If you’ve owned a TV in the past 50 years, you’ve more than likely come across “Bonanza” while looking for something to watch. From 1959 to 1973, the classic NBC western was one of the network’s longest-running series. In the years after airing its final episode, the show has remained an integral piece of American pop culture. With 431 episodes under its belt buckle, there’s no doubt that the show has made an impact on our culture.
Now that Westerns have recently seen a rise in popularity among the younger generations, the Cartwright clan is getting newfound notoriety via reruns and subscription services.
One of the show’s most beloved characters was the eldest son of the family, Adam Cartwright, played by Pernell Roberts from 1959 to 1965. In addition to his time on the show, he also guest-starred in over 60 television series and as chief surgeon Dr. John McIntyre, the title character on “Trapper John, M.D.” from 1979 to 1986.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, before he passed away in 2010, his net worth was reported to be $10 million. His time on “Bonanza” came to an abrupt halt after he left the show during season six. On April 18, 1965, he made his final appearance in the episode titled “To Own the World.”
Pernell Robert’s Described ‘Bonanza’ as ‘Formulaic’
During the episode, his character leaves the ranch to start a new life in Boston while his dad and brothers continued to work on the ranch. After he left, Pernell wasn’t shy about opening up as to why he left the successful series. According to Pernell, he disliked the writer’s direction, which he described as “formulaic.”
“I feel I am an aristocrat in my field of endeavor,” he once said to a reporter in 1965. “My being part of “Bonanza” was like [acclaimed violinist] Isaac Stern sitting in with Lawrence Welk.”In addition, his castmates were also privy to his disinterest in being a part of the show. “He felt time was rushing by,” Lorne Greene, who played his on-screen father, said in 1980.
For Roberts, his passion in life had always been performing on stage. He found his love for theater while in college. He would go on to star in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions after “Bonanza.”
“I said, ‘Look, Pernell, if you stay with “Bonanza,” you’ll make so much money you’ll be able to build your own theater and get Tennessee Williams to write a play for you,'”Green added. After his time on “Bonanza,” Roberts would continue his career on both the stage and TV.