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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.
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 passing....you 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 note....you 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 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 ... I Like It Like That (he had some moves)
A violinist also.... so many talents!
© 2011 Linda Bilyeu