- "Will Cartwright" was a character in Bonanza
- Guy Williams played the character
- Find out what happened to "Will" here
To this day, "Will Cartwright" remains a difficult memory for many Bonanza fans. The short-lived "Cartwright" appeared in just five episodes in season 5, with fans at once viewing him as an enemy and potential fan-favourite. Here's what went down with "Will Cartwright."
Bonanza: What happened to "Will Cartwright"?
Bonanza enlisted well-liked actor Guy Williams to play the part of "Will Cartwright," the nephew of "Ben" (Lorne Green) in season 5. But he was actually brought in to fill the void left by the looming exit of "Adam Cartwright," as star Pernell Roberts planned to quit the show come season 6.
It was a big role for Williams, as 1964 was also the first year Bonanza was crowned TV's #1 show. But the "Cartwright" who was to replace "Adam" had a rocky start. Fans were displeased with his shady behaviour — "Will" was introduced as a thief whose first appearance came after he was wounded in a gunfight. "Adam" was also a fan-favourite, which added resentment to the introduction of his replacement.
But after his first episode, "Will" heroically turned it around and was quickly embraced, almost as the show's new fourth "Cartwright" in the blink of an eye. However, this all came to an end just as soon as it started, as off-screen, Roberts ended up staying with his contract for its final year and another season. Instead, "Will" was written out of the show.
Bonanza: Cut "Will Cartwright" actor Guy Williams in season 5
For the return of "Adam" in season 6, Bonanza wrote "Will" out — and it got personal. "Will" stole "Adam's" girlfriend "Laura" (Kathie Brown) and the pair fled in episode "Triangle." It was his final appearance on Bonanza. Roberts still exited the show after season 6, but Williams never returned.
Williams, known earlier for starring on ABC's Zorro, moved on to the hit sci-fi series Lost in Space the next year, before retiring in 1968. He moved to Argentina, where he was adored by fans of Zorro.
Williams later died in Argentina in 1989 at the age of 65. He's remembered today for work on beloved TV series Zorro and Lost in Space, and holds this unique place in Bonanza history.