Charlotte Stewart of Little House on the Prairie landed the role of Miss Eva Beadle, school teacher to the kids of Walnut Grove, in 1974. On the historical drama for the first four seasons, Stewart has openly shared of her previous struggles with drugs and alcohol.
In her memoir, the Little House alum described a relationship with this Academy Award winner that went from partying to his attempts to recruit her toward sobriety.
Charlotte Stewart was introduced to Richard Dreyfuss
In season 4, Miss Beadle tied the knot with Adam Simms. Actor Josh Bryant, a longtime friend of Stewart’s, landed the role of her onscreen husband. One evening, Bryant asked Stewart to a gathering at his home, where she immediately hit it off with rising star Richard Dreyfuss.
“Josh invited me over for a party at his house, where I met his buddy Richard Dreyfuss,” Stewart shared in her book Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me. “Richard and I had some chemistry and the next day he sent a limo over to pick me up so I could come over and play.”
The two found plenty of common ground that ranged from substance use to board games.
“What a fun guy to hang out with,” the Little House alum recalled. “Besides the fact that he’s devilishly smart, charming, and good-looking, we found we had a lot of mutual interests, such as sex, alcohol, and cocaine. Oh, and backgammon.”
‘Little House’ star called backgammon and cocaine a ‘popular combination’
Stewart commented on Dreyfuss’ success, where he appeared in back-to-back box office hits. The 1977 film The Goodbye Girl earned Dreyfuss an Oscar for Best Actor.
“[Dreyfuss] was having an amazing career stretch,” Stewart recalled, “having filmed Jaws, The Goodbye Girl, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind one after the other.”
Describing how they often spent their outings, Stewart revealed a mix of two vices that was all the rage during that time period.
“We both liked going to a restaurant/bar called Ports, which was located across from Goldwyn Studios,” she wrote. “We’d do cocaine (in the bathroom) and play backgammon all night long. It was a surprisingly popular combination at the time.”
Richard Dreyfuss began seeking the path to sobriety
In her memoir, Stewart chronicled her own battle with drug and alcohol addiction. While she didn’t start on the path to sobriety until the 80s, she noticed Dreyfuss was starting to head in that direction during their relationship.
“Even while we were partying together, Richard had some interest in getting sober,” the Little House star remarked. “It’s hard to keep all the plates spinning on a successful film career and fully dedicate yourself to the twin cause of drugs and alcohol.”
Stewart and Dreyfuss drifted apart over time. When they saw each other several years later, the Jaws star tried to convince Stewart to accompany him to a recovery meeting.
“He invited me to an event to hear people talk about getting sober — something that had transformed his life,” Stewart recalled. “At the time, I was happy to go, assuming that Richard simply wanted to spend time with me. … It never occurred to me that he had perhaps invited me along because he thought sobriety was something I could benefit from. I just thought he had a thing for me.”
How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.