‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Sue Anderson Once Said This Cast Member Was ‘Zany’ and ‘Off the Wall’
Melissa Sue Anderson starred as Mary Ingalls Kendall on Little House on the Prairie for eight seasons. Little House on the Prairie ran from 1974 to 1983 and in its ninth and final season, the show was renamed Little House: A New Beginning.
In 2010, Anderson published a memoir titled The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed Anderson about the book, and in the interview, Anderson referred to one of the cast members of Little House on the Prairie as “zany” and “off the wall.”
Melissa Sue Anderson on her ‘Little House on the Prairie’ co-star
Multiple actors from Little House on the Prairie published memoirs about their childhood and growing up working on the show. Melissa Gilbert starred as Laura Ingalls Wilder on the show and published Prairie Tale: A Memoir in 2009.
While Gilbert mentioned Anderson in her memoir, Anderson did not mention Gilbert in The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House.
“I honestly do not have a lot of memories of the two of us,” Anderson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of Gilbert. “We were very, very different.”
She once called Alison Arngrim ‘zany’ and ‘off the wall’
Like Anderson, Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson, published a memoir about the show in 2010. Arngrim’s memoir is titled Confessions of a Prairie B*tch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated.
While Anderson did not have much to say about Gilbert, she did have strong memories of Arngrim.
“She made a career being nasty Nellie,” Anderson said in 2010. “She’s completely perpetuated that. She was a nice girl, kind of shy in the beginning. But she got through it. She was very zany, very off the wall. She and Melissa [Gilbert] got along quite well.”
Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim were friends on set
In 2014, the cast of Little House on the Prairie reunited to speak with Entertainment Weekly. In the interview, Arngrim said that Anderson looked at her and Gilbert like they were “were total juvenile delinquents.”
“I think she thought we would get her in trouble if she hung out with us, which is perfect for her character because Mary was such a little narc,” Arngrim said.
“Melissa [Gilbert] was the ringleader. Alison was the co-ringleader. They’d have lunches in their trailer, and we’d go in and goof around,” Matthew Laborteaux said.
Why Melissa Sue Anderson left ‘Little House on the Prairie’
In Season 4 of Little House on the Prairie, Anderson’s character Mary goes blind. Her portrayal of Mary went on to earn Anderson a nomination for a 1978 Emmy Award for Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series. Even with the Emmy Award nomination, Anderson chose to leave the show after its eighth season.
“It wasn’t just the blind issue but also the period of the show… It was very limiting what you could or couldn’t do. I used to say I was blind and boring. Either I was just there not doing much or going through some tragedy. I couldn’t take it anymore. It became too soap opera-ish,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.