Melissa Sue Anderson played Mary Ingalls, the oldest daughter on “Little House on the Prairie.” Life after the show has been quieter.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane for a bit and look at Anderson’s career.
For seven of the eight seasons that “Little House on the Prairie” was on NBC, Anderson was part of the regular cast. In the eighth and final season, she would make a few appearances in episodes.
In the books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which the series is based upon, there hardly is a mention of Mary Ingalls. But they found a place in the show for Anderson. She tells about how the role became part of the NBC series.
Anderson ‘Lucky’ That ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Role Was Made
“I’m lucky that there even was a character to play because, in the book, there isn’t much of one,” Anderson said in an interview. “Laura (author of the ‘Little House’ novels) was a quite older woman when she wrote the books.
“She was remembering the best of her life,” Anderson said. “The characters of Ma and Mary didn’t factor in a lot. There was a lot of Laura and Pa and Laura and Jack the dog and Laura and Mr. Edwards, but there wasn’t a lot of Mary. I’m fortunate that they discovered that I could act.”
“Little House on the Prairie” gave Anderson a place to show her acting skills and they paid off. Mary loses her eyesight when she is 14 years old and has to relearn how to live. Her interpretation of a blind person on film gave others who looked to support the blind community someone to point at and honor. The real-life Mary Ingalls, who was Laura Ingalls Wilder’s first daughter, also lost her eyesight at age 14.
After her “Little House” run ended, Anderson picked up bit roles on shows like “Fantasy Island” and “Partners.”
Her most recent film appearance happens to be a non-credited part in 2014’s “Veronica Mars” as Stosh’s mother.
Life After ‘Little House’ Leads Anderson, Family To Canada
Yet Anderson found life in Hollywood wasn’t to her liking so she moved to Montreal. As far as it’s known, Anderson still lives in the Montreal area.
She’s not been on screen too much since moving to Montreal. Anderson became a naturalized citizen of Canada in 2007.
Anderson published a 2010 memoir, “The Way I See It: A Look Back At My Life On Little House on the Prairie.” The book focused on her time with the show.
In 1990, Anderson married television writer/producer Michael Sloan. She has two children with him. The family moved to Canada and, as earlier mentioned, Anderson, her husband, and two children became naturalized Canadian citizens.
After years of acting and being involved in the show business world, it appears that Melissa Sue Anderson has found life beyond the camera peaceful.