Melissa Gilbert, who played Michael's daughter on Little House on the Prairie, once said that Michael used to sip vodka from a coffee mug while directing, producing, and starring in the show. Gilbert has acknowledged that growing up around a father figure who did that was one of the reasons she almost always gravitated to men who smelled of alcohol.
It's been said that Michael had a very lonely childhood as a result of his parents' constant fighting. Young Michael was often left to act as the mediator for his his parents, who would ask him to deliver verbal messages to the other parent. Through this pain, one of Michael's "escapes" involved going out into his backyard, making up stories, and pretending that he was someone else, in a happier situation. This laid the groundwork for the heartwarming TV shows he created and directed as an adult, like Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven.
Many of the children who acted on Little House on the Prairie have attested that Michael was a practical joker on the set. Several of them have mentioned that his favorite trick was hiding a live frog in his mouth, then letting it pop out and scare whomever he said hello to.
Michael had a lot of hobbies during the prime of his life: fishing, karate, spending family time, painting, creating half-finished dog houses, building mosaic coffee tables, using dismantled guns, creating components from sports cars, playing with disabled people, playing bridge, golfing, swimming, weightlifting, cooking, playing tennis, water skiing, hand gliding and watching horror movies.
He graduated from Collingswood High School in Collingswood, New Jersey, in 1954.
One of Michael's most notable roles as Charles Ingalls, was named number 79 on "Bravo's 100 Greatest TV Characters".
Michael's death left TV brother Pernell Roberts as the only living original Bonanza star.
Over 500 people attended Michael's funeral, including President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan.
Michael excelled in the javelin throw when he was in high school.
Michael's son, Michael Landon, Jr., has become an accomplished movie producer.
Melissa Gilbert named her son, Michael Garrett Boxleitner, after Michael Landon.
Michael was inducted posthumously into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Michael was inducted posthumously into the Western Performers Hall of Fame.
Michael has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 N. Vine Street.
Michael married Marjorie Lynn Noe on January 12, 1963, and divorced her 19 years later in 1982.
Michael married Dodie Frasier on March 11, 1956, but divorced her in December of 1962.
Michael's mother, Peggy O'Neill, was an Irish-American.
Michael's father was Eli Maurice Orowitz.
Michael was left-handed and had very 'hard to read' handwriting.
Michael was taught karate by Chuck Norris.
Michael was interred at Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City in California.
His last appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson got the highest ratings for the show.
Michael wrote and directed 2 movies that were semi-autobiographical: The Loneliest Runner (in 1976) and Sam's Son (in 1984)
Michael Landon was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (USA) for Best TV Actor – Drama in Little House on the Prairie in 1979.
Michael: (about acting) I realized that it was a great release for me. I could cry while I was someone else. I could get a lot of things out of my system that I couldn't get out on my own. One of the things I learned early on, though, was that wanting to be an actor and getting a job are two entirely different things. I spent a lot of time in parking lots, waiting for producers and agents to come out of their offices. I'd wait for them and whistle through my teeth, and I'd audition for them on their way to their cars.
Michael: I loved my father because I learned a lot from him. He never disciplined me, and he only hit me once. He didn't even want to hit me then, but my mother goaded him into it.
He didn't know how to hit me-by the time it happened, I was a half-foot taller than he was-so he slapped me with the back of his hand. A ring he was wearing cut my lip, and I started to bleed. It didn't bother me, but my father started to cry and left the room. I was really glad it happened because it was the first time my father showed any emotion.
Michael: Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.