Bonanza Star Pernell Roberts Dead at 81
Cancer claims life of last surviving cast member
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2010 5:35 AM CST

(Newser) – The last surviving member of Bonanza's original cast has died of cancer at age 81. Pernell Roberts, who played the eldest Cartwright brother, left the show at the height of its popularity in 1965 to return to the stage after feuding with producers. He went on to star in M*A*SH spinoff Trapper John MD for seven seasons starting in 1979.

The Georgia-born Korean war vet was a vocal supporter of the civil rights movement and marched with Martin Luther King in Selma, Alabama, the New York Daily News reports. Roberts, whose only child died in a motorcycle accident in 1989, is survived by his fourth wife, Eleanor Criswell.