‘Bonanza’: Michael Landon Was ‘Furious’ After Rumors Spread That Someone Tried to Kill Him

Michael Landon as Joseph 'Little Joe' Cartwright in 'Bonanza'
Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Michael Landon rose to fame thanks to Bonanza and attained even more celebrity with

NBC’s hit Western series, Bonanza, brought the Cartwright family to life. Michael Landon played Little Joe Cartwright, the youngest in the fictional family, and he attained great fame thanks to his role. Unfortunately, one of his early agents decided Landon should receive media attention in whatever way possible — and a gossip columnist made up a story that someone tried to kill the star.

During Michael Landon’s ‘Bonanza’ years, his agent helped spread an assassination attempt rumor

Michael Landon as Joseph ‘Little Joe’ Cartwright | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Michael Landon rose to fame thanks to Bonanza and attained even more celebrity with Little House on the Prairie and his other projects. But in his early years, MeTV reports he didn’t hire a press agent until 1967. His agent, Jay Bernstein, then gave Landon a huge headache after he started a rumor that someone tried to kill the actor.

According to the story, Landon was in a parade in Benton Harbor, Michigan, when someone threw a rock that landed near him. Landon told his agent about the rock, and the agent then told a local gossip columnist about the situation. The gossip columnist ran with the story and blew it out of proportion.

“It’s been kept hush, hush, but an attempt may have been made to kill actor Michael Landon on his personal appearance tour for the Bonanza series,” the columnist wrote. “As Landon was being driven through a town in Michigan a huge rock was dropped from a building. The rock narrowly missed Landon’s head, but there were no injuries.” The columnist went a step further and fabricated a quote from Landon that stated he and his wife were in imminent danger.

The actor felt extremely embarrassed and ‘furious’ by his agent’s actions

Dan Blocker, Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, and Michael Landon | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon ‘Stole Just About Everything That Worked from Bonanza’ Says Melissa Francis

MeTV reports Landon was “furious” about the rumor that spread. The agent that told the gossip columnist the story was then fired. Landon noted he “looked like a jackass” because of the story.

“Michael Landon is one of the 50 or so important motion picture and television stars that sell magazines,” the agent said at the time. “The writer obviously read the story in the Los Angeles newspaper — rewrote it to his own ‘sensational’ satisfaction.”

As for Landon, he said he “never exploited any situation” in his “entire life,” and he hoped to continue working “without hurting anybody.”

Landon’s anger toward his agent and the gossip columnist was a valid response to what occurred. And it may have affected his feelings toward reporters in general. Outsider reports Landon once punched a journalist in Sweden after the journalist threatened to write negatively about the Bonanza star.

What was Michael Landon’s cause of death?

Michael Landon and wife Cindy Landon | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Of course, Michael Landon didn’t die from a small rock. So, …read more

Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet


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