Michael Landon may have played one of TV’s greatest dads on “Little on the Prairie.” But in real life, the actor also loved his kids as well. In fact, he took drastic measures to make sure he had more.
Over the course of his life, Landon had nine children with three different women. His last marriage was to Cindy Clerico, a makeup artist on the hit TV show. The couple had two children together. Clerico revealed that the actor decided to have a reverse vasectomy so they could have children together.
She said he decided to have the procedure after noticing two new parents and their baby girl at a party. The actor soon got the baby fever. Not that he didn’t have baby fever most of his life, considering he could almost star in a real-life version of “Cheaper by the Dozen.”
Michael Landon Had Nine Children
Landon was married three times during his life. He first married Dodie Levy-Fraser in 1956. The couple adopted a son in 1960, and Landon considered Levy-Fraser’s son from a previous relationship to be his own. Divorcing in 1962, the actor married Marjorie Lynn Noe a year later.
The couple had four children together, in addition to Noe’s daughter from a previous relationship. In 1982, the two divorced after Landon started an affair with Clerico on the set. The make-up artist was half his age. And the affair was a big scandal in the life of TV’s most wholesome dads.
“You don’t dissolve a relationship to go to bed with someone 20 years younger. You have to have major differences and a deep-rooted need to stop a relationship after as many years as I was married. I would have done anything to make that relationship continue, but I could not,” Landon told People Magazine in 1985.
The couple remained married until his death from pancreatic cancer.
The Actor Was a Father Figure on Set
Meanwhile, Landon acted as a father figure to many of the young actors on the set of “Little House on the Prairie.” Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls, remembered her on-screen father well.
“He gave me so much advice… the overall idea that he pounded into me, from a little girl, into my brain was that nothing’s more important than ‘Home & Family’; no success, no career, no achievements, no accomplishments, nothing’s more important than loving the people you love and contributing to a community,” Gilbert said in a 2015 interview.
Meanwhile, actor Jason Bateman, who appeared in the seventh and eighth seasons, also spoke fondly.
“Michael Landon was somebody who had a huge influence on me in the way he led that set as a director, as an exec producer, as a writer and actor, and as somewhat of a father figure for me,” Bateman told Variety.