“Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon would have three wives over the course of his life. But it was his first wife, Dodie Levy-Fraser, who was there for Landon’s big break that got him into the acting business.
Landon and Levy-Fraser got married on March 11, 1956, per IMDb. At the time, Levy-Fraser was a widowed legal secretary, according to INSP. Landon was 19 and Levy-Fraser was about 25 then. Landon’s parents were not present at the wedding ceremony.
Landon adopted Levy-Fraser’s biological son Mark, and the couple adopted another son, Josh, as an infant, in 1960.
Before ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ Levy-Fraser Was There for Landon
Levy-Fraser knew Landon before he became a star. Indeed, it was a year after they first married that Landon got his first major film acting role in “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.”
But their marriage hit the rocks, and in 1960, Landon started dating the divorced model and actress Lynn Noe behind Levy-Fraser’s back. In December of 1962, the married couple finally divorced.
It didn’t take long for Landon to bounce back from the divorce. In January of 1963, Landon and Noe got married in a hurried justice of the peace ceremony in Mexico, per INSP.
But Landon’s marriage to Noe broke up when he met Cindy Clerico on the set of “Little House on the Prairie.” Clerico was reportedly about two decades younger than Landon.
In May of 2009, Levy-Fraser and Landon’s son Mark died in his West Hollywood home at age 60. The cause of death was unknown, but there was no evidence of foul play, authorities said. According to the Associated Press, Mark was an actor.
Landon Died in 1991 of Cancer
In 1991, Landon was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and pancreas. Soon after he received his diagnosis, the cancer spread to his colon. Landon battled the disease with chemotherapy and dietary changes followed by experimental treatments.
Landon didn’t fear death, but he was determined to fight to stay alive, the actor said in a Life magazine article published shortly before his death.
“I believe in God, I believe in family, I believe in truth between people, I believe in the power of love,” he said. “I believe that we really are created in God’s image, that there is God in all of us. So I deal with the God I really know, and that’s you. When I need to ask forgiveness, I don’t ask a God in the sky. That’s too easy. I ask you.”
“So I don’t see why I should fear death – and I don’t,” he added. “I don’t want to die, and I’m going to fight like hell not to, but I’m not afraid to die.″