Bonanza forced Pernell Roberts to ''regroup emotionally''
"I needed to get into a different environment for a while."
After about six seasons on the hit series Bonanza, Pernell Roberts left behind a memorable character and a fan-favorite series when he departed the show. When asked by the Chicago Tribune if he regretted leaving when he did, Roberts' response was a quick "God no!" He continued, "I'm just sorry I wasn't able to get out of my contract and leave sooner. So the others made millions. How much does one person need to live? I've never needed or wanted that much."
But over a decade after he left Bonanza, Roberts returned to television to star in the M*A*S*H spinoff series, Trapper John. According to an interview with The Orlando Sentinel, Roberts confessed, "Frankly, since I left Bonanza, I haven't been faced with the question of whether I would agree to do another series - because the opportunity for offers simply never arose."
While there were rumors that Roberts had been blacklisted in television after he left Hollywood, he also told a different story that was quoted by The Pittsburgh Press. Roberts stated, "The Bonanza situation was not the most fulfilling of my life." He went on, "I had to regroup emotionally." The shift also required a change in scenery for Roberts, who added, "I needed to get into a different environment for a while, so I concentrated on regional theater."
Still, Roberts was not fearful of his return to television, in spite of this underwhelming first experience and its aftermath. Of starring in Trapper John, he was quoted in The Gazette as having said, "I'll have no trouble this time. I won't — can't — deal in specifics because it's a delicate area, but suffice it to say I just know that I'm working now with those who possess a quality of individual talent I respect."