Bonanza: The Story Behind The Cartwrights

The stories behind the cast of one of the most beloved shows of all time.


Canadian Lorne Greene played Ben Cartwright, the patriarch of the clan.

Generally serious and reasonable, Ben kept the ranch running.  Thrice widowed, he raised his three boys on his own, with a little help from the cook, Hop Sing.  There were no women on the Ponderosa.

Before starring on Bonanza, Greene was best known as a reporter and was the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s main announcer, during World War Two.  His deep, booming voice, coupled with the gloomy news, earned him the nickname, “The Voice Of Doom”.


After Bonanza was off the air, he continued to work in television, starring in Battlestar Galactica, Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness, and was the sponsor for Alpo commercials, and guest-starred on the Highway To Heaven episode,”The Smile In The Third Row”, with Michael Landon, his TV son, and in his own rights, as well.  In 1987, we lost our most beloved “Pa”.
Click “Next” to read about the oldest Cartwright son.

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