During a past interview, Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim spoke about her Hollywood legend co-star Michael Landon, and credited him for keeping her and the other child stars out of trouble.
While speaking with Tom Gregory on his YouTube channel, the pair talked about Arngrim’s life and legacy. The Nellie Oleson actor actually grew up in Hollywood and her parents were both in show business. Arngrim’s father managed actors and her mother was a voice over actor, so she came by her craft honestly.
While opening up about her Little House on the Prairie experiences, Arngrim revealed what it was like working with co-star Michael Landon. The actress touched on his multiple roles as an actor, writer, director, and producer. She called Landon a “control freak” but said that it benefitted her and the other child actors on the hit show in the long run.
“This is why none of the kids from Little House are nuts. I mean, well maybe slightly nuts, but none of us are in jail,” Arngrim joked. “Because there was discipline on that set. That set, we were there to work. There’s a lot of kid actors who are on shows that didn’t go to school, they were goofing off… Or worse, they were treated like a trained animal act. They were treated as stupid child actors. They weren’t given any respect or held to a standard.”
“Little House on the Prairie, all the child actors were held to a certain standard of performance and acting,” she added. “We had our 3 hours school, our 4 hours work, our 1 hour rest and recreation. Absolutely by the book… And it was Michel who really laid down that law. He didn’t want us treated like stupid kids. He’s like no, they work here, they’re people.”
‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actress Karen Grassle Didn’t Know Who Michael Landon Was Before Audition
Growing up in Hollywood, Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim definitely knew who her famous co-star Michael Landon was while working with him. However, their co-star and Landon’s wife on the show, actress Karen Grassle, amusingly had no clue who the Hollywood A-lister was before her audition.
In a way, it may have benefitted her during the audition. You can’t be starstruck and get nervous over someone if you don’t know how big of a deal they are. Even though Grassle had starred in multiple theater productions, she wasn’t in tune with popular television shows at the time.
As the actress explained to Closer Weekly in 2020, she wasn’t “a big TV watcher” in the early ’70s. During the interview, the actress explained that she only knew she’d be auditioning with an actor from Bonanza.
“My agent sent me up for a series with this guy from Bonanza [Michael Landon],” Grassle said to Closer Weekly. “I was not a big TV watcher, so I asked, ‘Which one is he?’ He said, ‘He’s Little Joe.’ I was the only one at the interview — 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 leapt up like a jack-in-the-box and said, ‘Bring her to wardrobe!’ But NBC had to approve me, so he interviewed me for executives on closed-circuit TV.”
It’s funny to think anyone didn’t know who Michael Landon was in the ’70s, especially a fellow actor. But it sounds like Grassle’s ignorance over Landon’s fame actually may have benefited her. Her audition went great and she landed a main role on Little House on the Prairie for the next nine years.