Smashing Interviews Magazine

Compelling People — Interesting Lives



March 2022



Why Michael Landon's Daughter Wanted to Hear Bad Things About Him

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Image attributed to Jennifer Landon

Jennifer Landon

Three-time Emmy-winning actress Jennifer Landon is best known for her roles in Yellowstone, Animal Kingdom, Banshee and As the World Turns.

She is the daughter of the late television icon Michael Landon.

In a 2017 interview with Smashing Interviews Magazine, Landon was asked if she found it difficult to watch her dad on television.

"No. It’s not hard. Because I don’t get the TV on very much without the cable, I haven’t watched it a lot recently at all. By recently, I mean the last 15 years. But if Little House on the Prairie’s on and I’m somewhere and I catch it, I’ll watch it for a bit. It makes me feel very good," Landon stated.

"If you lose a parent that’s not in the public eye, you don’t really have a lot of material on that parent. I guess it depends. You’ve got photos and home movies maybe, depending on what generation you come from, you know? So you don’t really have all that footage. It’s just something about having a parent in the public eye."

Early on in her childhood, Landon failed to grasp the fact that her father was a renowned figure.

"When I was little, it took me a while to realize he was really famous. I had no idea. In a weird way, there’s something mysterious about the person. I know all parents are mysterious to their children, but I feel like people who are in the public eye have this kind of elusive quality," recalled Landon.

"So in a weird way, it’s weird to me that I get to feel close to him the same way that somebody who has never met him would that’s turning on the TV. That’s how I do it as well. I do it the same way that anybody who really adored him does it."

Landon had a difficult time relating to her dad's saintly public persona. She found herself conflicted, wishing that he wasn't seen as being quite so perfect, wishing that he was more relatable to the way she felt inside but feeling very much like her father's daughter.

"When somebody passes away, they get a golden kind of image. When anybody passes away. Dad had a really golden image. Period. But when somebody has got this other thing around them, it’s a tricky thing to answer," the Yellowstone star explained.

"Sometimes when I was growing up, I just wanted to hear something shitty about him because I, as a person, deal with my own shit, my own personality quirks and my own inclinations. But I sometimes feel just wildly genetic. I know he was great, but what about this? You know, I think that might be true for all children who lost parents. It’s hard to get an answer on that."

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