HomeAmerican EntertainmentTVClassic TV‘Bonanza’: Here’s Which Actors From the Classic Western Are Still Alive Today

‘Bonanza’: Here’s Which Actors From the Classic Western Are Still Alive Today

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Bonanza remains a classic TV hit as its stars are still household names all these years later yet which cast members are still alive? We should say that Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, and Pernell Roberts have all died. Looking back on the full-time cast, though, there are a couple of actors from that time who can still tell stories.

Mitch Vogel Played Jamie Hunter In Later Seasons of ‘Bonanza’

One of them is named Mitch Vogel, who played Jamie Hunter. He joined the show in 1970 and, at first, was a guest star. Well, the character was an orphan who later would be adopted by Ben Cartwright, played by Greene. Vogel did have some show business cred before joining the show. He appeared in the movie Yours, Mine, and Ours alongside Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. Vogel also starred with Steve McQueen in a 1969 flick titled The Reivers. These days, he’s retired from show business.

Vogel would remember the first time he was on the set with Greene and Landon. “I didn’t even have to audition for The Real People of Muddy Creek,” Vogel said in a 2017 interview about an episode on the show. “They just asked me to do it. Even though it was a small part, I had a great time being there.

“I remember being on the set for about two days,” Votel said. “The thing that impressed me so much was that Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker were all so very nice to me. They brought me pictures — which I didn’t ask for — that they signed to me. They made me feel so special.”

Tim Matheson Appeared As Griff King Just As Show Ended Its Run

Another full-time cast member still around from Bonanza is Tim Matheson. He played Griff King and appeared in the NBC show’s final season. King was a parolee who would become a ranch hand. Matheson also was a child star and would appear in Leave It to Beaver along with providing his voice for the animated show Jonny Quest. He and Vogel actually crossed paths as Matheson had a role in Yours, Mine, and Ours. But he’s kept working in show business and might be remembered for his role in National Lampoon’s Animal House.

Here’s another story about Bonanza. Would you believe there was one actor who was hired and fired after one episode? The dubious distinction falls to Barry Coe, who played Clay. He was supposed to be part of the cast for a long time but there was some tension involving Landon. Well, when there’s tension between a longtime cast member and a newbie, guess who gets tossed out? Yep, it was Coe.