‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon Was Haunted by This Memory

Michael Landon was remembered by fans and colleagues as a family man who cared deeply for others. He produced TV shows, like Little House on the Prairie, with themes centered on God and family. When it came to his personal life, Landon made an effort to treat others with kindness. However, he was haunted by a memory from his youth that he couldn’t seem to shake.

Michael Landon believed in working toward a dream

Michael Landon with his wife, Cindy | Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images
Michael Landon with his wife, Cindy | Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Landon believed having expectations was a setup for disappointment. In Conversations with Michael Landon by Tom Ito, he said he preferred to work toward a dream than to expect something to happen.

“I don’t have expectations,” said Landon. “Expectations in your life just lead to giant disappointments. Dreaming is one thing, and working toward the dream is one thing, but working with expectations in mind is self-defeating.”

Michael Landon was haunted by this memory

Michael Landon on the set of Little House on the Prairie | NBCU Photo Bank
Michael Landon on the set of Little House on the Prairie | NBCU Photo Bank

Although Landon was a successful actor who starred in many hit shows, he was haunted by the pain he believed he caused a woman he met when he was younger. Landon recalled an incident he couldn’t shake. He said when he was about 17 years old, he and his friends were driving around town, looking for girls. One day, his friends saw two attractive girls, so they asked Landon to get out of the car and talk to them.

Landon began speaking to one of the girls. He said one of them was “extraordinarily beautiful,” so he focused on her. He noticed she was wearing a scarf on her head, so he inquired about her hair color.

The girl said it didn’t matter, so he joked and asked if she was bald. He then removed her scarf. Much to Landon’s surprise, the girl was bald. He didn’t know how to respond, so he ran away. Landon says he thought about that girl almost every month ever since the incident.

“I felt so awful that I said that,” said Landon. “And I know how devastating that must have been for her that I said that. I’ve never forgotten that and how much I wish I had stayed and just talked about what it was, so that she’d see it wasn’t so awful. That’s always bothered me all these years.”

Landon said the girl might have had a scalp disorder, like alopecia. He says it’s also possible she was receiving chemotherapy.

This wasn’t the only incident the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ star regretted

Landon also had regrets about accidentally killing two animals when he was a child. He said he stuck his hand inside a fishbowl and pulled out a fish so he could look at it. The fish folded up and died, so he put it back in the bowl and lied to his uncle about what happened.

Landon also told Ito about the time he was walking home with a group of kids and they tried to scare a bunch of birds. He threw a rock and accidentally hit one of the birds in the head, killing it. “It was one of so many birds,” said Landon. “I felt awful!”

Follow Sheiresa Ngo on Twitter.