spacer graphic
[Home][Bonanza Locations][Bonanza's Opening Scenes][Bonanza Forum][Bonanza Cast Bios][Bonanza Episode Guide][Links]
Navigation Bar
[Bonanza Calendar][Bonanza Lyrics][Horse Bios][Bonanza Gallery][Bonanza eCards]
Welcome to Bonanza: Scenery of the Ponderosa!
Cochise page divider
Cast Biographies
Supporting Actors

     In addition to the background characters, a few supporting actors are always present at times during the course of Bonanza's fourteen-year run.
     Lane Bradford was a serial star who was hired in support roles for many years.  His career dates back to the early 1940's.  Lane was born on August 29, 1922.  He was 6' feet tall, a good actor and could do all his physical feats without a stuntman.  Lane served as Bill Elliott's stunt double in "Bullets for Bandits" ( 1942 ).  He appeared in numerous "Bonanza" episodes for the majority of its 14-year run.  He was mainly cast as the heavy in film because of his rugged looks.  He was the son of actor John Merton.

     He appeared in "Enter Mark Twain", "The Mission", "The Rescue", "A Hot Day for a Hanging", "Little Man-Ten Feet Tall", "Patchwork Man", "Ballad of the Ponderosa", "The Greedy Ones", "In Defense of Honor", "The Last Vote", "What Are Pardners For?", "The Night Virginia City Died", "Shadow of a Hero" and "The Grand Swing".

     In 1973, Lane moved to Hawaii, where he loved to go sailing on the Pacific.  He got work in "Hawaii-Five-O", when they were filming the series over the years.  On June 7th of that year, Lane died from a brain hemorrhage at age 50.  His fellow friends and actors were all saddened by this tragedy that befell him.  One of Lane's best friends was actor John Mitchum, who once told me, "He was a sweetheart."
Visit the IMDb for Lane Bradford's filmography!

     Charles Maxwell was a serial star who played numerous roles in movies and television since the early 1940's.  He was born on December 28, 1913 in Long Island, New York.  He specialized in playing the heavy and was a good actor.  He was 6' 3" in height, with a lean, solid build.  He was ruggedly handsome, with a deep voice and the devilish beard.  His acting was always top caliber in his filmed acting roles in front of the movie cameras.

     He appeared in "The Newcomers", "The Hopefuls", The Guilty", "A Dime's Worth of Glory", "Credit for a Kill", "Check Rein", "Company of Forgotten Men", "Child", "The Law and Billy Burgess" and "Blind Hunch".  His support roles in the above episodes are very memorable to this day.  He played Virgil Earp in the classic Star Trek episode, "Spectre of the Gun" ( 1968 ).

     Many years later, after the TV-Westerns faded out, Charles retired from show business.  He passed away on August 7, 1993.  He's always been fondly remembered by his friends and co-workers that worked with him in film and television.  He was a nice guy and was great to work with by all those who knew him.
Visit the IMDb for Charles Maxwell (I)'s filmography!

     Morgan Woodward, a highly skilled actor, was in quite a handful of episodes, including, "Death At Dawn", "The Secret", "The Toy Soldier", "Four Sisters From Boston", "Pride Of A Man", "Old Friends", "Lothario Larkin", and "The Prisoners", all in which his opera-trained voice and 6'3" stature shine through.
Visit the IMDb for Morgan Woodward's filmography!

     Robert J. Wilke was another fine character actor who began working in support roles during the 1930's.  He would later appear in numerous television series during the 50's and 60's.  He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 18, 1914.  His rugged looks, blue eyes, deep voice and imposing height of 6' 2", made him a prolific-looking character actor.  He made appearances in "The Trail Gang", "Return to Honor", "The Flannel-Mouth Gun", "Trouble Town" and "Old Friends".

     By the early 70's, the TV-Westerns were gone, but Robert continued to play golf for many years, something he claimed made him more money than his acting career could give him.  He passed away from cancer on March 28, 1989.  His memorable performances in film and television are hardly forgotton by the aficionados who love to enjoy the vintage material he appeared in to this day.
Visit the IMDb for Robert J. Wilke's filmography!

     Ron Hayes, another supporting actor, who was married to Betty Endicott (Pernell's stand-in), was also very good in the following episodes, "Desert Justice", "The Rescue", "Mirror Of A Man", "The Bridegroom", "Night Of Reckoning" and in "Emily".  He was in daytime television in the 70's and 80's, most notably in ABC's General Hospital, and is retired nowadays.
Visit the IMDb for Ron Hayes' filmography!

     Bern Hoffman played Sam, the bartender during Bonanza's most highest-rated years and was a familiar face every Sunday night.  He was born in 1912 and passed away in 1979, we will always remember him as Sam, the bartender.
Visit the IMDb for Bern Hoffman's filmography!

     Bruno VeSota was the replacement actor for Bern Hoffman as the bartender.  He made numerous appearances in various episodes of the 1965-69 years of the series.  He was born on March 25, 1922 and passed away on September 24, 1976.
Visit the IMDb for Bruno VeSota's filmography!

     Remo Pisani was the last bartender to be cast on Bonanza, and was seen during the 1968-1970 seasons, as well as Bruno VeSota.
Visit the IMDb for Remo Pisani's filmography!

     Denver Pyle was also a supporting actor, mainly during the early years of Bonanza, as the Sheriff, as in "Little Man: Ten Feet Tall" and a few others.  He played a weak and spineless Sheriff in "A Hot Day For A Hanging" to a totally devious lawman in "The Wagon".  He appeared in the following Bonanza episodes, also: "Bullet For A Bride", "Springtime", "The Passing Of A King", "Riot" and in "The Boss".  He was a very versatile and talented actor, and appeared in hundreds of feature films, serials, TV series, most notably, "The Dukes Of Hazzard".  He was born on May 11, 1920 and passed away on December 25, 1997.
Visit the IMDb for Denver Pyle's filmography!

     Robert Foulk was one of Bonanza's first Deputies, and was seen as a storekeeper in many serials, feature films, and TV series in the Golden Age of television.  He even appeared as a storekeeper in Bonanza, most comically in "A Dollar's Worth Of Trouble"-1967.  Most remember his as the first incarnation of Deputy Clem, in "The Gamble", which was co-written by Michael Landon in 1962.  He was born on May 5, 1908 and passed away on February 25, 1989.
Visit the IMDb for Robert Foulk's filmography!

     Michael Witney was born as Whitney Michael Armstrong on November 21, 1931 in New York City. He was a very good character actor who appeared in numerous television series and films in the 60's, 70's and early 80's. He was tall at 6' 1", with a large build and good-looking with brown hair. He had a deep voice and was often cast as a brother or villain in TV and film.

     In 1966, he and Tom Simcox starred in a unsold pilot for a proposed CBS-Western series about railroad workers that was called "The Iron Man." For 'Bonanza', he was cast in the episodes "Mighty Is the Word," "Tommy," "The Stronghold," and "The Prisoners." He did a great job playing Tyree in the 'Star Trek' episode "A Private Little War" in 1967, with William Shatner and Nancy Kovack. He worked in films such as "Darling Lili" (1970), "Doc" (1971), "Head On" (1971), "The Catcher" (1972), "W" (1974) and "There Goes the Bride" (1983).

     He married Donna (Jojo) Collette Bailey in 1956 and they divorced in 1976. Going back a few years to 1974, he was hired to star in the thriller film W, and his co-star was UK-born model Twiggy Lawson. The two begun dating and married in 1977 and they had a daughter, Carly, born in 1978. Right after they married, Twiggy found out Mike was an alcoholic. "He was a lovely man," she said, "but he had a major problem and it ended up killing him."

     When Twiggy was 31, and a star on Broadway with the show 'My One and Only', Witney's drinking soared out of control and he was becoming more violent. After one row, he punched his fist through a plasterboard wall. Twiggy left and took Carly with her. Witney joined Alcoholics Anonymous, but he died of a heart attack in McDonalds where he had taken Carly to celebrate her fifth birthday in New York City, on November 30, 1983. Michael had turned 52, just ten days before his tragic death on the 21st of the month. He is still missed to this day.
Visit the IMDb for Michael Witney's filmography!

More character actors at What A Character!

Cast Bios:  Lorne Greene  Pernell Roberts  Dan Blocker  Michael Landon
Guy Williams   David Canary  Victor Sen Yung  Ray Teal  Bing Russell
Mitch Vogel  Lou Frizzell  Tim Matheson  Supporting Actors  Stunt Doubles
Home | Locations | Opening Scenes | Forum | Cast Bios | Episode Guide | Links
Calendar | Bonanza Lyrics | Horse Bios | Gallery | eCards
Photographs and content copyright ©2000-2010 RM & Bonanza: Scenery of the
Ponderosa, all rights reserved.