Lanky, freckle faced, unassuming and a spitting image of how you would envision Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” character if he came alive, juvenile actor Mitch Vogel was one of Hollywood’s top performers during the late 1960s and early 1970s. His career fell away, however, by the following decade and has been little seen.
Born January 17, 1956 in the Los Angeles area, Mitch somehow must have made a youthful impression with his very first film at age 12 with the popular comedy Yours, Mine and Ours (1968) as one of Lucille Ball’s brood, for the very next year he reached the zenith of his film career with The Reivers (1969). He played the role of Lucius in the film adaptation of the William Faulkner coming-of-age novel. The film won both Mitch and star Steve McQueen Golden Globe nominations.
Following this success, Mitch became a popular face on TV and in 1970 joined the by-now classic western series Bonanza (1959), enjoying a two-year stint on the show playing the character of Jamie Hunter (later Cartwright), an orphan taken in by the Cartwright men and later adopted. In casting Mitch as Jamie, producers felt that the western needed a face lift as Michael Landon, at age 34, was a bit long in the tooth to be receiving fatherly guidance by patriarch Ben. The series ended in 1972. Mitch forged a friendship with Landon during that time and went on to appear in a few of Landon’s Little House on the Prairie (1974) episodes.
Disney also took an interest in the fair, wholesome-looking lad with the vital homespun appeal. Mitch appeared impressively for them in lead roles with Menace on the Mountain (1970) and The Boy from Dead Man’s Bayou (1971) [aka Bayou Boy]. He continued to be seen outdoors as well with episodes of Here Come the Brides (1968), Gunsmoke (1955) and others.
By the time he reached adulthood, Mitch forged a life away from the limelight. These days, he still lives in the Southern California area, is married with two daughters, and continues to spark his interests by directing and appearing in church plays and singing in a band.
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