Michael Landon’s Son Christopher Reveals Cancer Diagnosis Decades After Caring For His Sick Father Until His Final Moments

Michael Landon’s legacy lives on thanks to his top-notch portrayal in classic TV shows and the film industry. The late actor’s acting career is preserved in time through TV projects like “Bonanza,” “Little House on the Prairie,” and “Highway to Heaven.” To his multitude of fans, Michael was one of the best classic TV actors, but to his family, he was a loving father who made sure to bond with his children.

Born a New York native in 1936, Michael, real name Eugene Maurice Orowitz, did not grow up with a happy childhood. During his formative years, Michael was forced to deal with his mother’s failing mental health. She attempted suicide several times, but it was up to him to save her each time. However, Michael’s solace was in sports.

As a high schooler, he broke records at his alma mater with the longest throw-in toss at the time. His exceptional skills helped him ace a college scholarship at the University of Southern California. However, during his college years, he sustained injuries and could not continue as a student-athlete.

Michael could not continue schooling as well, but looking on to the brighter side, he had moved to Los Angeles, and this inspired him to try showbiz. The entertainment industry proved to be his turning point, and he achieved tremendous feats. One of them was him being the only star besides Lucile Ball to grace the cover of TV Guide 22 times. Michael was married three times, with nine children.

During his final moments, all of his kids, including director Christopher Landon, rallied around him as he battled cancer. Many years later, Christopher opened up about his kidney cancer diagnosis on June 10, 2021.

The “One to Grow On” star’s first walk down the aisle was with Dodie Levy-Fraser, whom he married in 1956. It had been at the start of his career while Levy-Fraser worked as a legal secretary. The pair had two sons, Mark and John, via adoption, but their union was short-lived. Michael married his second wife, Lynn Noe, in 1963, and they had four children: Leslie, Michael Jr., Christopher, and Shawna. When the couple met, Noe already had a daughter, Cheryl, from a previous relationship, and Michael adopted her.

The stars were a couple for 19 years before their marriage fell apart. Before their legal separation, Michael had an affair with Cindy Clerico, a lady 20 years his junior. The “Father Murphy” actor married Clerico after he and Noe ended their marriage. This brought about speculations that his third wife was the cause of his failed marriage.

His marriage to Clerico became quite the sensation for scandal, but in a 1985 interview with People, Michael clamped down on the rumors. He said about his marriage to Noe:

“You don’t dissolve a relationship to go to bed with someone 20 years younger. You have to have major differences and a deep-rooted need to stop a relationship after as many years as I was married.”

With Clerico, the actor welcomed two children, Jennifer and Matthew. Despite the dramatic state of his love life, Michael made sure to be a present father. Once, in a 2019 interview with Closer Weekly, his daughter Jennifer fondly described him as “a fantastic father who was curious about everything and loved to teach the children.”

Michael’s life was cut short at 54, three months after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. However, until his final moments, Michael’s family proved to him that he was deeply loved.

Michael passed away in 1991, surrounded by his loved ones. Some 500 people attended his funeral, including fellow stars. In 1992, his son, Christopher, sat in an interview with People and talked about his dad’s last days. The youngster at the time stated that his dad became “the son” while he was “the father.”

Years after his death, Christopher did not lose sight of celebrating Michael’s legacy as an actor and a father. On Instagram, the star shares throwback snapshots of their moments together. For Father’s Day in June 2020, Christopher shared a post of the actor holding him as a child.

The “Happy Death Day” filmmaker also remembered Michael on the 30th anniversary of his death in July 2021. He posted a black-and-white father-son photo while he reminisced on how “fast time goes.”

He isn’t the only family member who keeps his dad’s memories alive on social media. Michael’s widow, Clerico, has also shared some of his prized moments. In a February 2020 Instagram upload, she posted a photo of him and their kids taken from a magazine page.

Having made a name for himself in the horror genre, Christopher is a star in his own right. He also keeps up with fans on social media. The star once shared a life update, letting fans know that he was diagnosed with Kidney cancer. He wrote:

“Whelp….where to start. About a week ago I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. I was rushed into emergency surgery to have part of my kidney removed…”

Thankfully, the ailment was in its early stages; the doctors performed an emergency surgery to remove parts of his kidney. The movie director used that moment to advise fans to always get tested before it was too late.

Isn’t it amazing to see Michael Landon’s family carrying on his legacy decades after his passing? Do you recall your favorite moments of watching him on TV? Let us know, and be sure to pass this on to other Landon fans.

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