Considering her prominence on Little House on the Prairie and career afterward, Caroline Ingalls actor Karen Grassle’s net worth comes as a bit of a shock.
This is by no means, however, meant as a slant toward the incredible actress. Her net worth is something most will never achieve in their lifetimes, to be sure. It is, though, a smaller amount than what fans will expect when compared to other Little House on the Prairie stars, which we’ll get into below.
American actor Karen Grassle was born on February 25, 1942 in Berkley, California. While we know her best as “Ma” Caroline Ingalls, Grassle’s true passion has always been the theatre. She has an incredible history with classical theatre, even starring in a Shakespeare in the Park production alongside Christopher Walken.
Though more fulfilling for some actors, the theatre is far less lucrative than film and television. As such, Karen Grassle’s net worth currently stands at $500,000 according to Celebrity Net worth.
Compare this to two of her contemporaries. One, of course, would be television icon Michael Landon – her on-screen husband. Celebrity Net Worth estimates the late Landon’s net worth would be $40 million in today’s currency if adjusted for inflation. If he were still alive, however, it could be as high as $100 million.
This may be an unfair comparison solely based on the well-documented wage gaps in Hollywood between men and women. By comparison, though, Lucille Ball had a net worth of a remarkable $60 million at the time of her death. Both stars remained entrenched in the television industry until the time of their deaths.
‘Little House on the Prairie’ & Classic TV Stars Hold Interesting Net Worths
While a massive gap exists between the Ma & Pa Ingalls actors, when it comes to the actress behind their most recognizable offspring – Melissa Gilbert – the numbers are remarkably similar.
In fact, Celebrity Net Worth lists them as identical. Both Karen Grassle and Melissa Gilbert hold a net worth of approximately $500,000.
When looking at other television matriarchs, the comparisons become even more interesting. The Beverly Hillbillies icon and El Paso, Texas native Irene Ryan held a remarkable net worth at the time of her death in 1973.
As The Beverly Hillbillies‘ beloved Daisy Moses, better known as “Granny,” Ryan put her decades of vaudeville, radio, television, and film expertise to grand use. Such led to quite the fortune for the TV icon, too. Indeed, Irene Ryan’s net worth stood at $1 million at the time of her death, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
This doesn’t seem like such a gap from Little House on the Prairie‘s Karen Grassle at first. Today, however, this would total nearly $7 million with inflation.
In the Happy Days pantheon, another matriarch – Mrs. Cunningham’s Marion Ross – beats them all out. Now 92-years-old, Ross’s net worth benefitted greatly from her continued work in Hollywood. As such, Ross is now worth an estimated $10 million.