Michael Landon played a loving dad to many children on “Little House on the Prairie,” making him the definition of “dad goals.”
For nine years, Michael Landon starred in “Little House on the Prairie” as the Ingalls family patriarch and dad to five amazing children. As Charles Ingalls, he played the father role extraordinarily, providing his kids with a happy household despite their humble lives and many setbacks.
The family bond they shared on-screen reflected on their real lives. Michael Landon became a father figure in real life to two of his onscreen children, making it even more difficult to create that distinction between the actor’s real-time and onscreen characters.
Having set a reputation for being a Hollywood dad, his real-life persona has sparked curiosity, as one may wonder if he replicates his “ideal family guy” persona off-the-screen.
How Many Children Did Michael Landon Have?
Charles Ingalls was a lover of large families, a trait his roleplayer seems to share. Notably, Michael Landon, who passed away in 1991, also loved large families, having fathered nine children in his lifetime.
The actor tied the knot three times in his lifetime. His first marriage was to Dodie Levy-Fraser in 1956. He and Fraser had one adopted child. Next, he married actress Marjorie Lynn, who gave him four children.
His final and most controversial marriage, to Cindy Clerico, which lasted until his death, yielded two children.
Although Michael Landon had a large family comprising nine kids, not all of them were biological, as he adopted most of his children.
Michael Landon’s Children From His First Marriage Were Adopted
When Michael Landon married Dodie, she already had an eight-year-old son, Mark Fraser, from a previous marriage. Ultimately, Landon adopted the boy, becoming a first-time father.
Mark grew up to pursue an acting career like his dad, starring in movies like “US,” and “Goodbye America.” Sadly, his career was short-lived.
Mark Fraser passed away in 2009 and was interred with his dad in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, Culver City, California.
Michael and Dodie also adopted another son, Josh Fraser Landon. In a 1962 interview, London addressed his son’s paternity, condemning reports referencing him as “adopted.”
According to the actor, Josh was his son, no questions asked. Josh has managed to stay away from the spotlight over the years, with little about him known to the public.
Reports have it that the couple adopted another son named Jason. However, Dodie reportedly gave him up for adoption following her 1962 divorce from Michael. She seemingly gave the boy up for adoption because she could not take care of all three children, after winning their custody post-divorce.
Meet Michael’s Kids With Marjorie Lynn Noe
Following his marriage to Marjorie Lynn Noe in 1963, Landon adopted the actress’ daughter, Cheryl Lynn Landon, then 9. The actress had her daughter from a previous marriage, but Michael raised her as his daughter, even giving her his last name after adopting her.
Cheryl is an author, famously publishing the book, “I Promised My Dad,” which gave an insight into her life growing up as Michael’s first daughter.
The couple went on to welcome daughter Leslie Ann Landon, who followed in her parent’s acting footsteps. She played the role of school teacher Etta Plum in “Little House.”
However, Leslie has since given up those acting pursuits, becoming a clinical psychologist after obtaining a degree from Pepperdine University, Malibu.
Michael and Marjorie are also parents to son Michael Landon Jr. Like his dad, Michael Jr. has made a name for himself in showbiz. Following a brief stint in “Little House,” he branched into writing, production and directing, with credits in hit movies like “When Calls the Heart.”
Michael Jr. and his long-time wife Sharee Gregory have three children together.
Next, the former couple welcomed daughter Shawna Leigh Landen, who gave up a life of stardom to become a Los Angeles real estate agent.
The youngest child born to the couple, Christopher Beau Landon grew up to become a successful screenwriter, producer, and director. His most notable onscreen projects include “Disturbia,” “Paranormal Activity” series, and the “Happy Death Day” series.
He is happily married to husband, Cody, and they share two children.
Michael Landon Welcomed Two Children With His Third Wife
After kicking up an affair with a much younger makeup artist, Cindy Clerico on the set of “Little House,” Landon earned condemnation from most of his co-stars. This affair ultimately led to his divorce from Marjorie.
In 1983, a year after divorcing his second wife, Michael and Cindy tied the knot and remained together until his death. The couple welcomed two children together.
Their first child, Jennifer Landon followed in her dad’s footsteps, becoming an actress. She is notable for her appearance in “As the World Turns,” which earned her an Emmy award. She currently stars as Teeter in the hit series, “Yellowstone.”
Meanwhile, the youngest of Michael’s children, Sean Matthew Landon, chose a life away from the spotlight. Sean, who was only five when his dad passed, is now a successful realtor, with a successful business.