Little House on the Prairie actress Alison Arngrim doesn’t mind that she played the villain. The “nasty” Nellie actress is actually grateful that she didn’t have the “burden” of playing the nice one. Playing the “nice” one often comes with expectations for the actors off-screen.
While Arngrim initially auditioned for the role of Laura Ingalls, she excelled in her role as Nellie. With her hilarious antics, Arngrim was one of the cornerstones of the show. Arngrim is responsible for some of the show’s funniest scenes, including the moment where Laura pushes Nellie down a hill in a wheelchair.
Arngrim has been quite vocal about her time on the show, talking about the good and the bad that came with working on set and portraying one of the most well-known antagonists on television. In fact, she’s even done a one-woman show and a comedy routine about it.
Arngrim Loves How Landon Cast the Show
In an interview with From the Desk, she explained why she felt everyone got cast correctly.
“I am so glad I didn’t have the burden of having to play a ‘nice’ person for all those years. I think it would have been exhausting! And if you look at the reaction of viewers 40 plus years later, you can see how each of us made our character ‘iconic’ and forever identified with our individual performances,” she said. “In millions of people’s heads, ‘Laura Ingalls Wilder’ will always conjure up the face of Melissa Gilbert.”
Arngrim has elaborated on this sentiment in other interviews. For her, playing Nellie on Little House on the Prairie gave her more freedom to act how she wanted off-camera once the show ended. She learned to love that people considered her the person who played “the mean one.”
And just because Gilbert and Arngrim played enemies on the show, they were actually close friends in real life. The two even vacationed together as the series went on.
The ‘Little House on The Prairie’ Actress Grew up thinking Everyone was on TV
Like many child stars, Arngrim grew up with a family in showbusiness. As a kid, she thought that was normal. In fact, she thought everyone was on TV.
“My whole family was in the business. My mother and father were both actors out of Canada, had been in New York. I had a brother who was also working in television. My aunt was a concert soprano. My uncle was a classical violinist,” she told Tom Gregory. “I thought everyone was in show business. Until I was seven years old, I actually thought everyone was on television”
It wasn’t too long after that that Michael Landon cast the now-comedian as Nellie. She got some help preparing for the audition from her family. Apparently, she made producer Michael Landon laugh to the point of tears.