‘Little House on the Prairie’: Mary Ingalls Actor Refused To Kiss John Jr. Actor and ‘Hated His Guts’

In Little House on the Prairie, Mary Ingalls (Melissa Sue Anderson) and John Jr. (Radames Pera) were supposed to get married. Michael Landon, who worked as the executive producer/writer/star of the series, was going to postpone Mary Ingalls‘ “blind” plotline indefinitely and instead make her a romantic lead.

Yet because Anderson couldn’t stand the actor who played John Jr, he was forced to leave the show and was out of a job because of her. So as a result, Landon decided to go with the original intention of making Mary Ingalls blind. One of the actors on Prairie considers this “karma” for Anderson’s rude behavior.

Little House on the Prairie
Michael Landon as Charles Philip Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall, Radames Pera as John Sanderson Edwards | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

What happened with Mary Ingalls and John Jr. on ‘Little House on the Prairie’?

In the series, Mary falls in love with the sensitive and poetic John Jr. The two seem like the perfect pair on-screen. Yet behind the scenes, Anderson detested Pera and refused to kiss him. Because of these complications going on off-screen, the writers had to develop a whole new plotline for the characters.

Little House on the Prairie
Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall, Rademas Pera as John Sanderson | Edwards Frank Carroll/Getty Images

They came up with a flimsy excuse for their relationship to end, with the two splitting up so John Jr. could pursue his dreams of becoming a writer. His character moves to Chicago to write for a newspaper, yet they maintain a long-distance relationship throughout.

Everything blows up in flames, though, when Mary discovers that John Jr. has been unfaithful during their long distance romance. As a result, they break up, and Mary finds a new love interest.

Mary Ingalls actor (Melissa Sue Anderson) refused to kiss John Junior actor (Radames Pera)

Little House on the Prairie
Radames Pera as John Sanderson Edwards, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

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According to Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Anderson was tough to work with on the Prairie set. Not only was she cold and standoffish, but she also physically threatened to hurt Arngrim. Yet Arngrim wasn’t the only victim of Anderson’s unfair ways. Pera, who was meant to stick around on the show as her love interest, was forced to be removed from the series because of Anderson’s refusal to work with him.

“Michael had decided to postpone the whole plotline about her blindness indefinitely and let her become a romantic lead,” Arngrim writes in her memoir, Confessions of a Prairie B*tch. “Radames was supposed to marry her. Unfortunately, Melissa Sue hated his guts, refused to kiss him, and eventually, he left the show. So, of course, that meant Michael had to go back to the old plotline and make her blind. The logical consequences of one’s actions or spiritual karma? You decide.”

Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) had a massive crush on Radames Pera (John Jr)

According to Arngrim, she was head over heels for Mary Ingalls’ man. She said she would have gladly taken Anderson’s place by dating him on the show. Arngrim described her feelings for the actor in her memoir, claiming, “I, on the other hand, was crazy about Radames and could not believe Melissa didn’t like kissing him. I seriously thought about asking her if I could stunt double for her. I would have been quite happy to lighten that part of her workload. Radames had no romantic interest in me, of course.”