‘Little House on the Prairie’: This Character Passed Out Because of Heavy Wardrobe Clothing

by Matthew Wilson
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It may have been about the wholesome Ingalls clan. But “Little House on the Prairie” was rough and hazardous for this actor on set. Maybe little Nellie Oleson had a reason for why she was always in a sour mood. Her actor Alison Arngrim often fainted while on the show’s set.

It turns out that heavy wardrobes and a hot California sun don’t mix. Arngrim passed out occasionally while filming outdoor scenes in the Simi Valley. The heat became too much for her.

“I must admit, I was not a fan of Simi Valley. I much preferred the sound stage.  With all the kids on the show, we filmed a lot during the summer – (during the school year, we all had to have our California law mandated “three hours school” on set) – and in Simi Valley in the summer, temperatures often reach 110 degrees or more,” Arngrim told From the Desk.

Of course, Arngrim wasn’t the only one affected by the heat. An assistant director also faint once as well.

“Now put on an 1800s dress, a petticoat, etc.,  A WIG, (yes!) and go stand out in the middle of that all day!  NOT fun. I passed out from heatstroke more than once,” Arngrim continued.

The ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor Had a Rough Time

The heat wasn’t the only hardship Arngrim said she faced while on set. Her own hair was too thin to properly curl into Nellie’s trademark hairstyle. So Arngrim wore a wig while on the set of “Little House on the Prairie.”

But the wig would often make her scalp bleed from the pins required to keep it in her hair. The comb required to keep on the hairpiece ended up being a painful experience for Arngrim.

Arngrim would often be so exhausted by the time she got home that she needed to take a nap.

“I would be totally wiped out from being a b—h all day as Nellie,” Arngrim said of her time on the show. “I had to go home and take a nap. But it would put me in a really good mood. It was very Zen. People would ask my mother, ‘What is she like around the house?’ She would say, ‘She’s really calm. I guess all the evil is drained out of her.’ It felt good to scream and act like a maniac on set. I had the lowest blood pressure of the cast.”

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