‘Little House on the Prairie’: Alison Arngrim Recalled a Strange Fan Interaction—’What the Hell Was That?’

Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim played Nellie Oleson from 1974 to 1982. She picked up some fans—and haters—along the way. Arngrim spoke about the diehard Little House fans who had trouble separating her character from who she was in real life. Here’s what she said about the fan interaction that left her confused.

Alison Arngrim has had plenty of strange fan interactions

Alison Arngrim as Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie.
Alison Arngrim | NBCU Photo Bank

Arngrim isn’t a stranger to bizarre fan interactions. She discussed a time when she was at a Christmas parade and a fan of Little House on the Prairie threw soda at her.

Some viewers who religiously watched the show began to feel sorry for the Laura Ingalls character (played by Melissa Gilbert) and were upset by how poorly she was treated by the Nellie Oleson character (played by Alison Arngrim). Some fans wanted revenge. Apparently, this fan took out years of pent-up anger on Arngrim.

“I mean, the things people have said to me—you wouldn’t believe it!” Arngrim tells Everything Zoomer. “One time I was in a Christmas parade and someone [in the crowd] threw a cup of orange soda at my head. People have freaked out when I’m around.”

A fan became upset with Alison Arngrim during a media event

In her book, Confessions of a Prairie B****, Arngrim recalls a strange experience she had at the Los Angeles County Fair. She was sitting in a tent where she was signing autographs along with other TV personalities.

Arngrim says a woman suddenly “stopped dead in her tracks.” She noticed the woman wasn’t speaking. According to Arngrim, the lady was standing still and staring at the sign with her name on it.

Arngrim says the woman became angry when she realized she was the actor who played Nellie Oleson. After not saying anything and trying to maintain her composure, Arngrim says the woman said, “I forgive you!”

After the woman made that announcement, she turned around and left without saying hello or asking for an autograph, says the Little House actor. Arngrim says she was “open-mouthed in amazement” after that incident.

Arngrim was so stunned by what happened that all she could say was, “What the hell was that?” Arngrim thought it was strange that a character she played on TV decades ago could send an adult into “a state of rage.”

Alison Arngrim is grateful for her time on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Arngrim says she played a character millions of people hated. However, she’s grateful to play this role because she was able to support herself with the money she earned from the job.

Arngrim also says she gained confidence while playing Nellie Oleson. She learned how to be assertive, how to take risks, and how to live without fear. Arngrim says it means a lot to her when she hears stories about people who grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and how much the show means to them.

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