‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor Uncanny Audition Conversation with Michael Landon Preceded Character’s Fate

by Will Shepard

During the audition period for Little House on the Prairie, Michael Landon played a huge part. He surveyed many of the auditions when the show was picking its cast. One example, in particular, is when he sat down with Melissa Sue Anderson.

So, when it came time to pick who would play a key member of the Ingalls family, Landon was right there to help choose. Mary Ingalls was an important character on the show, so it was vital that the actress would be up to the task. Anderson had her interview, and she did well. But there was a moment after the interview that stuck in Landon’s mind.

In an interview years after the show, Anderson explained what happened. In an ironic, roundabout way, she predicted that the character she wound up playing would go blind.

The Greenbush Twins Played Carrie Ingalls Together on “Little House on the Prairie”

Melissa Sue Anderson explained what happened after the interview concluded.

“What I knew about Mike Landon at the time I met him was that he had been on Bonanza. I think I was his last appointment of the day. So, we ended up walking out with him.”

“I said, just to make conversation, that I’ve watched some of your episodes. And he said, ‘Oh, really? Which ones?'” Anderson continued, “And I said, ‘Well I just saw the one where you went blind, and then you got your sight back.'”

“It was so telling because years later, I was the one who went blind,” the Little House on the Prairie star said with a smile. “Unfortunately, I never got my sight back.”

Alison Arngrim Made Michael Landon Cry of Laughter During Her Interview for the Show

Alison Arngrim played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie. Anyone who watched the show never liked her. Which, for her, meant that she played her part well. Her character was the antagonist of the show and never got along with the Ingalls children.

Just as Anderson stood out to Landon, so did Arngrim. She explained in this same interview that her audition went as well as it possibly could have.

She did so well that Landon fell into a laughing fit. During the video clip, she explained that when she read the script, she realized the character she was going to play was devious. So, she explained to her father the predicament she was in.

“I turned to my father and I said, ‘Um, this is not normal.’ He said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘This girl is a total b****.’”

Arngrim said that her father didn’t fully understand what she meant. So, she read him some of the script that she was going to audition for Little House on the Prairie with.

“He starts cracking up,” Arngrim explained. “He said, ‘Don’t change a thing. Do not touch it. Do not even read it again. You go [into the audition] and you read it like that.”

So, Arngrim followed her father’s advice. “I read it and they were laughing hysterically,” she remembered.

Just to make sure that it wasn’t a fluke, Landon and the Little House on the Prairie producers made her read it again. So she did.

“And, they said, ‘Could you do that again, please?’ And, I said, ‘Oh, yes. What would you like me to change? ‘And, they said, ‘(Laughing) Nothing. Just read the thing about the house again,’” Argrim said.