‘Little House on the Prairie’: Miss Beadle Actor Charlotte Stewart Called Her Illegal Abortion ‘A Horrible Experience’
There are plenty of notable actors from Little House on the Prairie who’ve left their mark on the show forever. And Charlotte Stewart is certainly one of them. The actor played the beloved Miss Eva Beadle, the school teacher in Walnut Grove. And she was the perfect fit for the wholesome role.
Stewart’s real life was a lot different than her on-screen persona, though. Stewart once had an illegal abortion, and she noted it was a “horrible experience.” Here’s what happened.
Charlotte Stewart played Miss Beadle on ‘Little House on the Prairie’
Miss Beadle needed to be a soft and sweet presence in the town, and Stewart was fit for the role. She met producer, director, and actor Michael Landon when she auditioned. And it seems they had a blast together on set.
“Michael was unstoppable, you know?” Stewart told Smashing Interviews in 2016. “To this day, I get emails all the time from people that want to know what it was like to be around him. It was hysterical. He was really funny. He was a good guy, one of the really good ones.”
As for how Stewart portrayed Miss Beadle, she and Landon had to come up with the characterization themselves. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, she described the teacher as being pretty and smelling good, but that’s it. Landon and Stewart got to work fleshing out Miss Beadle’s character together and giving her plenty of interesting storylines.
Stewart talked about her experience having an abortion
Stewart’s life outside of Little House was a lot different than her character’s. The actor became quite involved with the Hollywood scene, and she was out and about with plenty of notable men. She’s also talked about a pivotal moment in her life — her abortion — that was illegal at the time.
“It was terrible,” Stewart told Smashing Interview. “It was a horrible experience. Because of the times, there were no legal abortions. It was against the law. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who went through that at that time and had to hide it. I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t tell anybody.”
Stewart noted her husband at the time, Tim Considine, kept the information regarding the abortion completely to themselves. “I would hope, in this day and age, no one would have to go through that,” Stewart added. Considine and Stewart later divorced.
Stewart has also talked about her alcoholism and drug use of the past
The Little House actor has gotten quite candid when it comes to her past with alcohol and drugs. “Drinking was so accepted in the 1950s,” she explained to Smashing Interviews. “There were all the cocktail parties. My parents were functioning alcoholics. They didn’t beat me. They didn’t crash cars or anything.”
Stewart told the Star Tribune her time after Little House in the early ’80s was particularly difficult.
“That was a really horrible time for me,” she said. “In the early ’80s, my business manager had managed to put a lot of my money up his nose and I wasn’t getting jobs. I was spending too much time playing. People were trying to help me, but I didn’t want to hear what they were saying. That’s common with addicts.”
Now, Stewart’s past is well behind her. And she looks fondly back on her time on Little House on the Prairie despite the dark days.
Check out Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Facebook!