‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon ‘Leaped’ in Excitement After One Star’s Audition, Here’s Why

by Quentin Blount
Photo by: Bruce Birmelin/NBCU Photo Bank

Little House on the Prairie star actor, Michael Landon, knew right away that Karen Grassle was the right person to play his wife, Caroline “Ma” Ingalls.

The classic western drama starred Landon, who played the character, Charles Ingalls. The series premiered on the NBC network on September 11, 1974.

Grassle, now 79-years-old, recently sat down with Closer Weekly for an interview. In doing so, she explains that she was going broke prior to getting the gig as Ingalls. Luckily for her, however, Landon was a huge fan of her interview. After reading a scene together, he even leaped in excitement.

“I was the only one at the interview,” Grassle explained to the outlet. “They’d seen everyone in Hollywood who was right for the part! They were down to the wire because they cast everyone else. After I read my second scene with Mike, he leaped up like a jack-in-the-box and said, ‘Bring her to wardrobe!’ But NBC had to approve me, so he interviewed for executives on closed-circuit TV.”

Landon and Little House on the Prairie executives liked Grassle so much that they chose her over 47 other actresses to play Landon’s wife on the show.

More Info on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Karen Grassle

It only made sense that Karen Grassle was able to land a starring role next to Michael Landon in Little House on the Prairie. After all, Grassle was even considered a “miracle baby” by her own family.

Karen Trust Grassle was born in Berkeley, California on February 25, 1942. And miraculously, Grassle was the first child born to her parents after four miscarriages. As you can tell, the nickname “miracle baby” fits quite nicely.

Meanwhile, the star actress just celebrated her 79th trip around the sun a couple of weeks ago. The official getTV Twitter account was one of many to wish her a happy birthday.

“Happy birthday, #KarenGrassle!” getTV wrote on Twitter. “Caroline Ingalls from LITTLE HOUSE is 79 today — and still acting!”

According to her website, the Little House on the Prairie star is still active to this day in the San Francisco Bay Area. Settling in the area has allowed her to “find fertile ground for her artistic life.” She also recently completed her memoir, “Bright Lights, Prairie Dust.”

Grassle also enjoys practicing mediation and pilates. And if her appearance is any indication, those practices seem to be doing great things for her. She also finds a source of joy out in her garden.

“When I’m out there with the plants, nothing else exists,” she says.

For more on Little House on the Prairie and other classic television shows, tune in here on Outsider.