard Joan Rivers put him down once and his Jesus or religion more or less and I can't tell you how that infuriated me, not long after that she lost her husband. Well, Joan is another story but I only heard that one bad against him and if we only had the world full of Michael Landon's, how lucky would we be? Thank you so much. I just found out that he sang since coming here and had a hub on it once. Wish I had known long ago, I'd sure have bought his records! He was so good looking, who could have beat him I sure don't know.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Jackie, Thank you for sharing. Joan Rivers has no credability with me and many others. That was a bit of a shocker when Edgar committed suicide, sad for Melissa.

I agree this world could use a LOT more Michael Landon's!

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

I have to admit, I had a huge crush on him too. I followed him through all those series also, and still watch Bonanza. He did have an infectious laugh.

I did not know that he could sing though. He sang Shenodoah beautifully. Thanks so much for sharing. I truly enjoyed this hub.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi homestead! Shenodoah was amazing, who would have thought?! Not me! Michael still continues to surprise us after 20 years of being gone BUT never forgotten :)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Oh how I loved this one,talk about a trip down 'Memory Lane.'

I vote up up and away ,great work!!!

Take care and have a great day.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Eiddwen, I'm happy you enjoyed you trip down memory lane. I learned more about Michael creating this hub then I thought I knew. Thank you for the visit :)

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Beautiful tribute. I used to watch Bonanza every week and although I was pretty young at the time, I thought that I was in love with Little Joe. Wonderful Hub!!!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Susan, I think every female that watched Bonanza who was old enough to speak really liked Little Joe :))

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

He was one who was NOT afraid to be a Christian in Hollywood....His Little House episodes displayed Christian faith....His Highway to Heaven glorified God.

That is no longer the case in hollywood no days....Landon had much integrity and I miss his presence in Hollywood.

Great hub!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

I agree CMerritt, Michael Landon was one of a kind. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Judi Bee profile image

Judi Bee 5 years ago from UK

A great tribute to a lovely man and an wonderfully understated way of drawing attention to a horrible disease. Voted up.

amymarie_5 profile image

amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

I grew up on Little House on the Prairie. I never missed a single episode. I was crushed when Michael Landon died. Cancer does not discriminate. Anyone can get it. It's an evil disease.

stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

Aww, such a lovely hub! This guy was always on my mind as a child, but I only thought of him as "Pa Ingalls". Voted up and beautiful :)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Judi, Amymarie and Stephanie...Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Michael Landon. He'll always be in our memories :)

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

October 31st would have been Michael Landon's 75th Birthday....Happy Birthday to a shining star!!!

Roger Bamps 5 years ago

Dear Linda,What you wrote pretty respectful homage.I have read with interest!!!And am sure that every:"Michael Landon"fan cares about you(;o))Many respectful regards,Roger from Belgium.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Thank you Roger! You just might be his BIGGEST fan, besides me of course :))

Maria Cristina 5 years ago

Simplemente es el amor de mi vida.

Me levanto y acuesto pensando en el.

Si nos vemos en otra vida

ya no vuelvas a esconderte

aqui te dejo una señal en el camino de la suerte.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

I have no idea what you said Maria BUT I have a strong feeling you were sharing your admiration for Michael Landon! Happy 75th Birthday to our shining star :)

Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA


trusouldj profile image

trusouldj 5 years ago from Indiana

I loved Walnut Grove. But mostly I loved the way Pa was willing to do anything to keep his family safe and warm. LHOTP was still good after Michael left,but not the same.

Susan Verre 5 years ago

MicHael Landon You Are My Angel Love Susan Verre.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Sharon ~ Trusould ~ Susan ... Thank you for your comments and stopping by to show Michael Landon some love!

Susan Verre 5 years ago

Michael Landon You Are My Angel Love Susan Verre.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Thank you for sharing Susan!

rogerbamps profile image

rogerbamps 4 years ago from Bree in Belgium

Dear Linda Sunshine,

May I be free for you to congratulate you for writing: "Letter To Michael Landon."

For me the first introduction of you enlightening sun rays on my community about this particular actor and personality, "Michael Landon.

Belgium is far from Orlando, but our thoughts go to you with speed of light.

I hope that our "writer passion" still going to live, and will remain in place in our friendship. Michael Landon will be on guard, like a guardian angel. Many friendship greetings from Belgium, Roger Bamps.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Roger, I am also thankful for our guardian angel:))

Susan Verre 4 years ago


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Thank you for sharing Susan :)

Susan Verre 4 years ago



Alida a gagné une clé à Bubble Blitz ! 4 years ago

love charle je regarde enore la petite maison dans la prairis sur teva tout les jour a 11h40 love love et merci

Susan Verre 4 years ago


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Hi Susan, I'm sure you are excited about Michael Landon's Halloween birthday. He would have been 76 years old. Further proof he's gone, but never forgotten.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Happy Birthday to Michael Landon!!

tricia28 3 years ago

so sad, can't believe your not with us anymore,rip, every episode of lhotp is heart warming, i always feel part of the ingalls family every time i watch it, i bring the morals and values of life into my own family, the world would be a better place if everyone done the same, highway to heaven was brilliant too, tugged on the heart strings, i will always remember you with smiles and laughter, very sad not to shed a loving tear, very sadly missed and much love where ever you are michael, aka charles, aka pa, aka johnathan xo

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Tricia, you wrote a beautiful tribute to Michael Landon. Thank you for sharing with us. He'll always have a special place in our hearts.

tricia28 profile image

tricia28 3 years ago from scotland

im from scotland by the way, (forgot to mention my location on my tribute.) every day i record all the episodes of lhotp on true and true entertainment chanel's, it never strikes me at the time while watching that he isn't with us any more,wouldn't life be wonderful if Pa Ingalls was every ones pa, and i'd love to be his half

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL Author

Yes Tricia, that would be wonderful. Some Pa's can't even compare to Pa Ingalls. Stand in line for the half-pint gig. Haha! :)

SUSAN VERRE 2 years ago


Pauline's Wish List 11 months ago

I've loved Michael landon always and still do and I'm 76yrs old now he would be 80 this Halloween I hope there is a tribute to him every day I watch one of his programs so sad we lost him so very young rip Michael

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