Born in Ottawa, Canada, on February 12, 1914, Lorne Greene was best known as Ben Cartwright
in the long-running Western TV series Bonanza
(1959-73). Greene started his radio career in the 1930s at radio station CBO in Ottawa. During World War II he was the "voice of doom" reading the news on the national network. Greene made his first Broadway appearance in 1953 in The Prescott Proposals
opposite Katherine Cornell.
After starring in a few movies - The Silver Chalice
(1954), Peyton Place
(1957), and The Buccaneer
(1958) - he was offered the part as Ben Cartwright.
In the 1960s he turned to recording, with his best known hit, Ringo
, charting "number one
" on Billboard's Hot 100
in 1964. When Bonanza
went off the air, he worked on CTV's Lorne Greene's New Wilderness
for five years. He later starred in two short-lived TV series, Battlestar Galactica
and Code Red
Greene died on September 11, 1987 of complications from an operation for a perforated ulcer. - Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock Pop & Folk Music; Rick Jackson; Quarry Press Rock Books
The Silver Chalice
(1954) - also starring Virginia Mayo, Jack Palance, E.G. Marshall, Natalie Wood and Paul Newman in his screen debut.
(1957) - also starring Lana Turner, and later a hit television series. It was the first soap opera to become a major network hit during prime time, aired from 1964 to 1969.
(1958) - directed by Anthony Quinn, executive producer - Cecil B. DeMille, also starring Yul Brynner, Charlton Heston and Charles Boyer. Andrew Jackson (Heston) and Lafitte (Brynner) stem British invasion during the Battle of New Orleans.
(September 12, 1959 - January 16, 1973; NBC) - starred Lorne Greene (Ben Cartwright), Michael Landon (Little Joe), Dan Blocker (Hoss), Pernell Roberts (Adam), Victor Sen Yung (Hop Sing) and Ray Teal (Sheriff Roy Coffee).
Set in the vicinity of Virginia City, Nevada during the years of the Civil War soon after the discovery of the fabulous Comstock Silver Lode, Bonanza was the story of a prosperous family of ranchers. The program was not a traditional shoot-em up Western; it relied more on the relationships between the principals and the stories of the characters played by weekly guest stars than it did on violence. Many of the episodes explored serious dramatic themes.
Lorne Greene's Last of the Wild
(1974 - 1979; syndicated) - a wildlife documentary series devoted to endangered species.
(September 17, 1978 - August 17, 1980; ABC) - science fiction similar to the movie Star Wars. Special effects creator, John Dykstra worked on Star Wars as well.
(September 20, 1981 - September 12, 1982; ABC) - instructional series about fire fighters specializing in arson investigations set in Los Angeles. Along with lessons in fire safety, viewers saw examples of the work of paramedics, rescue operations, and even "scuba diving for underwater fire prevention".
- The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows; Tim Brooks - Earle Marsh; Ballantine Books
- Movie and Video Guide; Leonard Maltin; Penguin Books
- The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits; Joel Whitburn; Billboard Publications