Jen Landon is an actress that has captivated audiences with her talent and dedication. But behind her success lies a family legacy in Hollywood. Her parents have left an enduring mark on the entertainment industry, shaping their daughter’s path in the spotlight.
Jennifer “Jen” Landon drew her first breath in Malibu, California, on August 29, around the mid-1980s. She joined the entertainment industry in 1989 when she landed a small uncredited role as the Little Girl in the White House in the fantasy drama series “Highway to Heaven.”
Her next role was in 1991’s “Us,” a T.V. movie depicting a wrongfully convicted man struggling to adjust to an ordinary life after being pardoned. The actress played Jennifer Krammer in the film. She stepped back from film and T.V. afterward, returning as Jessica in the 2004 comedy “L.A. D.J.”
Jen graduated from New York University: Tisch School of the Arts with a B.F.A. in Drama in 2005. She also honed her craft at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. After graduation, she landed her longest-running role as Gwen Munson in “As The World Turns.”
The decades-old romantic drama series was her main onscreen project between 2005 and 2010, throughout which she appeared in 496 episodes. The actress also took several parts in T.V. shows and films afterward, including “The Haunted,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Chicago Med,” and “The Front Runner.”
Today, she is chiefly recognized for her part as Lilith Bode in the acclaimed crime series “Banshee,” co-starring Antony Starr. Jen also played Amy Wheeler in “Animal Kingdom” and portrays Teeter in Kevin Costner’s hit series “Yellowstone,” opposite Dawn Olivieri, Ian Bohen, and Kelsey Asbille.
In a recent cover for People, Jen Landon spoke about her immersive experience in “Yellowstone,” recounting days when she and her castmates were “covered in [expletive] from head to toe.” Still, the success she amassed from the series is undeniable.
The star inherited a deep appreciation for creativity from her parents. She was born to the late longtime actor, writer, and producer Michael Landon and actor-producer Cindy Landon (née Clerico). The former couple raised their children in a wonderfully memorable atmosphere that Jen has remembered fondly.
Jen Landon’s Parents Were a Hollywood Couple
Jen’s father, Michael, was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz in Queens, New York, on October 31, 1936. He was a star athlete in school who excelled in track-and-field and javelin. His skills in sports earned him a scholarship to study at the University of Southern California.
Unfortunately, his athletic career was short-lived; an arm injury forced him to step back and leave U.S.C. He took odd jobs, including minor T.V. roles, to make a living before focusing on acting full-time.
After focusing primarily on T.V. shows, Michael won a leading part as Tony Rivers in 1957’s fantasy film “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.” It was his first significant role, followed by “The Legend of Tom Dooley,” where he played the title character in 1959.
Still, in 1959, he also began starring in the Western series “Bonanza,” which aired until 1973. The year after the show, Michael started playing Charles Ingalls in the book-adapted series “Little House on the Prairie.” While starring in the romantic drama, he also served as its writer, director, and executive producer.
After “Little House on the Prairie” ended, Michael starred in his own series as Jonathan Smith in “Highway to Heaven.” His last few works were the films “Where Pigeons Go to Die” and “Us.”
Throughout his career, Michael had married three times. His first wife was Dodie Levy-Fraser, with whom he had two children before divorcing in 1962. His second wife was Lynn Noe, and the two had four kids before separating in 1982.
Michael’s last spouse was Cindy, with whom he remained married until his dying breath on July 1, 1991. The couple had met on the “Little House on the Prairie” set where Cindy worked as a make-up artist. They tied the knot on Valentine’s Day in 1983.
Cindy was also an actress who later focused on documentary filmmaking. The California native was born on January 27, 1957. Her earliest credit as a producer was the 2006 history documentary “Whaledreamers.” She released another in 2011 called “After Kony: Staging Hope,” followed by 2016’s “Sanctuary” and 2018’s “The Game Changers.”
Cindy lived a happy life with her family. She and Michael frequently took Jen and their son, Sean, to public events, including those for charity and movie premieres. Their last documented outing as a family was to the Moscow Circus Opening Night Performance in March 1991 in Inglewood.
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Cindy Continues to Show Appreciation and Love for Michael Landon, Even after His 1991 Passing
Michael was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 1991 and died a few months later. In 2019, Jen shared some heartwarming memories from her childhood that included her dad, describing him as “the best.”
Although he commanded respect and discipline at home, Jen said the late star knew how to make things fun. “He had this ability to make you feel like something magical could happen or you were on the edge of discovery,” Jen fondly recalled.
When she was 11, she penned a touching letter to her dad that her mom shared on the 30th anniversary of his passing. Cindy has commemorated the death of her husband with sweet tributes on her Instagram, often accompanied by old family pictures.
She has maintained a close relationship with her kids and spends time with them whenever possible. Sometimes, she also shares throwback photos from when Michael was still alive. She once posted a picture that featured all of Michael’s children with her smiling in the middle.
In August 2019, Cindy posted photos of herself sometimes cozied up with a particular man, and it appeared she was in a romantic relationship with him. He last appeared on her Instagram timeline in November 2019, but how their relationship panned out is unknown. At the time of writing, Cindy’s relationship status is also unknown.