Pernell Roberts, who portrayed the oldest son of wealthy rancher Ben Cartwright on the television series Bonanza and later starred in the medical show Trapper John, M.D., has died. He was 81 years old.
Roberts passed away in his Malibu home on Sunday after a battle with pancreatic cancer, according to his spokesman, Richard Stone.
Bonanza hit the airwaves in 1959. Roberts won fans over immediately in his role as Adam Cartwright, but he departed the series in 1965, against the advice of his peers.
Bonanza‘s run ended in 1973 as one of the longest-running westerns in television, second only to Gunsmoke.
After appearing in stage musicals and doing some guest spots on TV, Roberts returned to regular episodic television in 1979 with Trapper John, M.D., where he remained for seven years.
Roberts was married four times and his only son, Chris Roberts, died in 1989. He is survived by his wife Eleanor Criswell.
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