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Mitch Vogel: Whatever Happened to 'Bonanza's' Child Star?

Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images and Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TCM

For the final three seasons of NBC's Bonanza, child actor Mitch Vogel brought a fresh face to the Ponderosa as Jamie Hunter Cartwright, an orphan later adopted by Ben Cartwright.

Vogel appeared in 45 episodes, helping fill the voids left by the series exit of David Canary ("Candy" Canaday) and later on, the death of Dan Blocker (Hoss Cartwright). As would happen back then with such actors as The Andy Griffith Show's Jack Dodson, Vogel first appeared on Bonanza in 1968 as a totally different character.

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Born Mitchel L. Vogel on Jan. 17, 1956 in Alhambra, Cal., the future star of western TV shows got his start at 10 years old in stage productions of The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and the perfect story for his look, Tom Sawyer.

Late '60s film roles positioned Vogel to hobnob with the stars: Yours, Mine and Ours (starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda) and The Reivers (with the film's other Golden Globe nominee, Steve McQueen).

Mitch Vogel
Actors Mitch Vogel with Steve McQueen and Rupert Crosse on set of the Cinema Center Film movie "The Reivers" in 1969. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Before becoming a permanent part of the Bonanza cast, Vogel appeared in episodes of The Virginian and Death Valley Days plus a lesser-known show starring Andy Griffith, Headmaster. Young Mitch can also be seen in the Walt Disney TV films The Boy From Dead Man's Bayou and Menace on the Mountain.

He also played three different characters in three different Gunsmoke episodes and caused friction between the Ingalls sisters as Little House on the Prairie's Johnny Johnson.

Even with those IMDb credits, plus roles on television series Dundee and The Culhane, Here Come the Brides, The Immortal, Police Surgeon and Lucius Tanner, Vogel's still known for his stint on Bonanza opposite Lorne Greene and Michael Landon.

After a handful of late '70s roles, including an appearance on Wonder Woman and in the TV movie Texas Detour, Vogel left Hollywood for Pittsburgh, where he got married, had two daughters and formed a rock 'n' roll band.

Nowadays, Vogel's back in Southern California. When he's not directing church plays and singing in a band, he takes part in Bonanza conventions.

One way he's given back to fans of the classic Western series came in a 2002 episode of Travel Channel's TV Road Trip, during which he narrates a return to the real Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village near Lake Tahoe, Nevada

This story previously ran on May 13, 2021.

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Mitch Vogel: Whatever Happened to 'Bonanza's' Child Star?