‘Bonanza’ Star Michael Landon, Wife Cindy Had Seven Dogs Towards End of His Life

by Will Shepard
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There have always been stories of crazy cat people housing ludicrous numbers of cats in their houses. But, it seems rare to find someone who owns more than 4 dogs – outside of sled dog owners. However, Michael Landon, the star of Bonanza, had seven dogs at his house.

Can you really fault someone for owning a lot of animals that they love dearly? If all of the animals are given a good life, there basically isn’t a reason not to have a lot.

During an interview with Regis & Kathie Lee in 1989, Landon talked about the number of dogs he owned. in particular, he talked about why he had so many pooches in his life.

Regis and Kathie began saying, “the people know that Michael Landon has nine children and a grandchild.” the Bonanza star confirmed that was true. He also added, “two grandkids, and one more on the way.”

Then he added, “My wife just filled a void in my life. She got our seventh dog.” Regis and the audience were blown away by his nonchalant attitude about all the dogs. So he asked him whether they were all under the same roof.

To which Landon said, “They only have one thing in common, they all go in the house.” He decided to add a little more humor to the interview. “Every time you bring a new dog in, you have to train the dog. And if that dog goes in your house, all the other dogs that you’ve trained say, ‘Huh, hey! Let’s hit that rug fellas!'”

So, towards the end of his life, Landon was happily living with seven dogs. Unfortunately, the Bonanza star was battling pancreatic cancer for many years. In 1991, the disease ultimately took his life.

The “Bonanza” Star Once Dressed up as a Priest to Buy Alcohol

The funny stories that Michael Landon was involved in never seem to come to an end. He loved to pull pranks on people as often as he could. It was always one of his favorite past times regardless of what he was doing.

The Bonanza star pulled a prank once that the show’s producer will never forget. So, Kent McCray told the story of the prank in an interview with the Archive of American Television.

“He was made up as a priest one night at one of the shows,” McCray remembered quite fondly. “And I didn’t drive him home that night. I had one of the drivers always ready to take him home.”

McCray continued his story, “He said, ‘Can we stop at this liquor store? I want to get a bottle of wine for my dinner.’”

Michael Landon played “Little Joe” Cartwright on Bonanza and gave those instructions to the driver. So, the driver stopped, with Landon was still dressed as a priest.

“(Landon) brought the bottle of wine up to the desk,” McCray recalled with a smile. “And the guy said, ‘Father! I can’t let you spend that type of money on a bottle of wine. I can’t let you buy this.’

“He said, ‘No, no, I’m not a priest, I’m an actor,’” McCray said. “(The guy at the desk) said, ‘I’m telling you, Father, you’re not buying this wine.’ He (Landon) had to call the driver in to tell him that this was Michael Landon, that he was an actor.”

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