‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Karen Grassle Took on Role in Kevin Costner’s ‘Wyatt Earp’

by Keeli Parkey
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Actress Karen Grassle is most famous for her role in the frontier family show “Little House on the Prairie.” She played Caroline Ingalls, the matriarch of the Ingalls family in the series.

While the show gave the actress her most famous role, Grassle also acted in a Western starring Kevin Costner in the title role. That film was the 1994 hit “Wyatt Earp,” according to IMDb.com. The plot of the film is as follows: “From Wichita to Dodge City to the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, a man becomes a myth in this thrilling journey of romance, adventure and desperate, heroic action.”

“Little House on the Prairie” star Karen Grassle was cast in the role of Mrs. Sutherland in the 1994 Western. No doubt she was familiar with wearing period costumes while acting. Grassle’s character is the mother of Earp’s wife, Urilla, who was played by Annabeth Gish.

In “Wyatt Earp,” Grassle shares a few scenes with Costner. One is when she greets him at the door of her character’s family’s home. The other is a dinner scene during which Earp tells the family and his future wife that he intends to work with the police.

Grassle appears again when she learns that her daughter is sick and has contracted Typhoid fever. The “Little House on the Prairie” star’s role is a small one, but it packs an emotional punch.

In addition to Kevin Costner and Karen Grassle, the cast of “Wyatt Earp” included an all-star cast. On that list is Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday, Gene Hackman as Nicholas Earp, David Andrews as James Earp, Mark Harmon as Sheriff Johnny Behan, Michael Madsen as Virgil Earp, Catherine O’Hara as Allie Earp, Tom Sizemore as Bat Masterson, and Mare Winningham as Mattie Blaylock. The film was directed by Lawrence Kasdan.

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Karen Grassle Said She Didn’t Expect to Be On the Show for So Long

In addition to her role in “Little House on the Prairie” and her role in “Wyatt Earp,” Karen Grassle has made other appearances on television and in film.

Her work also includes roles on “Gunsmoke,” “The Love Boat,” and “Murder, She Wrote.” Her most recent role is that of Melody in the upcoming film “Not to Forget.”

However, “Little House on the Prairie” is the most successful of Grassle’s acting ventures. The show aired for nine seasons beginning in 1974. That was a length of time that Grassle did not expect to happen.

“I never thought I could last that long,” she once said about her time playing Caroline Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie.”

After almost a decade on the show, the now 79-year-old Grassle did feel some relief when her time in the series came to an end. “I love having this freedom right now to do different things. For me, the thrill of acting is transforming yourself into a different person. …” Grassle also said.

Outsider.com