‘Bonanza’: Kathie Browne Was ‘Leery’ About Joining the Show

by Samantha Whidden

Although she was only on the series for six episodes, Kathie Browne admitted she was ‘leery’ when it came to working on the set of the classic TV series “Bonanza.”

In a resurfaced interview, Kathie Browne shared what it was like to work on the hit series. “When I first found out that I’d gotten the part, I was a little leery,” Kathie Browne said about her “Bonanza” role. “I mean, I was plugging headfirst into a situation that could be a bit stick.”

Kathie Brown then explained that “Bonanza” already had been completely accepted without a steady girl character. “The personalities of the Cartwrights had long since been established. They’d clashed and resolved and the smoke had drifted away and everything was comfortable and settled. Then I am injected and I Have to be able to provide that I can fit in, too.”

Kathie Browne also admitted that she was nervous to take on the “Bonanza” role. “But from the very beginning, everyone made me feel so much at home that I just sailed right into it. They could have made it tough for me, you know. After all, I was in a position to steal a little of their thunder. And a sense of competition part of any actor’s make-up.”

However, Kathie Brown never felt a sense of competition when it came to the “Bonanza” cast. “They’re kind and thoughtful and such perfect gentleman. Each of them, in his special way, is so masculine that I feel utterly feminine around them. If you know what I mean.”

Kathie Brown Talks Working Alongside ‘Bonanza’ Star Pernell Roberts

As she spoke about her time on the “Bonanza” set, Kathie Browne spoke about working with Pernell Roberts. “I discovered immediately that Pernell is extremely serious about his work; he’s a real perfectionist. We hash over the script for hours. Down to the smallest nuance. He’s the same on the set. He’s very analytical. Everything is always well-planned.”

Kathie Browne also discussed how Roberts knew his lines perfectly and was very patient about re-doing scenes if something goes wrong. “I’ve heard that he doesn’t like the show and he’s itching to leave. But let’s face it, most actors on a series say that at one time or another. It’s a quirk with people in our business. They scream for security. But the minute they have it, they insist they’re being misused. Of course, while they’re hollering, they’re still there. And really, they have no intention of quitting.”

Kathie Browne then declared that if Roberts really wanted to leave “Bonanza,” he would have left. “This may surprise you, but Pernell has a wonderful sense of humor.  It’s not the explosive type like Dan Blocker’s but more of a dry sort of wit.  Pernell has a very quick mind and he’s always tossing off a flip comment, the kind that hits you only after a few seconds, then breaks you up.”