‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert on Why Michael Landon’s Wife Lynn Noe Didn’t Fit in on Set

Michael Landon married his second wife, Lynn Noe, in 1963. Before they went their separate ways in 1982, Noe would sometimes accompany Landon on the set of Little House on the Prairie (where he also got together with his third wife). In her memoir, Prairie Tale, Melissa Gilbert (who played Laura Ingalls) writes about how glamorous Noe seemed to her when she was a little girl, and how she didn’t fit in on the prairie.

Marjorie Lynn Noe Landon, Michael Landon appearing on the ABC tv special 'The Barbara Walters Special'
Marjorie Lynn Noe Landon, Michael Landon | American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images

Michael Landon and Lynn Noe

Landon and Noe eloped in Mexico in 1963. Later, they had four children together.

As Showbiz Cheat Sheet has previously reported, Landon met his next wife, Cindy Clerico, while working on Little House on the Prairie. She was the makeup artist for the show and half his age. Eventually, Landon divorced Noe.

“Lynn and I fought a lot, about jealousy, about my being tied up with my work,” he said at the time. “I’d go into depressed moods, and then I’d go around screaming at people at home and in the studio. … Nobody’s perfect. Not Charles Ingalls. Not Michael Landon.”

What Melissa Gilbert thought of Lynn Noe while filming ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Gilbert describes Noe as “one of the most glamorous women I’d ever seen.” But she didn’t necessarily fit in.

“On location, she wore fur coats and wonderful boots,” wrote Gilbert. “My mother was right next to her, dressed to the nines herself, in stunning, fashion-forward outfits that wouldn’t turned heads on Fifth Avenue. The two of them looked like movie stars.

“The thing was, though, we were in the middle of nowhere, knee-deep in mud and horse crap. Both ended up borrowing rubber boots from wardrobe,” she wrote. “From the knees up, they were Hollywood glamour. From the knees down, they were all prairie.” 

Michael Landon and wife Lynn Noe sighted on February 9, 1979 on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
Michael Landon and wife Lynn Noe sighted on February 9, 1979 on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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In addition to Noe’s fabulous clothes, Gilbert couldn’t help noticing Landon’s wife’s extensive jewelry collection.

“My mom matched Lynn in the glamour department, but Lynn had a collection of jewelry that was unlike anything my little girl’s eyes had seen,” she wrote. “At some point each day I would stare at Auntie Lynn’s fingers, wrists, and ears, hoping to see some new and remarkable piece, and usually I did. Michael showered her with every gemstone imaginable.”

Gilbert says her own love of jewelry began with Noe.

“It wasn’t long before one of my favorite things to do when I visited New York City was to walk down Fifth Avenue and gape at the pieces in the windows of Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, and every other major jewelry store there,” she said.