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About this Famous Person

Michael LANDON

American Michael LANDON

born Eugene Maurice OROWITZ

American actor, writer, director, and producer

Born: on October 31, 1936 in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, USA
Died: on July 01, 1991 in Malibu, California, USA


Biography

Landon was born in Forest Hills, a neighborhood of Queens, New York. Landon's father, Eli Maurice Orowitz, was a Jewish American actor and movie theater manager, and his mother, Peggy O'Neill, was an Irish American Catholic dancer and comedienne. Eugene was the Orowitz' second child; his sister, Evelyn, was born three years earlier. In 1941, when Orowitz was four years old, he and his family moved to the Philadelphia suburb of Collingswood, New Jersey, where he attended and celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at Temple Beth Sholom,, a Conservative synagogue, in Haddon Heights, an area that did not allow Jews until after World War II. His family recalls that Landon "went through a lot of hassle studying for the big event, which included bicycling to a nearby town every day to learn how to read Hebrew and do the chanting." He later attended Collingswood High School.

During his childhood, Landon was constantly worried about his mother's suicide attempts. Once the family went on a vacation on a beach, and his mother tried to jump off a cliff and drown herself, but a lifeguard was present and she was rescued. Soon after the attempt his mother acted as if nothing had happened. After a few minutes, Michael threw up. It was the worst experience of his life.

Landon also battled the childhood problem of bedwetting, an issue that was documented in his biography, Michael Landon: His Triumph and Tragedy. His mother would put his wet sheets on display outside his window for all to see. He would run home every day and try to remove them before his classmates could see.

In high school, Landon was an excellent javelin thrower, his 193’ 4” toss in 1954 being the longest throw by a high schooler in the United States that year. This earned him an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California, but he subsequently tore his shoulder ligaments, ending his javelin throwing career and his participation on the USC track team.

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See Also :

- Category Actor