She once said that Jodie Foster got multiple roles she auditioned for when she was young. Before landing the role of Nellie on Little House on The Prairie by making Michael Landon laugh so hard he was “in tears,” Arngrim often auditioned for the same parts as Foster. She even joked that she’s lucky Jodie Foster didn’t audition for Little House on The Prairie.
“I always laugh and say ‘you know thank god Jodi Foster was like busy that week or I probably wouldn’t have gotten Nellie’ cus she beat me out for stuff all the time.” Jodie Foster and Alison Arngrim were the same age and similar in looks.
Arngrim laughed when asked what roles she got beat for during her 2016 interview with Pop Goes the Culture TV.
“We read for the same stuff all the time,” she said. “Of course, I didn’t get the movie with the lion, and she did, and the thing bit her, so I guess I got lucky on that one.”
She’s referencing the film, Napoleon and Samantha. The 1972 film was about a boy who runs away with his pet lion and his friend Samantha after his grandfather dies. Foster was mauled by one of the lions on set.
Arngrim, whose now a comedian, joked that she hated Foster for a while as a child. Foster is “so talented” that she eventually let it go.
Alison Arngrim’s ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Parents Were Quite Parental Behind the Scenes
Arngrim didn’t just get a part, she got a set full of new friends and people to talk to. Two of those people played her on-screen parents, Katherine MacGregor and Richard Bull. Even when Arngrim wasn’t around her parents, she was in good hands. Her TV parents kept an eye on her.
They were like another set of parents,” said Arngrim in 2018. “They felt very parental toward me and were always. Well, Katherine would boss you around and give you advice and Richard was very protective.”
She also described the two as simply “incredible people.”
Alison Arngrim went from playing the antagonist on Little House on The Prairie to learning to revel in the aftereffects of that. Her book, Confessions of a Prairie B****, details heartwarming, funny, and even heartbreaking behind-the-scenes moments as well as a recounting of what life was like after the show.
Arngrim does comedy shows and discusses issues she’s passionate about, such as workplace rights for child stars. She’s also done multiple comedy shows and has done virtual shows during the pandemic. Now, she has a separate and enriched path quite different than that of Jodie Foster.