pernell roberts

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American television actor and singer. He was best known for his roles as Ben Cartwright's eldest son, Adam Cartwright, on the western series Bonanza (a role he played from 1959 to 1965), and as chief surgeon, Dr. John MacIntyre, the title character on Trapper John, M.D. (1979-1986).
He was known for his activism, which included participation in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965, and pressuring NBC to refrain from hiring whites to portray minority characters
Pernell Elvin Roberts (May 18, 1928 – January 24, 2010)
Early life
During his high school years, Roberts sang in local USO shows. He attended, but did not graduate from, Georgia Tech, then served for two years in the United States Marine Corps. He attended the University of Maryland but was not a stellar student. He began his acting career in off-Broadway and Broadway theatre in New York City. The young actor won a prestigious Drama Desk award in 1955 for his performance in an off-Broadway rendition of Macbeth. He then worked with the Arena Stage Company in Washington, D.C.
In 1958, Roberts guest-starred as Captain Jacques Chavez on the NBC adventure series Northwest Passage based on the life of Major Robert Rogers in the French and Indian War. He appeared with fellow guest star Fay Spain in the 1958 episode "Pick up the Gun" of Tombstone Territory. In 1958 he played the lead villain in the 31st episode of Have Gun - Will Travel, portraying a killer boss exploiter of Chinese Coolie laborers entitled "Hey Boy's Revenge." The episode drew critical acclaim for shedding some light on the contribution of indentured Chinese workers in building the U.S. west and for also carrying a socially conscious message "white man's laws can deliver justice for a minority" a "Paladin Parable" so typical of the series. In 1959, he co-starred in the film Ride Lonesome.

[edit] Bonanza

He came to prominence playing Ben Cartwright's urbane eldest son, Adam, in the Western television series Bonanza. Despite the show's success, he left after the sixth season in 1965 due to disagreements with the writers and a desire to return to legitimate theatre. Among other complaints, Roberts argued that a 34-year-old, educated, Eastern-born man would not be calling his father "Pa".
The writers tacitly agreed not to exceed three "Pa" references per episode. According to producer David Dortort in the February 2006 "Bonanza Gold" issue, Roberts also wanted to stop wearing his toupee. Since, in real life, there were fewer than thirteen years of age between Roberts and Lorne Greene, a bald Adam would not have translated well on screen.[citation needed Bonanza continued without Roberts for another eight seasons.
While performing in the series, Roberts recorded Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies, a folk music album which Allmusic calls "...the softer, lyrical side of folk music — pleasant and not challenging, but quite rewarding in its unassuming way."[2] . The album has been released on RCA Victor LPM / LSP 2662 (1963), and was arranged by Dick Rosmini. The album presently is available on compact disc only as part of the fourth disc of the Bonanza 4-CD boxed st on Bear Family
On the Bonanza box set albums, Roberts also sings "Early One Morning", "In the Pines", "The New Born King", "The Bold Soldier", "Mary Ann", "They Call the Wind Mariah", "Sylvie", "Lily of the West", "The Water is Wide", "Rake and a Ramblin Boy", "A Quiet Girl", "Shady Grove", "Alberta", and "Empty Pocket Blues". Roberts was the only trained/accomplished singer of the original Ponderosa clan. (However David Canary, who joined the cast in 1967, graduated as a voice major.) Blocker narrated intros and Landon held his own, while Lorne Greene's deep baritone voice scored big in songs such as "Ringo" (1964).

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