Karen Grassle played Caroline Ingalls on the TV classic “Little House on the Prairie” from 1974-1982. Fans remember her on-screen relationship with Michael Landon’s Charles Ingalls fondly. Some even consider Ma Ingalls one of the best TV moms of all time. But as it turns out, Grassle was happy to move on after her long run on the show came to an end.
Karen Grassle enjoyed incredible chemistry with Michael Landon during their time playing husband and wife. And even though it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows between the two actors, their characters never showed an ounce of their off-screen conflict in the show.
All of that said, Grassle was ready to move on from “Little House on the Prairie” as the show was winding down. So ready, in fact, that she left the main cast a year before the show officially concluded. She returned for small guest parts in the final season, but because the main focus was on the kids, she didn’t have a ton of screen time.
In an interview, Karen Grassle talked about her time on “Little House on the Prairie” and mentioned some of her feelings about it coming to an end.
“I really felt happy to be asked to be a part of it, to have closure with it. But I felt very sad that Michael had made this choice to blow up the town. When I was finished doing the show, I was very glad to move on with my life,” Grassle said.
The ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Gives the Credit to Michael Landon
Karen Grassle was able to recognize the impact that the show had on people. And she played a major role in helping the show reach such a point. But she couldn’t help but feel odd about the praise she gets for her contribution in Michael Landon’s absence.
“Michael dealt with a number of things, racism, and bullying, and drug abuse, alcoholism, in his own way. But it couldn’t come into that family core. And now, you see, I can look back as unfortunately Michael cannot, and understand what that meant to people. I have people reaching out to me because they feel I helped them grow up. Now I reap all these accolades and tender rewards from people I never knew because of Michael’s vision for the show,” she said in the interview.
Michael Landon unfortunately passed away in 1991. Karen Grassle is alive and well, however, at 79 years old.