Michael Landon and his family at home (1975)

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Actor Michael Landon and family at home - 1975

Michael Landon and his family at home (1975)

Meet the Michael Landons

by Muriel Davidson

Michael Landon’s “Big House in Beverly Hills” is a far cry from the “Little House on the Prairie” featured in his hit TV series. But, says the former “Bonanza” star, he and Lynn and their six lively children “really live in this house — we don’t just look at it.”

The Landons’ house of contrasts: stained-glass window over stairway (above); marble fireplace in living room (left); crystal, gilt and velvet in dining room (bottom, left); old wood privy (below) built into “Bonanza Room” (opposite). There, John [Josh], 15, and Leslie, 12, flank Lynn; Mike and Shawna, 3, share a chair made from old horseshoes.

MORE: The new TV series: Little House on the Prairie (1974)

Michael Landon and his family at home (1975)

There are really three families living at the Landon’s. Mike has two adopted sons by his first marriage. His wife, Lynn, has a daughter by her first marriage. Together, Mike and Lynn have three, with a fourth — “and last” — due soon.

What makes the three families even more interesting is that each represents a different religion. Mike’s two sons were raised in the Jewish faith. Lynn’s daughter was raised as a Roman Catholic. Together, their three are Presbyterian.

“It really doesn’t matter what religion they are,” Mike says. “If you stick to the letter of religion they’re all good.”

Landon’s years on Bonanza developed him not only as an actor, but as a writer and director — and now he’s producing as well.

MORE: The backstory of TVs huge hit, Bonanza (1959-1973)

He says he is “slowly working” on a novel. He’s written many screenplays, but has not sold them.

“I think they are good,” he says, “I’ve torn up the ones I didn’t like, so I have to believe the fault is with those who don’t like them.”

Eventually, he’ll sell one. It’s not exactly a goal, because he gets enough satisfaction writing his TV shows, but it is something yet to be fulfilled. He says he really has no great ambition at this point.

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“Oh, yes, I guess I have one ambition,” he says. “I’d like to play tennis better.” – Dick Kleiner, Hollywood (Syndicated)

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