Forty-six years ago, “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon received the roasting of a lifetime from actor Lorne Greene.
You know you made it when a Hollywood celebrity publicly roasts you. That was certainly the case for Michael Landon when he was roasted by actor Lorne Greene during “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast” in 1975. Greene and Landon co-starred in the show “Bonanza” from 1959 -1973. Green played Landon’s father on the show. So, when it came time to roast Michael Landon, Greene hilariously played up their onscreen father-son relationship.
“I’d like to say…” Lorne Green began his speech before abruptly stopping and turning to Landon. “Sit up, sit up, sit up. Keep your hands off the table. Put on your shoes,” said Greene to Michael Landon.
Greene then turned to the audience and said, “Michael’s a little excited tonight. There’s no school tomorrow.”
Then he continued with his speech.
“You all know that we played father and son on the show. And in many ways that relationship still exists. To this day, he treats me like a father. Never thinks of me. Never comes to see me. Didn’t call me on father’s day,” joked Greene. “I remember when I first met Mike. I was sitting and talking with Pernell Roberts who plays my eldest son – who calls every week.”
Greene then stopped again and turned to Michael Landon to emphasize “every week.” Greene turned back to the audience to finish his speech.
“And they brought in this shy, awkward kid who didn’t know what he wanted to do,” said Greene. “And look at him now – actor, writer, producer, director…still doesn’t know what he wants to do!”
The crowd roared with laughter and cheered for both Greene and Michael Landon.
Michael Landon Was Actually Shy In Real Life
It’s hard to believe that a Hollywood actor like Michael Landon was shy. It’s even harder to believe after watching his interviews on talk shows during his career. He always seemed so charismatic and outgoing. Nevertheless, when the cameras were off, Michael Landon became a much more down-to-earth guy.
“When he was growing up in New Jersey, he had a very sad home life,” McCray said. “He would go out and play by himself in the surrounding, wooded areas. He’d make up stories that he was this person or that person. He lived in a fantasy world of his own. Those experiences fast-forwarded to what he became.”
Although it sounds a bit sad, those childhood fantasies quickly evolved into some of the most iconic television shows of all time. In conclusion, whether or not he was shy didn’t really matter, Michael Landon was a Hollywood icon either way.