‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Karen Grassle Talks Show’s International Appeal

by Anna Dunn

In a recent interview, Little House on the Prairie star Karen Grassle discussed why the show has such a big international appeal. In the interview with Real Life with John Cowan, Grassle talked about all things Little House on the Prairie and discussed her upcoming book.

When asked how she felt when she learned that Little House on the Prairie got popular overseas, the “Ma” Ingalls actress discussed the excitement of that success. The role was Grassle’s first major TV role. She had been looking for a big break for a long time.

“We were made aware of that,” she said of the show’s appeal abroad. “I think there was a Hollywood squares in Australia that invited us to come down and be on the show.”

Unfortunately, they never had time to do that game show.

“We were very amazed that we were in Iran,” she said. In fact, there were plenty of people in Iran who really liked the show.

Karen Grassle’s life was Changed by ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Of course, a show like Little House on the Prairie would change just about any actor’s life. But when Karen Grassle landed the role of “Ma” Ingalls, she was really struggling. The newfound success breathed life into her acting career that she was worried she’d never get to see.

Following her work on Little House on the Prairie, Grassle had roles in Harry’s War and Wyatt Earp along with other films and shows.

She was also deeply passionate about multiple causes. This included federal funding for domestic violence victims and the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment.

She eventually opted to stay out of the spotlight in order to raise her family. But now, Grassle is back and has an acting career again. Her new book  Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House’s Ma, talks about the more difficult parts of her career including getting sober and her difficult time on set with Michael Landon.

Karen Grassle’s stories from her time on the set of Little House on the Prairie definitely don’t always match the wholesome and loving content of the show. This is especially true in the later years following a dispute Grassle had with Michael Landon over pay.

But Still, Grassle’s expressed a lot of love for the show and has plenty of fond memories as well. The actress got close to a lot of the children on set. She formed a particularly tight bond with Melissa Gilbert. Gilbert played the iconic Laura Ingalls.

Learning about how an actor views the show is fascinating. And it looks like Karen Grassle is just getting started when it comes to sharing more about Little House on the Prairie and her time playing Ma.