Wow! I thought October was hopping with birthdays! But June is a pen of bunny rabbits! I was just finishing up Pascale’s week, and POP! Up comes the birthday of one of them who started it all! But since his birthday was also on my anniversary, I decided to give myself a little break, and give him a proper highlight week this week. Since he doesn’t play a character, and he hasn’t been available for an interview, we’ll stick with a #MeetYouMonday and a #WonderWednesday post.
Sometimes I think, because he’s not as involved on social media, this amazing film creator is overlooked a bit. But so many of us love his projects, not to mention we just enjoy the fruits of his inspiration. Plus, I feel geographically connected to this man…he lives in Austin, TX after all! My home! 😀 I have yet to meet him, I must have missed the memo as to where he and Daniel Lissing were meeting for dinner when Dan came for a visit in December. 😉 But I’m still a great admirer from close by!
Who is this Superman of a media maker? You hit the nail on the head if you guessed Michael Landon Jr. (Or if you just looked at the title.) This man has been winning his way into our hearts since 1977 when he guest starred on his dad’s well-known and beloved TV show “Little House on the Prairie”. And even though he moved behind the camera after only six acting jobs, he’s continued to bring us chicken soup for our souls in the form of visual masterpieces!
Michael Jr. was born on June 20, 1964, in Encino, California to Michael Landon and Marjorie Lynn Noe. Here’s something interesting I never knew before: his middle name was originally Graham. Sounds nice, huh? Michael Graham Landon. I don’t know if he uses it anymore, at least not professionally, but it’s fun to know! As you might imagine, he has several siblings and half siblings, (thank you Wikipedia for the full list!) So here they are in no particular order. If you’re reading this out loud, you might want to take a deep breath!
1. Mark Fraser Landon
2. Josh Fraser Landon
3. Christopher Beau Landon
4. Leslie Ann Landon (who played Ms. Plum, the school teacher, later in “Little House”)
5. Shawna Leigh Landon
6. Jennifer Rachel Landon (she’s just a week younger than I am!)
7. Sean Matthew Landon
8. Cheryl Lynn Landon
Quite a mouthful! Quite a family! And to add to that list, there was another young lady in his life that was basically another sister to him: Melissa Gilbert, (Laura Ingalls in “Little House”, his dad’s TV daughter.) Fun fact: Michael took Melissa to her senior prom! If he didn’t, then IMDB lied to me! 😉
I don’t know if any of them joined him on this journey, but apparently, Michael Jr. converted to Christianity at the tender adult age of 18; so about 1982 or so. Then he found even more happiness when he married Sharee Annette Gregory on December 19, 1987. That’s especially heartwarming to me because December 19th is my late father and my mother’s anniversary. The similarities just keep piling up! 😀
Want some entertaining trivia about his lovely bride? How many of you cuddled up with your parents, or your kids, and watched that AMAZING, star-studded, show-stopper of a CBS TV special “Alice in Wonderland” from 1985? We had it recorded on VHS, and I almost wore it out with how many times I watched it. And I was too young to recognize anyone except John Stamos, so my mom had to tell me how they were all famous.
Anyway, Natalie Gregory did the fantastic job of playing Alice. So what, right? Well, Natalie is Sharee’s little sister, and Sharee played her big sister in that TV special! No wonder it looked so natural! How about that?! But the MOST amazing production either Michael or Sharee did was the one they did together: creating a beautiful family together! They have three children. Two daughters, Ashley and Brittany, and one son, Austin. I wonder if that’s a coincidence?
From what I can gather, Michael’s first projects were to honor his father. He produced and directed the 1991 documentary “Michael Landon: Memories with Laughter and Love, then wrote the story for the 1993 TV movie “Bonanza: The Return”, (that was his father’s famous TV role before “Little House”) and finally wrote and directed the 1999 TV movie “Michael Landon, the Father I Knew”. He loves his father so much, doesn’t he?!
Then he found his other passion: faith-inspiring films, rural period pieces, sometimes a combination of the two. And we know he felt particularly drawn to Janette Oke. 😀 But I am not going to go into any further detail tonight. Gotta save SOMETHING for Wednesday! 😀 So good night, sweet Hearties! And happy Belated birthday to you Mr. Michael Landon Jr. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!