Pernell Roberts Dead At 81

Pernell Roberts, best remembered for his roles in Bonanza and Trapper John, M.D. has died of cancer at his Malibu home aged 81.

Pernell Roberts started his career in high school, singing in a local USO show before serving two years in the United States Marine Corps. After a period of study, he performed off-Broadway, winning a Drama Desk award in 1955 for his performance in Macbeth.

He first appeared on TV as a guest star in the series Northwest Passage, and made his film debut a year later co-starring in the film Ride Lonesome.

Robert’s big break came playing Ben Cartwright’s eldest son in the TV series Bonanza for six seasons. During this period he also recorded a solo album, and sang extensively on a separate Bonanza related album.

After appearing on a range of television shows, he found fame again in the early 80’s playing Trapper John M.D., in the show of the same name from 1979-1986. He last appeared on television in 2001.