Lorne Greene

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Lorne Greene
Lorne Greene - 1969.jpg
Greene in 1969
Lyon Himan Green

(1915-02-12)February 12, 1915
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
DiedSeptember 11, 1987(1987-09-11) (aged 72)
Other namesChaim Green
Lorne Hyman Greene
OccupationActor and musician/singer
Years active1939–1987
  • Rita Hands (1938–1960; divorced)
  • Nancy Deale (1961–1987; his death)

Lorne Hyman Greene, [1] OC (born Lyon Himan Green; [2] February 12, 1915 – September 11, 1987) was a Canadian actor, radio personality and singer.

Order of Canada order

The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit, which is the personal gift of Canada's monarch.

Canadians citizens of Canada

Canadians are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, several of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Canadian.


His television roles include Ben Cartwright on the western Bonanza , and Commander Adama in the original science fiction television series Battlestar Galactica and Galactica 1980 . He also worked on the Canadian television nature documentary series Lorne Greene's New Wilderness , and in television commercials.

Western (genre) multimedia genre of stories set primarily in the American Old West

Western is a genre of various arts which tell stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, often centering on the life of a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter armed with a revolver and a rifle who rides a horse. Cowboys and gunslingers typically wear Stetson hats, neckerchief bandannas, vests, spurs, cowboy boots and buckskins. Recurring characters include the aforementioned cowboys, Native Americans, bandits, lawmen, bounty hunters, outlaws, gamblers, soldiers, and settlers. The ambience is usually punctuated with a Western music score, including American and Mexican folk music such as country, Native American music, New Mexico music, and rancheras.

<i>Bonanza</i> 1959-1973 American western/cowboy television series

Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from 1959 to 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 431 episodes, Bonanza is NBC's longest-running western, and ranks overall as the second-longest-running western series on U.S. network television, and within the top 10 longest-running, live-action American series. The show continues to air in syndication. The show is set in the 1860s and it centers on the wealthy Cartwright family that live in the vicinity of Virginia City, Nevada, bordering Lake Tahoe. The series initially starred Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, and Michael Landon and later featured Guy Williams, David Canary, Mitch Vogel, and Tim Matheson. The show is known for presenting pressing moral dilemmas.

Commander Adama is a fictional character in the 1978 movie and subsequent ABC television series Battlestar Galactica and its continuation series, Galactica 1980.

Early life and career in Canada

Greene was born Lyon Himan Green in Ottawa, Ontario, [2] to Russian Jewish immigrants, Dora (née Grinovsky) and Daniel Green, a shoemaker. [3] He was called "Chaim" by his mother, and his name is shown as "Hyman" on his school report cards. In a biography of him that was written by his daughter Linda Greene Bennett, she wrote that it was not known when he began using the name Lorne, nor when he added an "e" to Green. [2] Greene was the drama instructor at Camp Arowhon, a summer camp in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada, where he developed his talents.

Ottawa Federal capital city in Ontario, Canada

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec; the two form the core of the Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan area (CMA) and the National Capital Region (NCR). As of 2016, Ottawa had a city population of 964,743 and a metropolitan population of 1,323,783 making it the fourth-largest city and the fifth-largest CMA in Canada.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Greene began acting while attending Queen's University in Kingston, where he acquired a knack for broadcasting with the Radio Workshop of the university's Drama Guild on the campus radio station CFRC. He gave up on a career in chemical engineering and, upon graduation, found a job as a radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). During World War II Green served as a Flying officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was assigned as the principal newsreader on the CBC National News. The CBC gave him the nickname "The Voice of Canada;" however, his role in delivering distressing war news in sonorous tones with his deep, resonant voice following Canada's entry into World War II in 1939 caused many listeners to call him "The Voice of Doom" instead, particularly since he was delegated the assignment of reading the dreaded list of soldiers killed in the war. During his radio days, Greene invented a stopwatch that ran backwards; [4] this helped radio announcers gauge how much time was left while speaking. As of the middle of September of 2018, it was not known whether any production models of this stopwatch were ever made available in the United States.

Queens University university in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Queen's University at Kingston is a public research university in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Founded on 16 October 1841, via a royal charter issued by Queen Victoria, the university predates Canada's founding by 26 years. Queen's holds more than 1,400 hectares of land throughout Ontario and owns Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England. Queen's is organized into ten undergraduate, graduate, and professional faculties and schools.

Kingston, Ontario City in Ontario, Canada

Kingston is a city in Eastern Ontario, Canada. It is on the eastern end of Lake Ontario, at the beginning of the St. Lawrence River and at the mouth of the Cataraqui River. The city is midway between Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. The Thousand Islands tourist region is nearby to the east. Kingston is nicknamed the "Limestone City" because of the many heritage buildings constructed using local limestone.

Chemical engineering branch of science that applies physical sciences and life sciences together with applied mathematics and economics to produce, transform, transport, and properly use chemicals, materials and energy

Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that uses principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, and economics to efficiently use, produce, transform, and transport chemicals, materials, and energy. A chemical engineer designs large-scale processes that convert chemicals, raw materials, living cells, microorganisms, and energy into useful forms and products.

During his CBC radio career, Greene also narrated documentary films, such as the National Film Board of Canada's Fighting Norway (1943). After that career ended,[ when? ] Greene turned to the audio-visual form and relocated to the United States. Katharine Cornell cast him twice in her Broadway productions. In 1953, he was cast in The Prescott Proposals. In that same year, she cast him in a verse drama by Christopher Fry, The Dark is Light Enough. Greene likewise began appearing in isolated episodes on live television in the 1950s. In 1953, he was seen in the title role of a one-hour adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. In 1954 he made his Hollywood debut as Saint Peter in The Silver Chalice and made several more films and appearances on American television.[ citation needed ] In 1955 he was Ludwig van Beethoven in an episode of the TV version of You Are There , and also appeared as Marcus Brutus in Julius Caesar at the Stratford Festival. [5] In 1957, Greene played the prosecutor in Peyton Place.

Documentary film nonfictional motion picture

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. Documentary films were originally called 'actuality' films and were only a minute or less in length. Over time documentaries have evolved to be longer in length and to include more categories, such as educational, observational, and even 'docufiction'. Documentaries are also educational and often used in schools to teach various principles. Social media platforms such as YouTube, have allowed documentary films to improve the ways the films are distributed and able to educate and broaden the reach of people who receive the information.

National Film Board of Canada Canadas public film and digital media producer and distributor

The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's public film and digital media producer and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary films, animation, web documentaries, and alternative dramas. In total, the NFB has produced over 3,000 productions since its inception, which have won over 5,000 awards. The NFB reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. It has English-language and French-language production branches.

<i>Fighting Norway</i> 1943 film by Sydney Newman

Fighting Norway is a 10-minute 1943 Canadian documentary, part of the Canada Carries On series of short films produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The film was directed by Sydney Newman, one of a number of shorts that were intended for theatrical release.

American television

Greene as Ben Cartwright 1959 Lorne Greene Ben Cartwright Bonanza.JPG
Greene as Ben Cartwright 1959
Greene's Ponderosa II House in Mesa, Arizona Mesa-Ponderosa House II-1963-1.JPG
Greene's Ponderosa II House in Mesa, Arizona

The first of his continuing TV roles was as the patriarch Ben "Pa" Cartwright in Bonanza ; the first one-hour western series filmed in colour (1959–1973), making Greene a household name. He garnered the role after his performance as O'Brien in the CBS production of Nineteen Eighty-Four .


The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.

O'Brien is a fictional character and the main antagonist in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The protagonist Winston Smith, living in a dystopian society governed by the Party, feels strangely drawn to Inner Party member O'Brien. Orwell never reveals O'Brien's first name.

In the 1960s, Greene capitalized on his image as Benjamin "Pa" Cartwright by recording several albums of country-western/folk songs, which Greene performed in a mixture of spoken word and singing. In 1964, Greene had a #1 single on the music charts with his spoken-word ballad, "Ringo" (which referred to the real-life Old West outlaw Johnny Ringo, not to Ringo Starr of the Beatles), and got a lot of play time from "Saga of the Ponderosa", which detailed the Cartwright founding of the famous ranch.

In 1973, after the cancellation of Bonanza following a 14-year run, Greene joined Ben Murphy in the ABC crime drama, Griff , about a Los Angeles, California, police officer, Wade "Griff" Griffin, who retires to become a private detective. When it failed to gain sufficient ratings and was cancelled after 13 episodes, Greene thereafter hosted the syndicated nature documentary series Last of the Wild from 1974-75. [6]

In the 1977 miniseries Roots , he played the first master of Kunta Kinte, John Reynolds. Through the 1970s, Greene was the spokesman for Alpo Beef Chunks dog food commercials, one of the possible origins of the phrase "Eating your own dog food". In 2007, TV Guide listed Ben Cartwright as the nation's second most popular TV Father (behind Cliff Huxtable). Greene was also known for his role as Commander Adama, another patriarchal figure, in the science fiction television series Battlestar Galactica (1978–1979) and Galactica 1980 (1980). Greene's typecasting as a wise father character continued with the 1981 series Code Red as a fire department chief, whose command includes his children as subordinates. Greene appeared with his former Bonanza co-star Michael Landon on an episode of Highway to Heaven . Greene also appeared with his former Bonanza co-star Pernell Roberts on a two-part episode of Vega$.

In the 1980s Greene devoted his energies to wildlife and environmental issues, including hosting and narrating the nature series Lorne Greene's New Wilderness , a show that promoted environmental awareness. [7]

He appeared in the HBO mockumentary The Canadian Conspiracy , about the supposed subversion of the United States by Canadian-born media personalities. For nearly a decade, Greene co-hosted the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC with Betty White. He is also fondly remembered as the founder of Toronto's Academy of Radio Arts (originally called the Lorne Greene School of Broadcasting).[ citation needed ]

Personal life

Greene was married twice, first to Rita Hands of Toronto (19381960, divorced). Some reports list the start of their marriage as 1940. They had two children, twins born in 1945: Charles Greene and Belinda Susan Bennett. His second wife was Nancy Deale (19611987, Greene's death), with whom he had one child, Gillian Dania Greene. In 1993, Gillian would marry director Sam Raimi, and later name a son, Lorne Raimi, after her dad.

The Ponderosa II House was built by Greene in 1960 in Mesa, Arizona. It is located at 602 S. Edgewater Drive. It is a replica of the Bonanza set house from the former Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village, Nevada. It is listed in the Mesa Historic Property Register.


Greene died on September 11, 1987, aged 72, from complications from pneumonia, following ulcer surgery, in Santa Monica, California. [8] He was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City. [9]


Greene was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on October 28, 1969, "for services to the Performing Arts and to the community." [10]

Greene was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by his alma mater, Queen's University, in 1971. [11] He was the 1987 recipient of the Earle Grey Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Canadian Gemini Awards. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1559 N. Vine Street.

In May 2006, Greene became one of the first four entertainers to ever be honoured by Canada Post by being featured on a 51-cent postage stamp. [12]

In February 1985, Greene was the Krewe of Bacchus King of Mardi Gras. [13]

Greene was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2015. [14]




YearAlbum US Label
1961Robin Hood of El DoradoMGM
1962Bonanza Ponderosa Party TimeRCA
1963Young at Heart
Christmas on the Ponderosa
1964Peter and the Wolf
Welcome to the Ponderosa35
1965 The Man
American West
Have a Happy Holiday54
1966Portrait of the West


YearSingleChart PositionsAlbum
CAN CountryCAN Pop US
US Country US AC
1962"My Sons My Sons"Bonanza Ponderosa Party Time
1963"I'm the Same Ole Me"single only
1964"Ringo"11211Welcome to the Ponderosa
1965"The Man"372The Man
"Ol' Tin Cup"Welcome to the Ponderosa
1966"Five Card Stud"112American West
"Daddy's Little Girl"singles only
1969"It's All in the Game"
1970"Daddy (I'm Proud to Be Your Son)"
"First Word"
1976"Spirit of America"

See also

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  1. Lorne Hyman Greene per Social Security records, ancestry.com; accessed October 6, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 Bennett, Linda Greene (November 1, 2004). My Father's Voice: The Biography of Lorne Greene (Paperback ed.). iUniverse, Inc. p. 254. ISBN   978-0-595-33283-0.
  3. "Newsmakers 1988". google.ca. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  4. "Lorne Greene, TV Patriarch, Is Dead", New York Times, September 12, 1987.
  5. https://archives.stratfordfestival.ca/AIS/Details/people/6923
  6. Last of the Wild (documentary, hosted by Lorne Greene) At Classic Themes.com
  7. "Bonanza's Canadian Lorne Greene | Bite Size Canada". Tkmorin.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  8. Weil, Martin (12 September 1987). "Former 'Bonanza' Star Lorne Greene Dies At 72". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  9. "Distinguished Residents of Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary" (PDF). hillsidememorial.org. Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary. 2011. p. 42. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  10. "Order of Canada". Gg.ca. 30 April 2009. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  11. "Queen's Encyclopedia". Qnc.queensu.ca. 7 November 1995. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  12. "Lorne Greene – Postage Stamp". Google Search. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  13. "2010 Krewe of Bacchus New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade Schedule 2010". Mardi Gras Parade Schedule. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  14. "Canada's Walk of Fame 2015 Inductees". Canadaswalkoffame.com. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  15. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0300277/
  16. Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 376. ISBN   0-89820-188-8.