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See the Last Surviving Bonanza Cast Members Today

Bonanza was a massively popular Western show that followed the Cartwright family, including Ben and his sons Adam, Eric, and Joseph. It focused on their clashing personalities as they attempted to live together on the 500,000-acre Ponderosa ranch on Lake Tahoe.

The show lasted for 14 seasons from 1959-1973. It was the 2nd-longest running Western show of all time, second only to Gunsmoke. One of the reasons it survived so long was the many talented actors in its cast.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on this icon of classic television. Keep watching to see the last Surviving Bonanza cast members today.

Mitch Vogel

Mitch Vogel joined the Bonanza cast at the age of 12 after David Canary left in 1970. He played teen cowboy Jamie Hunter who Ben adopted in Season 13.

It wasn’t Mitch’s first TV appearance; he’d already been part of Your’s Mine, and Ours. Steve McQueen saw his work and cast him in the 1969 film The Reivers, a role that won him a Golden Globe nomination.

Mitch has also appeared in Westerns such as Gunsmoke and Little House on the Prairie. He retired from acting in the 70s but is grateful for his time on Bonanza and how it touched so many people. He’s honored it in several specials, including a 2002 Travel Channel special, the 2005 Bonanza convention, and the 2010 Bonanza Weekend in Liverpool, England.

Mitch is currently 66 years old and living in Southern California with his wife and 2 daughters. He’s made sure to keep busy, but not as an actor. He’s a businessman, plays in a band, and directs and acts in church plays.  

Tim Matheson

Tim Matheson was a child actor who appeared in Leave it to Beaver, Johnny Quest, and Yours, Mine, and Ours. He eventually played convict Griff King in the final season of Bonanza.

He also enjoyed a successful career as an adult. He and his business partner Dan Grodnik created the National Lampoon company in 1989. He played Eric Otter Stratton in National Lampoon’s Animal House. The partners sold the company in 1991.

Tim also appeared in A Very Brady Sequel, played the title character in Van Wilder, and won an Emmy for playing Vice President John Hoynes on The West Wing. He appeared in Hart of Dixie from 2011-2015.

He is currently 74 years old. He continues to look for roles and has been acting in Netflix’s Virgin River since 2019. He’s married to Elizabeth Marigetto and has 3 children.

Wayne Newton

TV and film may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Wayne Newton, but it has been an important part of his career. He appeared in 2 episodes of Bonanza in 1966 as a ranch hand named Andy Walker.

One of the episodes, called The Unwritten Commandment, worked Wayne’s entertainment ambitions into the story. It showed Andy looking to become a singer against his father’s wishes.

Wayne had already become a successful performer by the time he appeared on the show. His song Danke Schoen reached #13 on the Billboard Top 100. He then went on to become a regular Las Vegas performer and performed on the strip for decades.

Wayne has also managed to nab a few other film and TV roles. Many of them have been cameos, such as the one in Ocean’s Eleven. He even got to play himself in Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the actors who helped create the classic era of Western TV. Keep watching to see the rest of the last surviving Bonanza cast members today and honor the ones who are no longer with us.

Mariette Hartley

Mariette Hartley played 4 characters in 4 separate episodes of Bonanza from 1965-1971. She fell in love with a different character in each one, joking “I was such a tart.” She was somewhat overwhelmed by the entire thing, saying that the experience felt like being Alice in Wonderland.

Mariette got plenty of other roles after her appearances on Bonanza. She acted in Little House on the Prairie, another popular Western of the ‘70s. The 1978 Incredible Hulk series was her big break. Her performance as Bill Bixby’s wife earned her a Primetime Emmy. She was nominated again the next year for her work on The Rockford files.

You can still see the actress in series like Law & Order SVU, The Mentalist, and 9-1-1. She’s also become an advocate for mental health awareness, especially for bipolar disease.

Marlo Thomas

Marlo Thomas jokes that in the 60’s she was on “every TV show.” Her list of credits is long, and Bonanza is among them. She played Tai Lee, a mail-order bride from China, in the episode A Pink Cloud Comes from Old Cathay. A producer asked her to speak in a Chinese accent, but she replied that they should “go to a Chinese restaurant and tape the waitress” instead.

Her other roles helped her reach beyond stereotypes and develop a successful career. She starred in the sitcom That Girl from 1966-1971, created the children’s show Free to Be…You and Me, and appeared as Rachel’s mother in Friends. She’s also active in outreach for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Bonanza Cast Members Who Are No Longer With Us

Bonanza has been off the air for over 50 years. It lives on in syndication, but not all of its actors are still on this Earth. One of the tragic deaths of the Bonanza cast even managed to make TV history.

Dan Blocker

Dan Blocker played Hoss and was a crucial part of Bonanza’s success. He was a favorite of the fans and the cast and crew. He received partial ownership of the steakhouses that bore the show’s name and made regular appearances throughout its locations.

Dan tragically died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 43 on May 13, 1972. They killed off his character in a follow-up movie. It was the first time this happened to a major young male TV character. Fans believe his death contributed to the decision to end the show after season 14. No one else could fill his admittedly large shoes.

Lorne Greene

Lorne Greene played Ben Cartwright and was one of the few members of the Bonanza cast to appear in all 431 episodes. He was listed in the 2007 TV guide as the 2nd-most-popular TV father in the nation.

After the show ended, Lorne joined the cast of the 13-episode crime drama Griff, narrated the documentary Last of the Wild from 1974-1975, appeared in the 1977 miniseries Roots, and played Commander Adama in Battlestar Galactica and Galactica. He even became a successful recording artist with his spoken-word ballad Ringo topping the charts. He died from pneumonia at the age of 72 on September 11, 1987.

Pernell Roberts

Pernell Roberts played Adam Cartwright from 1959-1965 but didn’t like his character and left halfway through the show’s run. He recorded successful albums during that time, and one of them, Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies, is part of the Bonanza box set albums.

Pernell went back to Broadway when the show ended, earning a Joseph Jefferson Award for Welcome Home in 1973. He also succeeded on TV, especially in the lead role on the MASH spinoff Trapper John, MD.

Pernell was married 4 times and had 1 son. He died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 81 on January 24, 2010.

Michael Landon

Michael Landon played Little Joe, the youngest member of the Cartwright family. He helped make the show what it was by helping to direct and write several episodes.

Michael went on to play Charles Ingall in Little House on the Prairie once Bonanza ended. He even became the executive producer, writer, and director of its 1982 reboot, Little House: A New beginning.

He was famous for creating a unique atmosphere for every project he worked on. He would often let his son on the set as well as cancer patients and the disabled.

Michael was married 3 times and had 9 children. He died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 55 on July 1, 1991.

Ray Teal

Ray Teal played Sherrif Roy Coffee on Bonanza. He only managed to find small roles after the show ended, but he always made sure to nab as many as he could. He racked up over 300 credits in his lifetime during a 35-year career. He died at the age of 74 on April 2, 1976.

Guy Williams

Guy Williams joined the Bonanza cast after Pernell Roberts left. He played Ben’s nephew Will, helping the show retain 4 main members of the family. There are rumors that Michael Landon didn’t like having him as competition and had him removed, but he didn’t let that stop his career.

Guy played the Robinson family patriarch in the hit show Lost in Space. He retired in comfort in Buenos Aires before dying of a brain aneurysm at the age of 65 on April 30, 1989.

Victor Sen Yung

Victor Sen Yung played Hop Sing. His character appeared in one of the first interracial marriages to ever appear on TV. He had an impressive career with over 160 titles, including Across the Pacific in 1952.

Art mirrored life when he, like his character, showed off his cooking skills by publishing The Great Wok Cookbook in 1974. His other passion was pottery, but it, unfortunately, lead to his demise when the kiln broke. He died at the age of 65 on October 31, 1980.

David Canary

David Canary almost joined the Denver Broncos in the 1960 AFL draft. He decided instead to follow his acting passions and joined the Bonanza cast instead as Candy Canaday.

David later had an extended stay as Adam Chandler and his twin Stuart for 1,211 episodes of All My Children. He won 5 Emmy awards and 16 nominations. He stayed on the show until 2 years before his death at the age of 77 on November 16, 2015.

Who’s your favorite actor from a Western TV show? Let us know in the comments below. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the best classic casts of all time.

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