Lorne Greene

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Lorne Greene
Lorne Greene
Portrays: Commander Adama from Battlestar Galactica,
Commander Adama from Galactica 1980
Date of Birth: February 12, 1915
Date of Death: September 11, 1987
Age at Death: 72
Nationality: CAN CAN

Lorne Chain Greene (February 12 1915—September 11 1987) was a Canadian actor best known for playing signature roles on the television shows Bonanza and the original Battlestar Galactica.

Early Life

Lorne Greene was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada to immigrant parents. He was the second child born to Daniel and Dora Greene, though sadly his older brother died in infancy. He went to high school at Lisgar Collegiate Institute and while there was cast in the play Les Deux Sourds as one of the deaf characters that shouts throughout the play.

He attended Queen’s College in Kingston Ontario as a chemical engineering major, though his growing love for acting caused him to eventually change his major to free his time for drama projects. The college had no drama department, only a drama guild which Greene was highly active in. He graduated in 1937 and moved to New York City to continue honing his craft.

"The Voice of Canada"

After a short stint in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Greene returned to Canada and, due to a lack of acting jobs, found a job as a radio announcer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), due to his deep, booming voice. He was notably the only Canadian to ever win NBC’s top radio broadcasting award. During World War II, he was given two nicknames: "The Voice of Canada" due to his popularity and recognizable voice, and also "The Voice of Doom", because of his voice and the bad news from the front that he delivered through the radio.

Television fame and Bonanza

Greene moved back to New York in 1953 to continue his acting career, and landed several roles on Broadway before breaking into films with 1954’s The Silver Chalice.

He appeared in movies and television shows throughout the 1950s. An appearance on the television show Wagon Train caught the attention of the producer of a show called Bonanza. His performance in Wagon Train and his subsequent performance as Big Brother in a CBS production of Nineteen Eighty-Four resulted in his being offered the part of Ben Cartwright, a part which became his most recognizable role. The show ran from 1959-1973.

Beyond Bonanza

After Bonanza, Greene appeared in several television programs, most notably as Commander Adama in the original Battlestar Galactica and its short-lived spinoff series, Galactica 1980. Greene became popular for his Alpo dog food commercials. Always an animal lover, he was vice chairman of the American Wild Horse Association and honorary chairman of the Wildlife Federation. He wrote a book titled The Lorne Greene Book of Remarkable Animals and was the host of a television show titled Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness.

He also was the host of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1963-1972. Additionally he helped create and promote Propaganda, a game that teaches players how to analyze the soundness of statements made by politicians and pitchmen of every stripe.

In 1985 Greene was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Not long after taking part in a press conference to announce production of a TV pilot of Bonanza: The Next Generation, in which he was to have appeared, Greene died in 1987 after a bout of pneumonia and was buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California. He was survived by his wife, Nancy Deale, and three children: Gillian, and twins Belinda and Charles.

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