Michael Landon was an American actor, writer, director, and producer. He is known for his roles as Little Joe Cartwright in Bonanza, Charles Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie, and Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven. Landon appeared on the cover of TV Guide 22 times, second only to Lucille Ball.
Landon produced, wrote, and directed many of his series' episodes, including his shortest-lived production, Father Murphy, which starred his friend and "Little House" co-star Merlin Olsen. In 1981, Landon won recognition for his screenwriting with a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. Although his youngest daughter Jennifer Landon and Bonanza co-star David Canary have both won multiple Emmys, Michael Landon was never nominated for an Emmy. In 1976, Landon wrote and directed an auto-biographical movie, The Loneliest Runner, which was nominated for two Emmys.