Although Michael Landon passed away more than 30 years ago, his acting appearances in legendary TV shows like “Highway to Heaven,” “Little House on the Prairie,” and “Bonanza” have ensured that his legacy endures.
While many of us would only remember him as a recognisable face on our TVs, he was also a devoted husband and loving father whose main priority was making sure he connected with his kids
Landon’s own childhood was turbulent because his mother suffered from severe mental illness, which may have contributed to his determination to be the best parent possible for his children. Even though she repeatedly attempted suicide, Landon was able to preserve her life.
Landon was a gifted athlete, but a mishap during his college years prevented him from pursuing his interests. The young man then relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in show business. He shared this outstanding accomplishment with Lucile Ball and appeared on the cover of TV Guide 22 times over the course of his extensive TV career.
Landon had nine children and was married three times. Mark and John, two sons he adopted with his first wife Dodie Levy-Fraser, were his. Leslie, Michael Jr., Christopher, and Shawna are the four children that Landon has with his second wife, Lynn Noe. He also took up Cheryl, Noe’s daughter from a prior relationship, as his own.
After his second marriage broke down, he eventually wed Cindy Clerico for a third and last time. She was 20 years his junior, and many people said that Landon had been unfaithful to his second wife with Clerico at the time, which led to considerable scandal.
Landon vehemently refuted this, saying to People in 1985: “You don’t end a relationship to have a sexual encounter with a person who is 20 years younger. To end a relationship after as many years as I was married, you need to have significant differences and a strong need for one another.
Landon married Jennifer and Matthew three times, adding two additional children to his existing seven-child family. Additionally, despite the fact that he had a large family to care for, his daughter Jennifer gushed about him to Closer Weekly in 2019 as “a fantastic father who was curious about everything and loved to teach the children.”
Landon sadly departed away in 1991 at the young age of 54, less than three months after receiving a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Nevertheless, he was supported by all of his children in his final moments, demonstrating how much they all loved him.
His son, director Christopher Landon, revealed his father’s dying days to People the following year. He described with regret how Christopher assumed the role of “the father” and his father changed into something akin to a “son.”
The ‘Happy Death Day’ filmmaker has frequently sent condolences to his late father on social media in recent years.
Christopher hasn’t always had it easy, though; in 2021, he revealed his kidney cancer diagnosis to his fans on social media. “Whelp….where to start,” he captioned an Instagram photo of himself lying in a hospital bed. I received a kidney cancer diagnosis about a week ago. I had to have a portion of my kidney removed during emergency surgery.
Fortunately, because of the early stages of his sickness, doctors were able to undertake an urgent surgery to remove some of his kidneys.
But before it was too late, Christopher urged everyone to be checked out and maintain good health.
How wonderful to see Michael Landon’s family continuing his legacy… It’s endearing to witness!
If you liked this tale, you might be interested in Melissa Gilbert’s heartfelt remembrance of Michael Landon on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of his passing.