‘Little House on the Prairie’: Mary Ingalls Actor Melissa Sue Anderson Ignored All of Her Cast Members on Set

Melissa Sue Anderson, who plays Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, wasn’t the easiest person to get along with. Both Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) and Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) have talked in detail in their tell-all memoirs about how tough Anderson was to be around on set. And according to Arngrim’s autobiography, Anderson would flat out ignore her fellow co-stars as if they weren’t even there.

Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall
Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall | Wynn Hammer/NBCU Photo Bank

Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) describes Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls) as distant and cold

According to Gilbert, she and Anderson never developed a sisterly bond that their characters share on-screen. Behind the scenes, Gilbert says that Anderson had a “distance” to her. No matter how much she tried to be friends, Anderson would remain aloof.

Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall
Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall | Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank

“She wasn’t easy to get along with,” writes Gilbert in her memoir, Prairie Tale. “From the start, for whatever reason, we never had a real sisterly kinship.”

Meanwhile, Arngrim says that trying to act friendly to Anderson became a genuine effort because her co-star never returned the kindness.

“I tried to be nice to her,” Arngrim writes in her book, Confessions of a Prairie B*tch. “It didn’t seem to work, though. Eventually, being nice to Melissa Sue Anderson became a Zen meditative exercise.”

Mary Ingalls actor Melissa Sue Anderson ignored everyone on the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ set

Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall
Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Said That Laura and Mary’s On-Screen Rivalry Reflected Her Off-Screen Feud With Melissa Sue Anderson

According to Arngrim, Anderson would always seem to stick up her nose to her fellow cast members, with a diva mentality as though she was better than everyone else.

“From things she has said in interviews, why do I get the feeling she’s still completely looking down her noses at us?” Arngrim said of Anderson while chatting with Smashing Interviews. “I told my husband that I sometimes get the feeling that she just thought Melissa (Gilbert) and I were juvenile delinquents.”

In Arngrim’s book, she recalls all the times she tried to be nice to her co-star, and received nothing but death-stares in return.

“I always said, ‘Good Morning,’ or, more accurately, a sickeningly cheerful ‘Good morning, Missy!’” writes Arngrim. “This was usually greeted with a cold stare of a kind of ‘uh-huh’ sound muttered under her breath. Often it was less than this. Sometimes she didn’t even look up from what she was reading, as if I wasn’t even there.”

Melissa Sue Anderson was encouraged not to make friends with her ‘Little House on the Prairie’ co-stars

Little House On The Prairie
Karen Grassle, Michael Landon, Melissa Sue Anderson, Lindsay Greenbush, Melissa Gilbert | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

Arngrim tells Smashing Interviews that Anderson might have been encouraged not to make friends with her co-stars. As Arngrim tells it, she had a very overprotective “stage mom” who thought she knew what was best for her.

“I think Melissa Sue had a very protective mom and that she did see herself as a serious actress at 11,” said Arngrim. “But, Melissa (Gilbert) had been working since she was 2. I’d been working since I was 6, and we both came from show business families. So, it’s not like we were amateurs. She may have been told not to hang out with us because she said, ‘None of us on the set were encouraged to be close.’ I always said to that, ‘I didn’t get the memo.’