7 things you might not know about Lorne Greene

There was more than one famous Ringo in Sixties pop music.

Image: The Everett Collection

For those who grew up in front of the television in the 1960s and 1970s, Lorne Greene was like another father. His calm, commanding presence became a crucial part of hit series Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica. His booming but soothing voice made him the perfect man for playing patriarchs or hosting family-friendly events. It was the kind of voice that Hollywood would cast for presidential roles or bourbon commercials.

Greene passed away in 1987, at the age of 72, but his legacy lives on, as his beloved contributions to TV continue airing. To honor the man, let's look at some fascinating facts.

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1. He's Canadian.

He's an iconic American cowboy. He portrayed George Washington, alongside John Wayne in the 1970 TV special Swing Out, Sweet Land. And yet, Greene was Canadian. Here he is pictured speaking at an event to salute the Southern California Canadian community in Los Angeles, California, on June 4, 1967.

Image: AP Photo/Harold P. Matosian

2. He was once known as "The Voice of Doom."

The Canadian actor was originally a radio announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Company during World War II. His official nickname was "The Voice of Canada," but his booming voice and his role delivering stressful news about the war lead people to give him the nickname "The Voice of Doom."

Image: Public Domain

3. For years, he hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade alongside Betty White.

From 1963–72, Greene helped kick off the holiday season on NBC as co-host of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He sat alongside American treasure Betty White. Now that is a team we wish we could watch forever. In 1964, there was a float in the parade to promote a new sci-fi movie called First Men In The Moon. Giant green moon creatures poked their heads out of craters. Upon seeing it, Greene proclaimed, "Wow, look at those big grasshoppers!"

Image: The Everett Collection

4. He was the emcee of the Miss International Beauty contest.

In the mid-1960s, Greene was the host with the most. He hosted the Miss International Beauty contest in 1963. The previous year's winner, Tania Verstak of Australia, visited the set of Bonanza, as seen here. Greene gave her a quick lesson in Western marksmanship.

Image: AP Photo

5. He recorded a No. 1 pop hit.

Unlike the Western actors Johnny Crawford and Sheb Wooley, whose music careers developed along with their acting roles, Bonanza's Lorne Greene started making albums specifically to capitalize off his TV fame. You can hardly blame him. Fans rewarded him by drinking up the stream of releases he put out from 1963 to 1968. His spoken-word western ballad "Ringo" charted in 1964. In fact, it went all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on December 5 of that year.

6. He's the only actor to appear in every episode of 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Galactica 1980.'

He was a man of the Ponderosa and a man of outer space. For two seasons, he portrayed Commander Adama on the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. In its second season, producers retooled the show, setting it in the modern day. The retitled Galactica 1980 featured only a few original stars from the first season. Greene, however, was a steady presence, showing his command through every episode — and showing of a rather stylish beard in the later episodes.

Image: The Everett Collection

7. He is the father-in-law of director Sam Raimi.

Raimi, the creator of Evil Dead and the director of the blockbuster Spider-Man trilogy, married Gillian Greene, Lornes' daughter, in 1993. The couple have five children together, including a son named Lorne — in honor of his grandfather — seen here at the premiere of Spider-Man in 2002.

Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

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HerbF 47 months ago
Greene in "Galactica:1980" with that beard looked like Papa Smurf!
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