'Little House on the Prairie' Star Michael Landon Had a 'Very Sad Home Life': 'He Lived in a Fantasy World'
Those who watched Little House on the Prairie know all about Michael Landon. The star played Charles Ingalls, a father figure on the show, and he also helped produce and direct.
While many know Landon for his work on the set of TV shows, it seems he had quite a difficult home life. Here’s what one of Landon’s friends said about Landon’s “very sad” situation he grew up with.
Michael Landon from ‘Little House on the Prairie’ was bullied heavily as a kid
While Landon appeared to be ultra-confident once he achieved stardom, such wasn’t always the case. He certainly wasn’t born into affluence and status. Instead, he had dreams of becoming a movie star someday. But he had to overcome difficult family dynamics and bullying to get to that point.
According to INSP, his father was an actor and a publicist and his mother was an actor and a comedian. But Landon’s mother had a difficult time managing her depression. The publication notes Landon’s mother dealt with suicidal ideation, and the stress of this caused Landon to wet his bed well into his teen years. Sadly, his mother didn’t have sympathy for Landon’s bed wetting, and she would hang the soiled sheets for all to see.
Landon shared tales of being bullied to interviewers, too. The actor noted he was the butt of anti-Semitic jokes, and while he was a great student, he made an effort to fail high school.
A friend of Landon’s called the star’s childhood home life ‘very sad’
It seems Landon’s home life was common knowledge amongst those who knew him. Kent McCray, a good friend of Landon’s who met him on the set of Bonanza in 1962, recalled Landon’s home life and what it was like visiting his home for parties.
“Mike was a very shy person,” McCray told Medium via a phone interview. “When he was growing up in New Jersey, he had a very sad home life. He would go out and play by himself in the surrounding, wooded areas.”
McCray then added that Landon would “make up” stories about who he was when he was a kid to combat the loneliness. “He lived in a fantasy world of his own,” McCray continued. “Those experiences fast-forwarded to what he became.”
While Landon’s known for his acting chops, McCray added that Landon was totally down-to-earth as a person. “When you were at his house, you were his guest,” the friend added. “He was never ‘on’ as an actor.”
Landon grew up to have a difficult and highly-publicized divorce
While McCray had great things to say about Landon, Landon still had a number of difficulties when it came to his public image. He divorced his second wife, Lynn Noe, after nearly 20 years of marriage to pursue relations with Little House on the Prairie makeup artist Cindy Clerico. And Landon talked about what happened between him and Noe in several interviews.
“The relationship lasted 19 years,” Landon said in an interview regarding Noe. “I don’t consider that a failed marriage. I don’t think it was a disaster. We produced some terrific kids. We just didn’t grow in the same direction. We became different people. We both changed.” He then added that he and Noe “fought a lot,” and some of the fights were centered around him being too tied up in his job.
While Clerico and Landon got some flack at the beginning of their relationship, they remained together until Landon’s death in 1991.
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