‘Little House on the Prairie’: Alison Arngrim Had Michael Landon, Producers in Tears at Audition

by Keeli Parkey

Alison Arngrim famously played a character fans loved to hate on “Little House on the Prairie.” That character was Nellie Oleson, the nemesis of the Ingalls children, especially Laura.

Because she was cast in the role, it’s obvious that Arngrim gave a solid audition. However, according to the actress, her audition was better than good. She left a very humorous impression on the show’s star Michael Landon and others.

Arngrim talked about her audition for “Little House on the Prairie” during an interview for “Michael Landon and The Little House Phenomenon.” It is available in several videos on YouTube. Between her recollections, the video shows clips of the actress as a child on the show.

It was while looking at the script that Arngrim said she realized the type of character she was auditioning to play.

“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 her father did not really comprehend at first what she was talking about. So, she read to him from the script.

“He starts cracking up,” she added. “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.”

Well, the future “Little House on the Prairie” cast member chose to follow her father’s instructions. She went into the audition to find Michael Landon, and (producer) Kent McCray, and the other producers waiting for her.

“I read it and they were laughing hysterically,” Arngrim recalled.

Just to make certain Arngrim could deliver such a performance again, Landon and the show’s producers asked her to perform them again.

“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,'” she added.

Alison Arngrim Read Future Speech for ‘Little House on the Prairie’ During Her Audition to Play Nellie Oleson

What Landon and the show’s producers were having her audition with was a future speech Nellie Oleson would give during an episode of “Little House on the Prairie.”

“It was the ‘My Home’ speech from that episode ‘Country Girls,’ where we talk about how much everything costs,” Arngrim added.

The video then cuts to the scene of Alison Arngrim performing the speech in the episode.

“… if I told you how much (our furniture) costs, you would probably faint dead away,” young Arngrim said as Nellie Oleson. According to IMDb.com, “Country Girls” was the second episode of the first season of “Little House on the Prairie.”

The actress also said she learned she had been hired to play Nellie when she and her father arrived back at their home after her audition.

You can watch Alison Arngrim and other cast members talk about “Little House on the Prairie” in the video below. Arngim begins her discussion around the 3:45 mark of the video.