I PROMISED MY DAD by Cheryl Landon with Jane Scovell Wilson


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The eldest daughter of TV actor/writer/director/producer Michael Landon (Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, etc.) tells her side of the Landon story--and tells her father's as best she can. Wilson is the daughter of Landon's second wife, Marjorie Lynn Noe, and has eight siblings or quasi-siblings. Landon, dying of cancer at 54, expressed his regret to Wilson that he'd not been allowed by her biological father to adopt her--but that she'd always been his daughter anyway. With this book, she returns the favor by protecting and honoring Landon's memory and by showing how he was her dad even though she'd had weekend contact with her biological father during her mother's marriage to Landon--who had his problems. The son of a mentally disturbed woman, he popped pills during his early years on Bonanza and never gave up heavy use of cheap vodka. But friends and others envied his Romeo-and-Juliet tie with Marjorie, an immense lovey-doveyness that would not allow his eyes to leave her. Landon clearly was a marvelous father to all his children, and much of his home life became grist for scripts he wrote and directed for his various series. Wilson's darkest moment came with an auto accident that killed her three fellow passengers and nearly killed her, and that left her with lifelong pain and a dependency on Percodan. Her use of the painkiller got out of hand and she had to enter rehab. Another tough time came when Landon left Marjorie for his young third wife. The kids were hurt, but the younger ones recovered as part of Landon's new and growing family--although Wilson felt whipped when Landon shrank her inheritance to much less than expected. The high points here are quite moving, especially Landon going on The Tonight Show to fight the tabloids two months before dying. Well done.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster