‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor Said Michael Landon Was ‘Wonderful,’ But ‘Didn’t Pay Very Well’

by Jennifer Shea

On “Little House on the Prairie,” actress Bonnie Bartlett played Grace Snider Edwards. Her character’s family was good friends with the Ingalls clan.  

Bartlett grew up in Moline, Illinois. She was the daughter of a Shakespearean actor, who gave it up so her mother could settle in the Midwest, and a homemaker. As a child, Bartlett decided to become an actor, following in her father’s footsteps.

After she got married, she moved to New York to study acting under Lee Strasberg. She was a stay-at-home mother for most of the 1970s, when she only acted occasionally in small roles, per IMDb.

Bartlett didn’t appear on “Little House on the Prairie” until she was in her 40s. But in a 2017 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Bartlett talked openly about what it was like working with “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon.

“[He was] very pleasant, very nice,” Bartlett said. “Very nice. He was always wonderful to me. He didn’t pay very well, but he was wonderful.”

“And, you know, you were part of his team,” she added. “It was good.”

Landon was “perfectly wonderful” as a director, Bartlett said. He always laughed at her jokes. And she like the way he shot her scenes on “Little House on the Prairie.” They looked “beautiful,” she said.

Watch Bartlett discuss Landon here:

Bartlett Said She Enjoyed Working on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

In an interview with Prairie Fans, Bartlett said Landon’s sense of humor shone through on the set, including when she accidentally poured coffee outside the cup.

“I adored working on ‘Little House,’” Bartlett said. “Michael Landon was a wonderful boss and the whole cast was terrific. I particularly enjoyed my scenes with Melissa Gilbert who was 10 or 11 at the time. Unfortunately, we are political enemies as far Screen Actors Guild is concerned. I used to mess up with the props sometimes, being so involved in my ‘acting’ that I’d pour coffee onto the ground instead of the cup. Michael loved mistakes like this and would laugh and tease me in front of everybody.”

When she was working on “Little House on the Prairie,” Bartlett would often have to leave the house at 4:30 a.m. and get home before dark. She later said that “Little House on the Prairie” was her first “big experience” in Hollywood and she was saddened when her character got written out of the show.

Low pay or no, Bartlett gained some valuable acting experience from her time on the show. And fortunately for her, the other actors on “Little House on the Prairie” were just a pleasure to work with.