‘Little House on the Prairie’: Reliving Michael Landon’s Moving 1991 Emmys Tribute

by Clayton Edwards
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Michael Landon passed away in 1991. At the Emmy Awards that year, his “Little House on the Prairie” co-stars Melissa Gilbert and Merlin Olsen paid tribute to him. First, they acknowledged other actors that passed away that year. Then, they took a long and loving look at Landon’s career.

Melissa Gilbert was the best person to pay tribute to the “Little House on the Prairie” patriarch and showrunner. Over the nine seasons of the hit show, they became very close. Their father-daughter relationship on the show bled over into real life to an extent.

“Little House on the Prairie” Stars Remember Michael Landon

As Gilbert and Olsen walked to center stage, a portrait of the “Little House on the Prairie” patriarch came down from the ceiling. Landon’s smiling face looked over his friends and cast mates as well as the audience as Gilbert began to speak.

She started her tribute by saying, “During the years we were fortunate to know and work with Michael, he was many things to us – teacher, counselor, companion, and, when we needed one, a loving father.” Then, the camera panned to Olsen. He talked about how the stories that Landon brought to the screen reflected his core values. Those values included the importance of family and close friendships as well as an “abiding faith in the power that each of us has to make our world a better place.”

Gilbert went on to say that her “Little House on the Prairie” co-star changed her perspective on success. Through Landon’s hard work and dedication to his craft, he taught Gilbert that success was not a destination but a journey. Olsen added that Landon taught him that happiness, like living, is a process and not a distant goal. After this moving tribute to their co-star and friend, they began a look back at Landon’s long career in film and television.

The tribute showed Michael Landon’s range as an actor. He was more than just the loving father on “Little House on the Prairie.” His roles were many and varied. He was a boxer in “Fight for the Title.” He was also the titular creature in “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.” Years later, he moved to television. The tribute discussed his long stint on the hit show “Bonanza” as well as his time on Little House. Each of these was accompanied by a clip from the film or show.

In the clip from “Little House on the Prairie” Landon delivers some of the truest lines ever spoken on television. As children laughed in the background he said, “You hear that? That’s what life’s all about. Laughing and loving each other.” Charles Ingalls was a wise man, indeed.

The tribute ends with a quote from Michael Landon on the screen. “Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you.”

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