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May 31, 2020

'Bonanza' Star Mitch Vogel — Inside His Life after the Iconic Show Ended

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Mitch Vogel enjoyed a successful career as a child actor back in the '70s. The "Bonanza" star, however, currently enjoys a peaceful life away from the spotlight.

Mitch Vogel broke into Hollywood as a child in the late '60s, but by the next decade, the young actor stepped away from acting and has led a quiet life since then.

Mitch was born on January 17, 1956, and interestingly, by the age of 12, he already made a lasting impression with his first acting role in the famous 1968 comedy, "Yours, Mine and Ours."

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In 1969, Vogel bagged a Golden Globe nomination for his role as "Lucius" in the film adaptation of the William Faulkner novel, "The Reivers."

Mitch's early acting success brought him popularity as a top performer and it also made him a highly sought after actor back then.

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His popularity earned him a spot on the classic TV show, " Bonanza," where he acted for two years. In "Bonanza," Vogel played the role of "James Hunter" who later changed his last name to Cartwright after the Cartwright men adopted him.

As opposed to many shows back then, "Bonanza," shifted from the typical family plots to focus on the trials and struggles that the Cartwright clan faced as westerners.

As a way of staying connected with his days as an actor, Mitch revisited some of the locations used for "Bonanza."

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The show ran for 14 seasons, during which Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, and Michael Landon all acted as members of the great Cartwright family who managed the famous Ponderosa ranch.

Asides from their remarkable acting skill, most of the Cartwrights could sing and even went ahead to make contributions towards the 1964 Christmas album, "Christmas at Ponderosa."

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Although "Bonanza" later gained popularity, its first season, which aired on NBC every Saturday night, recorded very low ratings, which almost led to the show being canceled.

Despite this setback, NBC kept the show running because of its record as the first TV show filmed in color. As a way of improving their ratings, "Bonanza" was moved to air on Sunday evenings, and by 1964, the show reached number one.

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Even though efforts were made to reduce the cost of production, about $100,000 or more was spent per episode, and this made it one of the most expensive scripted shows.

Interestingly, It was also ranked as one of the best performing TV shows, which explained the large amount of money spent on every episode.

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The series came to an end in 1972 after 14 successful seasons. Despite appearing for only a short time, Mitch established a friendship with one of his co-stars, Michael Landon. 

Vogel's friendship with Landon landed him appearances in some episodes of Michael's 1974 series, "Little House on the Prairie." The young actor went on to appear in some productions before walking away from the acting scene 

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Once Mitch stopped acting, he started a rock band, and in 1985, he married Christine Giles, who he shares two children with. Presently, Vogel enjoys his life away from the spotlight in Southern California. Although he has left professional acting, he still uses his experience to direct and appear in church plays. 

As a way of staying connected with his days as an actor, Mitch revisited some of the locations used for "Bonanza" during a special episode of 2002's "TV Road Trip."

Also, back in 2005, he made an appearance at the "Bonanza Convention," and in 2010, he went all the way to England, where he made an appearance for the "Bonanza Weekend." 

The hit TV show might have ended a long time ago, but the memories and experiences have stayed and will always be a part of this iconic movie star.

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