The stories of the Little House on the Prairie books are still beloved by many all over the world. The television series also captured the hearts of families across America. The heartwarming series followed the Ingalls family and the trials of life on the frontier in the late 1800s.
The series had a cast of incredibly talented stars, including Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon. Gilbert and Landon formed a special bond while working together. He was an important role model for the young actor and held a special place in her heart. Years after the show ended, Gilbert found a sentimental treasure on eBay.
Who is Melissa Gilbert?
Melissa Gilbert is best known for her portrayal of Laura Ingalls in the television series Little House on the Prairie. The American western historical drama ran from 1974–1983. Gilbert reportedly beat out over 500 other actors that had auditioned for the part. Gilbert’s incredible performance as Laura made her the youngest person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to Biography. She also received two Young Artists Awards for Best Young Actress and a TV Lands Award.
Aside from Little House on the Prairie, Gilbert had a prominent career in television. She starred alongside Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker, playing blind and deaf Helen Keller. She played Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank and delivered a stunning performance as one of the lead characters in Splendor in the Grass.
Gilbert has continued to be active in Hollywood, both in television and movies. She was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild in 2001, and again for a second two-year term in 2003. She competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2012. The talented actor also appeared on stage in a musical production of Little House on the Prairie. In 2009, she released a memoir of her life entitled A Prairie Tale.
Michael Landon: Gilbert’s co-star and father figure
Michael Landon was an acclaimed actor, writer, director, singer, and producer. He was beloved by his fans and well-respected by his colleagues. He was best known for his roles in Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Highway to Heaven. Despite Landon’s incredible talent, he never won an Emmy Award for any of his performances.
In addition to his professional talents, Landon was also a caring individual who made many friends during his career. Landon and Gilbert had a very close relationship during their time on Little House on the Prairie. After Gilbert’s father died, she became especially attached to Landon. He became a father figure to the 11-year-old Gilbert and was there for her as she grew up.
Gilbert purchased a piece of the set to remember him by
Landon was a father figure for Gilbert in real life, but he played her actual father on Little House on the Prairie. Landon played Charles Ingalls, dad to Gilbert’s Laura. The pair had a strong bond both on and off set, and Gilbert actually has a very special prop from the show that she’s kept as a reminder of Landon.
Gilbert found Pa’s fiddle, which played an extremely important role in the books and the television series, on eBay years ago. Gilbert immediately jumped on the offer, because the fiddle had incredible sentimental value to the actor. Pa’s fiddle was always a symbol of peace, hope, and comfort throughout the series. It helped construct the mood and atmosphere in so many important scenes, just as it did in the book.
Recently, Gilbert and her husband relocated from their Michigan home to New York City. The couple worked with the Wilder Museum to auction several items from the show, including the fiddle, signed photos, and sheet music, according to Marshall Independent. The museum reported that the latest auction generated 58,000 views and over 300 bids. Although the museum was at its height during the late ’70s, when the show was still on the air, it has had great success during anniversaries and special occasions in recent years.