‘Little House on the Prairie’: Alison Arngrim Thought This Co-Star Was ‘Cute’

Little House on the Prairie star Alison Arngrim was close to many of her co-stars. She developed a bond with her cast mates and remained friends with them for years. Arngrim reveals she thought one of her co-stars was “cute.”

Alison Arngrim’s character had to get married on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

The cast of Little House on the Prairie.
The Little House on the Prairie cast | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

In her book Confessions of a Prairie B****, Arngrim says all the characters on the show had to be “married off” because that was typical during prairie times. The characters Laura, Mary, and Nellie had to have a partner. Arngrim says Melissa Sue Anderson was lucky because the actor who played the husband of her character, Mary, was quite attractive. She describes actor Linwood Boomer as “hunky.”

Alison Arngrim was excited to meet her TV husband

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Arngrim says Michael Landon was the first to tell her that her character was getting married. Her TV spouse was described as “a short little man” who refused to be pushed around.

Arngrim anxiously awaited the arrival of her on-screen husband, Steve Tracy (he played Percival Dalton, Nellie Oleson’s husband). She says every time a man arrived on set, she wondered if he was the one. Arngrim was told he was a character actor, and he was meant for comic relief, so she expected him to be unattractive. She says she “hoped he wasn’t too hideous” and didn’t have bad breath.

When Tracy arrived on the set, Arngrim was pleasantly surprised. She was happy he would play the role of her husband. Arngrim says Tracy was far from ugly. “He had a big, beautiful mop of curly hair and sparkling eyes and freckles,” says Arngrim in her book. “He was cute.”

Alison Arngrim and Steve Tracy became close friends

Arngrim and Tracy became very close. They were so close that people thought the actors were dating in real life. What the public didn’t know that Tracy was gay. This worked out well for them because gay actors during that time didn’t feel comfortable coming out. Some of them had “cover relationships” so no one would find out they were gay. Arngrim says she and Tracy attended events together and didn’t mind that people thought they were dating.

Alison Arngrim and Steve Tracy had ‘chemistry’

Arngrim described her time working with Tracy on Little House on the Prairie. She says she and Tracy had ‘chemistry’ as Nellie and Percival. She says he had “impeccable” comic timing and they had an easy working relationship. Arngrim was impressed with the way Tracy was able to jump in and take on the role considering Little House was an established show that had been on the air for six years at the time he joined the cast.

Arngrim says Tracy not only had to play a strong character who stood up to Mrs. Oleson, he also had to stand up to the actor who played her in real life. According to Arngrim, Katherine MacGregor often corrected the technique of other actors and told them what they were doing wrong.

Arngrim and Tracy played husband and wife until she left the show during season 7. She briefly returned for one episode titled “The Return of Nellie” during Little House on the Prairie Season 9 Episode 8. Arngrim and Tracy’s friendship lasted until his death on November 27, 1986, from AIDS complications.

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