Actor Michael Landon, best known for his portrayal of Charles Ingalls on television’s Little House on the Prairie was my parent’s closest friend and confidant for nearly three decades. Their friendship was full of highs and lows, marked by a great tragedy, and it’s a fabled story that has never been told. I’ve tried my darndest to bring their incredible relationship back to life in the pages of a colorful new memoir, The Bastard of Beverly Hills, available May 23rd from JIA Publishing. It’s a raw and unapologetic, coming-of-age book that intimately explores a range of sensitive topics from adoption to addiction, faith and cancel culture, and one that I hope readers will be able to both relate to and learn from.
A Man of Character
Initially, I was hesitant to include Michael as part of the story, but as I progressed with the writing, I realized that the life of my adopted family, the Moscatels, was too intertwined with Landon’s ever to separate the two. There were times while I was working on the manuscript when I believed or at least convinced myself that his spirit was helping shape the narrative in a manner that would be true to his character. Michael Landon had his faults of course, like all of us, but he positively affected many lives, this author’s included.
In The Bastard of Beverly Hills,I wanted to show an different side to Michael that only the Moscatels, his family, and perhaps a few others got to experience. He was an earth bound angel in many ways, and his talent was an extra gift to the world. Like many, I am saddened that his life was cut short at the age of 54 and can’t believe I’m only eight years younger than him today.
What’s remarkable about the photos in this post, in addition to the true stories in the book, is that they’ve never been widely shared. My parents only participated in one documentary about the actor, and somewhat reluctantly. That’s why there aren’t many pictures or information out there that document their lives together. Though my mother did work in Hollywood, and my father was full of charisma, they were not industry types. That’s partly what Michael Landon loved about Dr. Raymond Moscatel. To Dad, Michael was just his pal, and he really didn’t give a damn how famous his old friend was or ever became. In many ways, the Moscatels were the family that Michael never had growing up.
And there’s more to the story…
There’s a lot more to this incredible story, but you’ll have to read all about it in the book. Even folks who weren’t fans of the star will find the adventure of these two families fascinating, funny, and downright heartbreaking. I’m certain after writing it that the buddies are both in heaven yuckin’ it up as I write this. May they both rest in peace.
RAFAEL MOSCATEL is the author of the best-selling business book Tomorrow’s Jobs Today and director of The Little Girl with the Big Voice, a critically acclaimed documentary. His third book, The Bastard of Beverly Hills, a memoir about hope, forgiveness, and redemption, will be published in 2023.