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."

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12 Comments

McGillahooala 4 months ago
Some people are just turds. No matter how good things go for them, they find a reason to be unhappy.
ncadams27 6 months ago
After reading so many stories about actors who hate their roles and have issues with producers, writers, cast members, etc., I don’t understand why they went into the acting profession. What did they think it was going to be like?
Mannixishot 6 months ago
I like Pernell Roberts but I'll stick with what I've been saying. I give props to Michael Landon for studying after his scenes were shot so he could branch off into different territories beyond actor. You check out different Michael series and you'll see production, writing, directing credits. I have no idea if Pernell even tried to write a script or even make suggestions for stuff he'd like to see on Bonanza or if he just complained.
Andybandit 6 months ago
Boy PW was really against being on Bonanza. Maybe he shouldn't have been on the show to begin with. Sorry to be mean.
RedSamRackham Andybandit 6 months ago
I respect Pernell Roberts' integrity for refusing to stay with a series about 3 grown men who live with their Daddy and never marry. Perhaps the Laura Dayton season was the last straw for him. Bonanza failed to allow the characters to grow beyond being Daddy's boys. I also applaud his comeback on M*A*S*H spin-off Trapper John.
McGillahooala 6 months ago
The more I read about how negatively this guy was impacted by starring in Bonanza, the more I think he just nuts.
MrsPhilHarris 6 months ago
I read he wanted out the year before and then changed his mind. Didn’t the producers hire Guy Williams or something?
LoveMETV22 MrsPhilHarris 6 months ago
They should have just re-cast his role to another actor, given all the negativity he seemed to have with the series. However suppose it was publicity/controversy, and it loves company good or bad.
jmo.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 6 months ago
I agree. I think once he found out he was going to be replaced he dragged his heels. By the time the season was finished he enough nerve to leave.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 6 months ago
Have a Merry Christmas LiveMETV22. 🎅🏻 🎄
LoveMETV22 MrsPhilHarris 6 months ago
You too MrsPhilHarris. 🎄🎅
Runeshaper 6 months ago
Glad he figured out what he wanted.
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