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Michael Landon Felt Guilty over Troubled Daughter Whom He Willed Back to Life for a Month after Accident

Olawale Ogunjimi
Sep 04, 2022
08:40 A.M.
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Michael Landon had to deal with many unpleasant people and incidents in life, including a mother who wished him death. But thankfully, he overcame it. Even though he grew up to be a not-perfect Family TV idol, he was a man and a father whom his child could call the Prime force in her life.

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Michael Landon was one of his generation's most loved and charismatic actors. He was famous for his roles in productions such as "Little House on The Prairie" and "Bonanza."

However, to achieve such tremendous fame and fortune in show business, Landon had to go through some terrible experiences, one of which was his traumatic childhood.

Michael Landon attends the La Scala Restaurant Grand Opening Celebration on June 2, 1989, at La Scala Restaurant in Malibu, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon attends the La Scala Restaurant Grand Opening Celebration on June 2, 1989, at La Scala Restaurant in Malibu, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Born Eugene Orowitz, the entertainment legend, was born into a dysfunctional family. During an interview with Chicago Tribune, Landon's daughter, Cheryl, revealed that her father had one of the most abusive childhoods she had ever heard of.

According to Cheryl, the actor's mother was an unstable woman who always tried to commit suicide in front of Landon.

She would also frequently beat him, and being a bedwetter at the time; a young Landon had to deal with seeing his urine-soaked bed sheets spread outside by his mom for everyone to see.

Michael Landon, on February 16, 1977, was spotted on the set of "Little House on the Prairie" at the CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon, on February 16, 1977, was spotted on the set of "Little House on the Prairie" at the CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Overall, it was a terrible period for Landon. Living with a suicidal mother who wanted him dead at such a young age left him scarred with unpleasant memories for a long time.

However, the "House on the Prairie" star knew he could not allow the past to determine how bright his future would be. So, rather than be depressed, Landon decided to live through love. Cheryl opened up to the outlet:

"I always think of my dad as a little boy who was never quite loved enough, so he went around creating love for others."

Michael Landon attended his wedding reception on February 14, 1983, at La Scala Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon attended his wedding reception on February 14, 1983, at La Scala Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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The actor's daughter also made it known that her father took his problems and turned them into challenges, eventually surmounting them to become a better version of himself. Here are more details about the filmmaker's life.

Landon, an Idol to Many

Landon garnered a generous number of fans when he began portraying Charles Ingalls, a loving homesteader, in "Little House on the Prairie" in 1974. For the next nine years, the actor kept fans glued to their screens with the perfect delivery of his role.

Lovers of the show fell in love with Landon's squeaky clean image, and in the end, the "Bonanza" star became the biggest idol for many of his fans.

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Michael Landon attends the Malibu Committee for Incorporation's "The Tides of March" - The First and Last Annual Malibu Right to Vote Party on March 17, 1990, at a Private Residence in Malibu, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon attends the Malibu Committee for Incorporation's "The Tides of March" - The First and Last Annual Malibu Right to Vote Party on March 17, 1990, at a Private Residence in Malibu, California. | Source: Getty Images

They believed their favorite was like Charles Ingalls's character in real life. However, like every other human, Landon was not the perfect man.

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He had good sides and flaws, which the actor's daughter depicted in her book "I Promised My Dad." Cheryl had promised her father to write about him before his demise.

Cheryl's accident was only one of Landon's many difficulties with his daughter.

Michael Landon attends the "Sam's Son" Beverly Hills Premiere on August 15, 1984, at the Academy Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon attends the "Sam's Son" Beverly Hills Premiere on August 15, 1984, at the Academy Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Still, some fans cared less about Landon's flaws written in the book, holding onto their perception of him from his characters on TV. According to one of Cheryl's book's readers:

"I won't go through the rough attitude or flaws of Michael Landon that Cheryl wrote in the book because I like to imagine him like the characters he acted on television."

Although Landon was not as perfect in real life as he was on screen, the actor tried his best to be excellent in certain aspects of his personal life, for example, fatherhood.

Michael Landon attends the National Down Syndrome Congress' Second Annual Michael Landon Celebrity Gala on October 15, 1988, at Filmland Center in Culver City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon attends the National Down Syndrome Congress' Second Annual Michael Landon Celebrity Gala on October 15, 1988, at Filmland Center in Culver City, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Landon was a doting father to nine kids, six biological and three adopted. Up until his demise, the actor was a fantastic dad who tried to make his children's childhood better than his.

Landon's daughter, Jennifer, confirmed how awesome her dad was during a 2017 interview with Smashing Interviews Magazine. In her words:

"He was entertaining and hilarious. He was all of those things that you've heard. I had a lot of respect for him."

Michael Landon attends the Hollywood Radio and Television Society's 16th Annual International Broadcasting Awards on March 4, 1976, at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon attends the Hollywood Radio and Television Society's 16th Annual International Broadcasting Awards on March 4, 1976, at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Jennifer further noted that Landon's approach to things at home made the household very calm. Ultimately, to the actor's daughter, Landon was the best father anyone could ask for.

Landon's Incredible Fatherhood

Jennifer was not the only child who testified about Landon's fantastic fatherhood. During the interview with Chicago Tribune, Cheryl confessed that her father did not treat her any differently from his other kids, even though she was adopted. According to Cheryl:

"I was treated like a princess. He married my mother when I was 6, and they were together for 19 years. He was the prime force in my life."

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Michael Landon, son Sean Landon, and daughter Jennifer Landon attend "The Wizard" Universal City Premiere on December 2, 1989, at Cineplex Odeon Universal City Cinemas in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon, son Sean Landon, and daughter Jennifer Landon attend "The Wizard" Universal City Premiere on December 2, 1989, at Cineplex Odeon Universal City Cinemas in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Cheryl recalled a tragic incident in which Landon's love and care helped her recover. The author explained that when she was 19, she was involved in a fatal car crash that claimed the lives of the other three people in the car and left her in a coma for four days.

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Indeed, it was a trying moment, but Cheryl would mention that her father willed her back to life.

Michael Landon attended the NBC Winter TCA Press Tour on January 10, 1990, at The Registry Hotel in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon attended the NBC Winter TCA Press Tour on January 10, 1990, at The Registry Hotel in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Cheryl's accident was only one of Landon's many difficulties with his daughter. The actor went through another devastating time when Cheryl overdosed on pills, which nearly caused her death. The above incident left the actor feeling angry, sad, and guilty. He confessed:

"You get very guilty about some of your feelings about your child, one of which is, 'I wish she did not exist. If she didn't exist, I wouldn't feel all this pain.'"

However, despite everything Landon felt, he knew Cheryl needed help. So, the doting dad met psychiatrists, and eventually, he sent his daughter to a Drug rehabilitation program in California, where she won the battle against drug addiction.

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Michael Landon, wife Cindy Landon, daughter Jennifer Landon, and son Sean Landon attend the "Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey" Universal City Premiere on September 19, 1988, at Cineplex Odeon Universal City Cinemas in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Michael Landon, wife Cindy Landon, daughter Jennifer Landon, and son Sean Landon attend the "Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey" Universal City Premiere on September 19, 1988, at Cineplex Odeon Universal City Cinemas in Universal City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Some years later, Cheryl tied the knot and later welcomed a son, James Wilson, making Landon a grandfather for the first time. The actor could enjoy being a grandparent for a few years before his demise in 1991. Thankfully, he was survived by children who had good memories of him. According to Cheryl:

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"I will remember his incredible power to love. I have a favorite picture of him, and all I have to do is look into his eyes and see it there. I hope it will teach others to make the most of their lives regardless of the odds against them."

Decades have passed since Landon died, and his legacy has not been forgotten. He will always be remembered by his fans, friends, and family.

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