‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Pens Emotional ‘Circle of Life’ Announcement About Dog’s Passing Hours After Granddaughter’s Birth

by Joe Rutland

Life’s twists and turns hit “Little House on the Prairie” star Melissa Gilbert quite hard on Wednesday, June 9, as she shared with the world.

Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls on the NBC family drama, welcomed granddaughter Ripley into her family. Yet just two hours later, her beloved dog Josephine suddenly died.

The emotions were running high for Gilbert, who shared her thoughts along with photos of her dog with herself and family members on Instagram.

She currently lives in New York City with her third husband, actor Timothy Busfield of “Thirtysomething” fame. It’s obvious from Gilbert’s lengthy written note how much Josephine meant to her.

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Forges Own Life Beyond Best-Known Role

But Gilbert, in the years after “Little House on the Prairie,” has stayed busy in different areas of her life. Obviously, being an actor is still a part of it. She has done voice work for animated shows. Gilbert served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, a powerful position in the world of entertainment.

In fact, Gilbert happened to win the Democratic Party primary in 2016 for Michigan’s 8th Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. She, though, pulled out of the race due to injuries she suffered in 2012 while as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

The 57-year-old actress played Laura on “Little House on the Prairie” for nine seasons. That role made her a star, one which would learn a lot about acting and show business from star Michael Landon.

Addiction Issues Are One Thing Gilbert Speaks Of From Personal Experience

She’s also been quite open about her addiction issues with alcoholism and drug abuse. Gilbert talked about prescription drug abuse in an “Entertainment Tonight” interview back in 2012.

“[Prescription drugs] are actually even easier to abuse because they’re easier to get a hold of,” Gilbert said. “If you’re a parent, or you have a prescription at home, you can sneak in and take it. As opposed to having to find a dealer and going out and buying the drugs. There’s a lot less effort involved, I think, for kids.”

Gilbert’s sister, Sara Gilbert, is well-known to many people watching television in the past couple of decades. Sara Gilbert played Darlene Conner in the ABC sitcom “Roseanne.” She’s also the creative force behind CBS’s talk show “The Talk.” Today, Sara has rejoined her “Roseanne” costars minus Roseanne Barr as part of “The Conners” on ABC.

One classic TV connection both Melissa and Sara Gilbert have is with their grandfather. Harry Crane helped create the concept behind Ralph Kramden, comedian Jackie Gleason’s most famous character, for “The Honeymooners.” That show, along with “I Love Lucy,” has been a classic TV staple for decades.

“Little House on the Prairie” remains a fan favorite and Melissa Gilbert’s work is beloved around the world.