Michael Landon 1
Lifespan Development and Personality Paper
October 22, 2004
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Michael Landon was many things to many people. We all know him from the various popular television series he acted in as a moral, decent, kind, Christian man. For the most part this is who he was; however, Landon had another side to him that we, his audience, never got to witness. There were many forces, some good, and some bad, that influenced his life, morals, emotions, mind, and faith. Parental and social systems greatly affected his developmental growth and adjustment as well.
Landon was born October 31, 1936, as Eugene Maurice ...view middle of the document...
My mother was sad – she never got better – and she always kept me a little off balance. I could do all the bad things: fail a grade, skip school for weeks, and she wouldn’t say a word. But, if I drank milk from the bottle, she’d dropkick me all over the kitchen.” (landonland.com) One thing Landon suffered from such stress was bed-wetting. As a result, his mother would hang his wet bedding on the cloths line for all to see and even
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ripped the sheets into strips, tied them to him, and sent him to school. Even as Landon was older, the abuse did not stop. On the day of his first marriage, his mother threatened to kill him with a knife and tried to have him committed to a mental hospital. (suite101.com)
One might ask where his father was during all of this. It has been noted that his father was a workaholic and hardly ever home. (bonanzaworld.net) When he was home, he was silent and expressed little open affection. (suite101.com) Even though, Landon said, “I loved my father because I learned a lot from him. He never disciplined me and he only hit me once. He didn’t even want to hit me then, but my mother goaded him into it. He didn’t know how to hit me…so he slapped me with the back of his hand…I started to bleed…my father started to cry and left the room…it was the first time my father showed any emotion.” (landonland.com)
Because of such a childhood, Landon was confused, shy, lonely, and introverted. He spent a great deal of time relating to animals and building forts in the woods. He experienced prejudice at school by his fellow pupils referring to him as a “lousy Jew.” (landonland.com) He had good grades until he was tired of being lonely, and became the class clown. This caused his grades to slide and he failed the ninth grade. (bonanza1.com) Landon got through it and found his niche in high school with javelin throwing. He won local and regional championships and was the #1 high school javelin thrower in the United States. (suite101.com) While in college at UCLA on a javelin scholarship, he once again was “attacked” this time over his hair. Influenced by the movie Samson and Delilah, he grew out his hair and became buff. His classmates called him a freak, ganged up on him, and shaved his head. (bonanzaworld.net)
Landon was a hard worker, which is evident in the jobs he chose. In an article, A House of Sin Kept My Family From Starving, Landon is described to have had many different jobs throughout his life. He started working at the age of fifteen. Landon started in a soup factory. He also worked in a glue
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factory, meat packing plant, unloading freight cars, washing cars, a process server, a door-to-door blanket sales man, and finally an actor.
When a friend of his needed help at an audition and asked him to come along, he did so. Unfortunately, for his friend, but good news for Landon, they liked him instead and so an actor was born. His name, Eugene Orowitz, was not...