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Mitch Vogel (born January 17, 1956) is a United States former child actor who left show business at the age of 20. He is best known for his 1970-73 Bonanza role, where he played the teen orphan Jamie Hunter Cartwright. The character was taken-in by the Cartwrights, and eventually became patriarch Ben's fourth son.
Early life and careerEdit
Born in Alhambra, California, Vogel was a lanky, freckle-faced, blue-eyed and red-haired unassuming youth. He attended Heinz Kaiser Junior High School in Costa Mesa, California, in 1969-1970 but could only occasionally attend class because of his acting schedule. Also later attended Jordan Jr. High school in Burbank, California.
Vogel's acting career commenced at age 12 in the 1968 film comedy Yours, Mine and Ours, as one of Lucille Ball's and Henry Fonda's brood. The next year he reached the pinnacle of his film career with a major role in The Reivers. He played the role of Lucius in the film adaptation of the William Faulkner coming-of-age novel. The film won Golden Globe nominations for Vogel and for star Steve McQueen.
With established success, Vogel became a popular guest actor on TV by briefly appearing in Bonanza and The Virginian in 1968. In 1970 he secured a recurring role on Bonanza. Vogel completed a two-year stint on the show as Jamie Hunter, an orphan taken in and adopted by the Cartwrights. His casting brought a new dimension of youth to the cast, as Michael Landon, at age 34, was a bit too old to be receiving fatherly guidance from patriarch Ben. When the series ended in 1972, Vogel had developed a friendship with Landon and went on to appear in Landon's Little House on the Prairie series years later.
Disney also took an interest in Vogel, with his "Tom Sawyer"-like homespun appeal. He appeared in lead roles in 1970s Menace on the Mountain (TV) and The Boy from Dead Man's Bayou(TV) in 1971.
He continued to be seen in outdoors series such as episodes of Here Come the Brides and Gunsmoke. In the Gunsmoke episode entitled "McCabe," which aired on November 30, 1970, Vogel played Dobie McCabe, the teenage son of the outlaw called only McCabe, portrayed by Dan Kemp. Dobie discloses his father's location to a local sheriff named Shackwood, played by Jim Davis. When McCabe is slated to be hanged, Dobie has second thoughts, though he is bitter over the recent death of his mother, whom McCabe had foolishly deserted ten years earlier. Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness, meanwhile, gets a telegram from the governor to override the death sentence from a local judge and takes McCabe back to Dodge City, Kansas where McCabe faces less severe charges that will land him in prison. Dobie follows Dillon and McCabe to Dodge City and vows to wait for his father until eventual release from prison in hopes the two can start a new life together. David Canary said in September 1972 of Mitch Vogel," I returned to the series after an awkward absence. I know the storyline now em
braced this young, adoptive Cartwright. So few teens in this field can prove their salt. Watching him, over what, the first ten weeks, I knew the teen's (Mitch) skills could not be questioned- he's kind of this 27 year old actor residing in an a much (more) innocent shell".
By the time he reached adulthood, Vogel led a life away from the limelight. Today he still lives in the Southern California area. He was married in 1985, and the couple have two daughters.
He has spent time directing and appearing in church plays, as well as singing in a band.
Vogel returned to Bonanza's locations for the Travel Channel's TV Road Trip in 2002, in which he narrated a look at the Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village, near Lake Tahoe, Nevada. In 2004 he was featured in an interview in Bonanza Gold magazine. He participated in both the 2005 Bonanza Convention and the 2010 Bonanza Weekend in Liverpool, England.