‘Bonanza’: Michael Landon Emotionally Detailed Final Meeting with Lorne Greene Before His Death

by Joe Rutland

Michael Landon played “Little Joe” Cartwright alongside Lorne Greene on “Bonanza.” Their bond lasted right up to one final meeting.

Landon remembered seeing Greene, who played patriarch Ben Cartwright, for the last time before Greene died on Sept. 11, 1987.

“He was Ben Cartwright to the end,” Landon said according to an Associated Press obituary for Greene. “He was ready with no complaints.”

Landon Said ‘Bonanza’ Costar Held His Hand At Last Meeting

Landon said that the last time he saw Greene in the hospital that his beloved costar could not speak.

“I took his hand in mine and held it,” Landon said. “He looked at me and then slowly started to arm wrestle like we used to and he broke into a smile and nodded and everything was OK. I think he wanted me to know everything was OK.”

Ironically, Landon would die less than four years later from cancer on July 1, 1991.

Both actors remained on “Bonanza” from its start in 1959 through its cancellation in 1973. The relationship between Joe and Ben stayed tight, rolling over into a real-life connection that both men seemed to appreciate.

“Bonanza” definitely helped Greene become financially rich as he poured his wealth into real estate. After the long series run on NBC, Greene, a native Canadian, would have another role which another generation of fans remember him for today.

Lorne Greene Worked With Landon On 2 Other Shows

He played Commander Adama on “Battlestar Galactica” for 21 episodes between 1978-79. Greene reprised that role for 10 episodes of “Galactica 1980.”

Landon and Greene did work together twice after “Bonanza.” Greene had guest-starring roles on Landon’s two other series, “Little House on the Prairie” and “Highway to Heaven.”

But Greene will forever be remembered as the father-figure over his sons on the Ponderosa. “Bonanza” lives on in syndication around the world. His voice is one that people recognize easily because of its deep resonance. His acting abilities give viewers comfort as Ben Cartwright.

Lorne Greene may have been Canadian by birth, but his presence is felt far beyond his native country.