Playing Ben Cartwright made Lorne Greene a better man

"It's difficult for any of us to determine where Lorne Greene ends and Ben Cartwright begins."

With hard work, hope, and a bit of luck, we can only become better as we get older. With age comes experience, which can make you wiser and stronger. In our adulthood, it's our responsibility to use our lived experiences to guide us toward our future.

For Lorne Greene, one of his most formative experiences came at a time when, strangely enough, he was pretending to be someone else. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Cartwright revealed that playing the father on Bonanza made him a better person in his everyday life. Greene said, "I must say this, however. Since playing Ben Cartwright I'm healthier, wealthier, and happier than I've ever been before, so some of it must have worn off."

It's a shift that seems to have been mutual, as Greene explained later that throughout the series run, he began instilling his own personal characteristics into that of Ben Cartwright. He said, "I injected my personality, whatever it is, into Ben Cartwright, always with the idea of making him a man who combined authority with kindness."

He also added, "Whether I had authority and kindness to begin with before I was ever cast in Bonanza, I can't honestly say. An actor's life is generally one of insecurity, and while he may board all the physical manifestations of authority - height, weight, stature, booming voice, chances are that he's wracked by self-doubt."

Even David Dortort, creator of Bonanza, had noticed the shift. He explained, "It's positively amazing to see how Lorne Greene has become Ben Cartwright in the past six years." He also explained that Greene's change caused a ripple effect within the cast. Dortort said, "He and Dan Blocker and Mike Landon used to fool around on the set, actors kidding together. Now, both Blocker and Landon, when they have problems, approach Greene and talk to him as if he were really their father."

He also stated, "It's difficult for any of us to determine where Lorne Greene ends and Ben Cartwright begins."

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harlow1313 2 months ago
If only we had a candidate like Ben Cartwright, come this November.
Runeshaper 2 months ago
Lorne played a GREAT Ben! It's cool that the younger actors went to him for guidance and advice.
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