HomeEntertainmentMichael Landon: What Was the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor’s First TV Role?

Michael Landon: What Was the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor’s First TV Role?

by Emily Morgan
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Michael Landon was the beloved actor who got his big break in “Bonanza” and quickly made his ascent to stardom in the 1960s. Following “Bonanza,” he booked the role as Charles Ingalls in the heartwarming family series, “Little House on the Praire.”

However, his first gig was actually in 1955 when he appeared in a TV pilot for the series “Luke and the Tenderfoot.” The pilot titled “The Boston Kid” featured Landon as a rowdy young man named Clyde Meacham who boxes with his shirt off alongside the late “Star Trek” actor Leonard Nimoy. Unfortunately, the producers decided not to air the pilot. In 1956 he later appeared in an episode of “The Sheriff of Cochise” titled “Human Bomb.” 

Later in 1957, Landon booked his first movie when he starred in I Was a Teenage Werewolf. The film made Landon a crossover success when he released the single “Gimme a Little Kiss (Will “Ya” Huh).” He released another single titled, “Be Patient with Me.” Some copies of the record credit Landon as the “teenaged werewolf.”

Michael Landon & ‘Star Trek’ Star Leonard Nimoy Work Alongside One Another

Michael Landon and Leonard Nimoy would team up again when the Spock actor appeared alongside Landon in an episode of “Bonanza.” He appears as the character Freddy in the 1960 episode titled “The Ape.” Fans of the actor can also see him as a cavalry trooper in an episode of “Cheyenne.” He stars in an episode titled “Decision.” 

Landon also had a role on “Cheyenne” in the episode “The White Warrior” in 1958. This time producers casted him as White Hawk. He played a young white man who was raised by Indians after his parents were slaughtered. White Hawk rises to the occasion to help and boards a wagon train to California while avoiding the Apaches. 

Michael Landon passed away on July 1, 1991. He is survived by his wife and 9 children. His daughter Jennifer, followed in her father’s footsteps. “Yellowstone” fans know her as “Teeter.”