HomeAmerican Entertainment‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Michael Landon Was Inspired for Final Show After Daughter Nearly Died

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Michael Landon Was Inspired for Final Show After Daughter Nearly Died

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Little House on the Prairie star Michael Landon both starred in and directed numerous television shows throughout the years. Interestingly enough, it turns out an accident involving his daughter is what inspired him to create his final show.

A PEOPLE article about Landon discussed both his personal and professional life. Talking about the shows he created, the late actor disclosed Highway to Heaven resulted from his daughter, Cheryl, nearly dying in a car wreck. 10 years later, while stuck in heavy traffic, he thought about doing a show where people simply went through life being nice to one another.

“She (Cheryl) was coming home from a fraternity-sorority gathering with four friends in a little Volkswagon, and they were struck by a Ford going in excess of 80 miles an hour,” Landon stated. “It killed everyone but her, and it broke everything in her—all her ribs, her neck, you name it.” Landon then turned to God and tried to strike a deal. If Cheryl lived, Landon would “do my best to make a product to help people.”

Cheryl did end up surviving, and 10 years later, that’s when Landon realized what he had to do. “I was driving over to pick up my kids and ran into bumper-to-bumper traffic. Everyone was honking their horns and cursing…and I thought it would be good to do a show where people could see how much better and healthier it is to go through life being nice.”

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor Karen Grassle Discusses her Deteriorating Relationship with Michael Landon

Karen Grassle played Caroline Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. At a glance, one would think their onscreen chemistry applied behind the scenes as well. Unfortunately, according to Grassle, that was far from the case and things only got worse.

Though things started out well in the first season, Grassle spoke to PEOPLE earlier this month about the tension between her and Landon. After trying to obtain a pay raise for season two of Little House on the Prairie, Landon attempted to dissuade her. She states he used scare tactics, saying her character wasn’t popular and concerning acting, “it’s a jungle out there.”

Additionally, he began treating her differently on the set. “I love playing those scenes where we would talk over whatever the town crisis was and kind of flirt with each other, they were really sweet scenes, but he began to tell filthy jokes while we were sitting there in that bed, and I had nowhere to go,” she explained. “I was trapped in that little bed in that little room, with me standing all around and there was light just on us. It was so humiliating.”

Luckily, before Landon died from pancreatic cancer, the two made amends, Grassle said.