Members Tributes to Pernell Roberts

This page is dedicated to the memory of Pernell Roberts, the last
surviving member of the Cartwright family, who was born on May 18th
1928 and died on January 24th



Pernell Elvin Roberts junior was an only child and was born on May 18th
1928, in Waycross, Georgia.

He attended two colleges and flunked out of both of them, and in between
schools was in the Marine Corps for two years.

While at the University of Maryland he became interested in acting and
appeared in several plays in the University theatre. He went on to do
summer stock in Cleveland and then to Washington DC’s Arena Theatre
where he played Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, and appeared
in The Playboy of the Western World, The Glass Menagerie, The Importance
of Being Earnest and Twelfth Night.

After a few years treading the boards, he got his Broadway break in
The Lovers with Joanne Woodward. This led on to film work and it was
hispart in Desire Under The Elms, in 1958 that brought him to the
attention ofDavid Dortort. He was also in The Sheepman, starring Glenn
Ford, and Ride Lonesome, which starred Randolph Scott and in which he
acted Coburn who was a good friend of his.

Working on Bonanza would have been the dream of many a struggling actor,
but Pernell soon became disillusioned with the role, as he never felt that it
gave him the chance to use, fully, his acting skills.

After six seasons, he left, but it wasn’t as easy as he had hoped to find
juicier roles. He spent a lot of years taking guest starring parts in just
about every series that graced our TV sets, and also toured in various
musicals, including Camelot and the King and I.

In 1979 he was offered the lead in Trapper John MD, where he played the
part first seen on our screens in the show M*A*S*H, and he stayed with this
show for its entire run.

After Trapper ended, Pernell appeared in front of the camera, very rarely, but
did do some narration work.

Pernell was considered to be a humanitarian, and he was very active
in civil rights. In fact he was ahead of his time, as he energetically
campaigned against racism and sexism in the early 60s.

He was married a total of four times and divorced three times. His last
wife, Eleanor, survives him. Pernell only had one son, Chris, the product
of hisfirst marriage. Chris was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1989.

Pernell died at home, of pancreatic cancer, on Sunday, January 24th 2010.
His wife was by his side.


Lynne Coulson


 A man to admire,
 Gentleman to me, unknown,
 Always in our hearts.



On January 24th a man we all admired died after a long fight against cancer. 
We would expect no less than that he would fight.  He fought for civil
rights, for the under privileged, and for the world to be a better place. 
I will remember him for these things as much if not more than for his acting
ability and will try to live up to his standards.  I loved him as Adam Cartwright
andfor me because of that he has never grown old and will never leave me. 
I send my thoughts and support to those who knew him as friends and to his family. 


The man in black took up the slack, whenever his brothers messed up.
He tried to be firm, but always gave in, whenever Joe looked like a little
whipped pup.
For many years, through laughter and tears, the four Cartwrights brought us
And it was a very sad day, when Adam rode away, and Pa lost his oldest

And now we, too, have lost Pernell, the last one of the clan.
We admired him for his principles, and his fight for his fellow man.
It may not have made him popular, but that didnt matter, we knew,
As, just like a Cartwright, he would always stand up, and fight for the rights
of the few.

Rest in Peace, Pernell
Little Joe forever


Where did he go? Where did he stray?
What prompted Adam to go away?

To the land down under or across the sea
The speculation is ludicrous, its sheer lunacy

I hear you all question - Where and why
Heres the answer - the simple reply

No where did I where did I roam
NEVER, EVER did I leave my home

There I am standing off to the side
Beaming with honor, radiating family pride

My Pa, my brothers, always on the go
As together we gallop across the meadow

But for a crystalline view
Heres what you must do

Look up to the sky - look way up high
Those four stars twinkling - those sparks in your eye

Pa, Hoss, Little Joe and Me
The Cartwrights together for eternity


I had a gut feeling even before I opened the e-mail about Pernell that it was
not good news. I wish Id been wrong.

If its any comfort to us, Im reminded at times like this, of what the rabbi
who officiated at my dads burial over 10 years ago said. It was to the effect
that sometimes God takes the best to feast at His table.

Im sure Pernell is feasting and in the company not only of God, but of his
Bonanza co-stars, Dan, Lorne and Michael.



This is such sad news. He was such a talented man, but more than that he
was a
man of great integrity. He will be sorely missed.



The Cartwrights are all together at the Ponderosa smiling down on us
reminding us that the legend of their Legacy and the power of their
lives on...through us.

I miss them all...I love them all.

I am glad they are now together, in peace.



Thank you for all you gave us, for all the people you were and for being
You will stay in the memory of many people for a long time to come.
Rest in peace


May the loving arms of Jesus enfold you forever my dear Pernell.
Thank you for the wonderful treasury of memories you have left behind.
Rest in Peace and God Bless you.

I was also very sorry to be told of Pernells passing.
Like many of you, I knew that he was ill.
His pain and suffering is now over, and he is at peace.

I know how very sad all his fans are today, as I well remember
the sadness I felt, when Lorne passed away.

The Cartwrights rode onto our screens, and into our hearts,
all those years ago, and they will all live on in our
hearts, forever.
  RIP, Pernell.
Thinking of his many fans,today.

Pat H
I find this hard to write having just read the sad news of the death of
Pernell Roberts, I will always remember him with so much love and
affectionand through him I have met so many wonderful people
throughout the world through theinternet, may I take this moment to
pass on my sincere condolences to all that loved him.
May he rest in peace.

Another legend gone


How very sad I was to hear Pernell had passed away. 
It is thanks to Lorne, Pernell, Dan and Michael, I now have so many wonderful friends.
My thoughts go to Pernells family, friends and his fans all over the world.
There  is a word, of grief the sounding token.
There is a word bejewelled with bright tears.
The saddest word fond lips have ever spoken, a little word that breaks
the chain of years.Its utterance must ever bring emotion, the memories it
crystals cannot die.This known in every land, on every ocean,


For some reason I have found it really difficult to post since Pernell died.
Although I have been expecting this to happen sooner or later, it still seemed
unreal somehow. Like all I am so saddened by his death, but his pain and
struggle is over and so I have to be glad about that, it was his time. He is at
peace - God Bless him.

I wont miss him in the way one does when a loved one dies, its not the same,
because I never met him and didnt know him. All I know of him is what others
have said, and by all accounts he was a kind and thoughtful man with deep
convictions. But he has been a part of my life for 50 years and it is so sad to
think that he isnt amongst us any more.

Once the pain subsides, we have some wonderful dvds and videos to watch
and we can all continue to enjoy his performances.


Goodbye Adam we loved you so
But when you were called  home you had to go
Now you have shaken off your mortal coil
And left behind all your pain and toil
When you meet up again to complete the family tree
All the Cartwright men together youll see
Ben will welcome you with open arms
Hoss and Little Joe will begile you with their charms
Yor Pa and brothers will lead you home
To the great Ponderosa you love to roam
Love Aycee


Today I went about my normal business but with a heavy heart and ther
 one or
two who noticed that all was not right but I didnt explain other than I had bad
bad news last night, I doubt they would have understood and they didnt ask for
further explanation but I know that I didnt function properly nor could I look
at a photo on my desk, predominately of my beloved dog Tim who has long since
gone to doggy heaven but also were three smaller pictures, all discreet but none
the less very precious to me as they are of Pernell Roberts but I couldnt bring
myself to look at them as I know I couldnt then explain my tears.
At lunchtime I went over to our shopping centre and amongst other things I
bought I found a wallet size card which I feel says it all and if you would just
bear with me while I try to type the words, I say try because as I said earlier
Im not functioning properly, anyway, here goes:

God looked around His garden
and found an empty space.
He looked down upon the Earth
and saw a tired face.

He put his arms around them
and lifted them to rest.
Gods garden must be beautiful
for he only takes the best.

He knew that they were suffering
He knew they were in pain.
He knew thyed never ever
get well on Earth again.

He saw the road was getting rough
and the hills were hard to climb.
so He closed their weary eyelids
and whispered,Peace be thine.

I hope this helps, I know they are not my words, I make no apology for that as I
am unable to put into words what I truly feel.


Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Pray, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken
without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the
All is well.

Henry Scott Holland
Canon of St. Pauls Cathedral

Little Joe forever


Thanks for the memories.

Of an actor without peer,
A humanist without fear.
So many, many held him dear.

Thanks for the memories

 Of fantasies of bliss,
In which we met and kissed.

 Gone to another time and place,
Welcomed by a warm embrace,
Freed from the troubles of today
Let the harsh world go away.

 Thanks for the memories.

 He’s the one I always wanted,
Though circumstance my choice daunted.

 To the man who filled my mind,
May the Gods be ever kind.

 Oh, thank you so much.

 (Sent in by Gwynne)


Cry not for me, I hurt no more
The pain has gone away
I walk and run and ride again
I see my son each day.
Remember me, those who lives and hearts I did touch
You stood by me, believed in me
For that I thank you very much,
But life goes on and I am gone
My life on earth is over.
Remember me with laughter and a smile
And, yes, maybe a tear once in a while,
But remember, I will always be a part of you
In your mind and in your heart
So, cry not for me, we will never be apart.



Dear Pernell,

Ive asked a passing angel to carry this to you. 

I knew what a special person you were before I read the articles and tributes
this past week.  How much youre loved and already missed. I hope that now
youre free from pain and reunited with family and friends.

Thank you for being you.