Pernell Roberts Dies

Actor Pernell Roberts, who played the eldest Cartwright brother in TV's "Bonanza," died at his Malibu, California, home Sunday at 81, his lawyer said.

Younger TV viewers may remember Roberts from the lead role in "Trapper John, M.D.," a medical drama that aired on CBS for seven years, ending in 1986.

Roberts, a native of Waycross, Georgia, spent much of his adult life "pursuing his dream of equality for all," according to a family statement released by his lawyer, Richard Stone.

Actor Pernell Roberts, known for portraying Adam Cartwright, the oldest son on "Bonanza" (1959-1965), has died.

According to his attorney, he died at his Malibu, Calif., home Sunday at age 81.

He also played chief surgeon, Dr. John MacIntyre, the title character on "Trapper John, M.D." (1979-1986).

Roberts was also known for his activism, which included participation in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 and pressuring NBC to refrain from hiring whites to portray minority characters.

The last of the Cartwrights is gone.

Pernell Roberts Jr., 81, known best to 1960s and '70s television viewers as the eldest son of wealthy rancher Ben Cartwright in the hit western series "Bonanza," died from pancreatic cancer Sunday, his wife said Monday.

"Bonanza" first aired in 1959 with Roberts starring from the start as the quiet and serious Adam Cartwright.