Monday, January 25, 2010

Pernell Roberts, R. I. P.


Pernell Roberts, 'Bonanza' and 'Trapper John' star, dies - CNN.com: "Actor Pernell Roberts, who played the eldest Cartwright brother in TV's 'Bonanza,' died at his Malibu, California, home Sunday at 81, his lawyer said.

Younger TV viewers may remember Roberts from the lead role in 'Trapper John, M.D.,' a medical drama that aired on CBS for seven years, ending in 1986."

7 comments:

  1. I always enjoyed his acting which brought class to even lighthearted fare.

    RIP

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  2. The last of the Cartwrights has crossed the divide. I loved that show when I was a kid.

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  3. We were just talking about him the other morning at work because of his mention in this week's EW about the biggest TV bombs. (He was listed with David Caruso and Shelley Long for leaving a show too soon.) I mentioned that it was ironic that he left the show early and was the only one from it still alive... not that the two were related.....

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  4. Like most actors I watched as a kid and young man I seem to appreciate Roberts much more as an adult. A few years back I saw him in a couple of episodes or Sugarfoot, an episode of Bronco and 77 Sunset Strip, done prior to signing on as Adam on Bonanza... he was a bit chubby and seems to have slimmed down for Bonanza. According to one of the books devoted to Bonanza in my fairly decent classic TV show library, he was a pain in the ass to the producers of Bonanza... haranguing them about doing more socially relevant themes such as the treatment of Indians and such (seems to me most of the Western series dealt a lot about bigotry and the lynch mob mentality). It was a mutual decision that he leave the show. He was given the role of Trapper John only on the condition that he not be difficult. He had a couple of nice roles on Ironside and Streets of San Francisco... the former a cop hating business man who kills a couple of cops that arrested him for DUI, the latter a stressed business man who's wife is divorcing him and business is failing who in a frustrated fit of rage kills her lawyer.

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  5. I never saw any of his TV shows, but I watch RIDE LONESOME once a year, and he's a delight in it.

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  6. Anonymous8:10 AM

    I loved Bonanza as a kid too.

    RIP


    Jeff

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  7. mike doran12:01 PM

    I vaguely recall that one of the things that got Roberts in trouble with the Bonanza brass was when he would appear on game shows without his toupee. Bad for the matinee idol image, or something like that.

    Roberts was obviously more contented in his later years as a character actor. But he always gave value for money, and in the end that's all that matters.

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