‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Michael Landon Said His Drug Habit Was ‘Absolute Murder’
Little House on the Prairie was full of secrets, especially when it came to star Michael Landon. The actor was a staple on the show, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing. From his fiery temper to his drinking, his TV co-stars had a lot to say about Landon over the years.
It seems Landon’s talked about his shortcomings himself. Back in 1983, he discussed his addiction to drugs and how difficult it was for him to function. Here’s what he said.
Some of Michael Landon’s ‘Little House on the Prairie’ co-stars saw him drinking heavily
Landon had plenty of personality quirks that were memorable to his Little House co-stars. But it seems a few also recall his heavy drinking. Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson on the show, wrote about Landon’s drinking habit in her memoir, Confessions of a Prairie B*tch.
“When I heard the voice, I froze,” Arngrim wrote. “It was Michael [Landon]. I peeked around the seat to see Michael smiling in his Charles Ingalls boots and suspenders, extending a Styrofoam cup. ‘Hit me.’” Angrim then saw a crew member pour some bourbon into Landon’s cup.
“You would never suspect he’d been swilling Wild Turkey all morning; on the contrary, he was so keyed up and energetic, and had such stamina, you’d think he was on an amphetamine IV,” Arngrim added.
Not all of the cast knew about Landon’s drinking, though. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls, never knew Landon was drinking alcohol out of his coffee cup.
Landon said the drug habit he developed was ‘absolute murder’
Drinking aside, Landon also had a drug habit at certain points in his career. Back in 1983, he told The Washington Post about his involvement with a drug called Miltown.
“The only time I was ever involved with drugs was the second year of Bonanza and I was only involved with a drug called Miltown at that time,” Landon explained. “It’s the same type of thing as Valium or Equanil.”
Landon then went on to explain that the habit was soul-crushing. “I want to tell you something, it was murder,” he continued. “Absolute murder. It was so bad that I couldn’t sit up, I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I would have to very slowly reach to the nightstand and take four pills and just let it settle in, because if I sat up, I’d get a migraine headache and hear the blood pumping in my ears.”
According to Landon, he was taking up to 50 or 60 pills per day and initially prescribed for anxiety.
Landon’s daughter also developed an addiction to the same drug
Landon spoke to The Washington Post about his step-daughter’s habit with the same drug, Miltown.
“While she was at the university, she became more involved in drugs. Grass, alcohol, cocaine, amyl nitrate,” Landon said of Cheryl. “Poppers, downers. She was in an automobile accident there and everyone was killed except her and that just gave her an excuse to do more drugs because of what she had gone through.”
He then noted that Cheryl’s issues, he started to feel quite guilty regarding some of the feelings he had toward her. “You get very guilty about some of the feelings you have about your own child, one of which is, ‘I wish she did not exist. If she didn’t exist, I wouldn’t feel all this pain,'” he said.
Ultimately, Cheryl got help — and she had a great relationship with Landon up until his death in 1991.
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