Michael Landon's Smart Advice For Shannen Doherty (And Why It Caused So Many Problems)

Shannen Doherty was just 10 years old when she not only caught the acting bug but started working professionally. Per The Washington Post, among her first roles was an appearance on "Father Murphy," the short-lived Western series created by Michael Landon of "Little House on the Prairie" fame. Doherty described her stint on "Father Murphy" as one of the best memories of her career on Instagram and credits that role for her being cast on "Little House: A New Beginning," a sequel series that saw Landon in the director's chair for several episodes.

Besides being one of her first directors, Landon played a mentor role for Doherty at the beginning of her career. On her podcast "Let's Be Clear with Shannen Doherty," she named Landon as among the first people after her parents to encourage her to be assertive. "Listen, they'll walk all over you in this business, being a woman," he told her. "Don't let them. Stand up for yourself." It was advice Doherty would take to heart, though it didn't always translate into smooth sailing for her life and career.

Shannen Doherty's assertiveness caused trouble in her career

On her podcast, Shannen Doherty said that she took Michael Landon's advice to watch out and stand up for herself as a woman in show business to heart. She considered the attitude of women like herself, who came up in television during the 1990s, as helping to create a better environment for actresses in the future. "Being someone who didn't necessarily play by the rules, I didn't placate the men in my business, and I certainly didn't placate my bosses," she said. "I fought them." She linked her combative stance with showrunners like Aaron Spelling to the words of her strongest influences, Landon among them.

But Doherty was also forthright about her assertive attitude coming out in other ways too — ways that were more detrimental to her life and career. "It caused a lot of issues back then," she said, "some issues I caused for myself." Late-night parties and tense conflicts with not only her bosses but also her co-stars led to Doherty gaining a reputation as one of 90s TV's "bad girls," according to People. As she revealed on another episode of her podcast, tensions with Alyssa Milano led to Doherty being fired from "Charmed."

Doherty has maintained that her reputation for trouble was blown out of proportion. She told People that her conflicts paled in comparison to the notorious celebrity women of the 2000s and 2010s. But she also said on her podcast that when she reached 40, "I learned the simple art of diplomacy."

Michael Landon mentored other young actors

Shannen Doherty wasn't the only young performer Michael Landon helped to mentor. Melissa Gilbert, who played his daughter in "Little House on the Prairie," has shared similarly warm memories of him. In an essay written for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network on the 31st anniversary of Landon's death, Gilbert called him "my mentor, my acting partner, my favorite director, father figure, friend and boss." She also said Landon was among the most influential people in her life.

Doherty didn't go quite as far as to call Landon a father figure. In the same podcast episode where she discussed Landon's influence, she led with warm words about her own father, who she said was the first to encourage her to stand up for herself. But she did connect Landon's advice with her upbringing, and on Instagram, she said that it was a "privilege" to be directed by Landon for episodes of "Little House: A New Beginning."