‘Little House on the Prairie’: Alison Angrim Revealed Costar Who Was ‘Exactly Like’ Their Character

by Joe Rutland

A lot of “Little House on the Prairie” characters have eccentric ways. Yet one of them was just like who you saw on the show.

That’s what Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson on the NBC family drama, said when talking about actress Katherine MacGregor.

“They picked on Katherine MacGregor, Mrs. Oleson,” Arngrim said in a 2016 interview with Pop Goes The Culture TV. “Because, well, it was so much fun to do. She had that ‘Wow!’ ‘Ah!’ She talks like that.

“Katherine MacGregor is … exactly like Mrs. Oleson,” Arngrim said. “Very sweet woman, not mean like Mrs. Oleson. But that same insane personality that just exudes like ‘What!’ ‘That!’ ‘That!’ She talks like that.”

Watch the animated interview below, and head to about 17:00 in for this specific back-and-forth.

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Made Guest Appearances On Classic TV Shows

Sadly, MacGregor died on Nov. 13, 2018, at 93 years old.

At the time of this interview in 2016, Arngrim appears to point out that picking on MacGregor became a hip thing to do.

“Anytime she came back from hiatus, if the woman had gained an ounce,” Arngrim said, “suddenly there would be an episode where Mrs. Oleson has to be stuffed into a corset with the strings and stuff. It’s like how can we torture Katherine with a corset.”

MacGregor had guest-starring roles in some of classic TV’s famed shows like “All in the Family,” “Ironside” and “Mannix.” MacGregor played Mrs. Oleson in all nine seasons of “Little House on the Prairie” on NBC.

Arngrim’s Nellie Always Was Thorn In Side Of Gilbert’s Laura

Now Arngrim was definitely no angel in her role as Nellie. She would cause a ruckus wherever she went, especially when it came to Laura Ingalls [Melissa Gilbert]. Those two, when they got together, were like gas and fire. Things were going to explode.

One episode finds Laura and Nellie actually fighting in a creek with mud. It’s an iconic moment from “Little House on the Prairie” and one Arngrim still remembers to this day.

While filming the shot, Gilbert somehow managed to grab a handful of mud and put it right in Arngrim’s mouth. Gilbert has Arngrim in a headlock, so it makes putting mud in her mouth a bit easier. Yet, we’re talking about mud here. That was not something Arngrim expected to happen, but it did. Their mud-tussle happened to be over Almanzo, played by Dean Butler.

Arngrim and Gilbert both have published books about their time on the show, which starred the late Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls. Arngrim’s book is titled “Confessions of a Prairie B–ch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated.” Gilbert’s book is titled “Prairie Tale: A Memoir.” Both books give the stars room to talk about growing up on “Little House on the Prairie.”