Before “The Waltons” began its nine-season run on television, there was the television movie, “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.” The success of this film led to the creation of the series. Years after this television film, one of its stars appeared in two episodes of “Little House on the Prairie.”
However, a few different actors were cast in the series instead of those who appeared in the television movie. One of these changes was with who played the character of Olivia Walton.
In “The Waltons” series, it was Michael Learned who brought the famous mother to life. In “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story,” it was Patricia Neal who played Olivia. Obviously, it was Learned who replaced Neal as the character when the series began in 1972.
Patricia Neal Had a Two-Part Storyline in ‘Little House on the Prairie’
Patricia Neal was cast in the role of Julia Sanderson in a two-part storyline during the show’s second season. Her first episode was titled “Remember Me: Part I” and it aired on Nov. 5, 1975. Neal’s character plays a lead role in the drama of this episode. Sanderson is described as a widow with a “strong faith.”
Unfortunately, Neal’s character was diagnosed with cancer and will soon pass away. So, she reaches out to her neighbor, Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon), to help her three children find a home and stay together after her death. Of course, Charles agrees to help her.
Also, the second part of Patricia Neal’s storyline in “Little House on the Prairie,” originally aired on Nov. 12, 1975. It was titled, “Remember Me: Part II.”
This episode follows Charles Ingalls as he tries to keep his promise to Julia Sanderson. Unfortunately, finding a home for her three children proves to be difficult as no family in Walnut Grove will agree to take them in. He is worried that the three siblings might have to be separated. But, as things tend to do on “Little House on the Prairie,” they worked out for the children thanks to Isaiah Edwards (Victor French).
Patricia Neal Had Success Before She Appeared in Walnut Grove
Before she appeared in “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” and “Little House on the Prairie,” Patricia Neal had a successful acting career that spanned decades. She even won an Oscar in 1964. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for the film, “Hud.”
Neal is also known for her work in the films “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” and “In Harm’s Way.”
In addition to her film and television work, Neal also appeared on the Broadway stage, where she also had success. In 1947, she won a Tony Award for her work in the play, “Another Part of the Forest.”
Patricia Neal was also married to famous children’s author Roald Dahl. She died in August 2010 at the age of 84.