‘Little House on the Prairie’: Was Albert Ingalls a Real Person?

Matthew Labyorteaux, right, as Albert Ingalls with his brother Patrick Labyorteaux as Andrew Garvey on 'Little House on the Prairie'
Matthew Labyorteaux, right, as Albert Ingalls with his brother Patrick Labyorteaux as Andrew Garvey on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

Much of the television series Little House on the Prairie was faithfully based on the books by American writer Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Ingalls family members Charles, Caroline, Mary, Laura, and Carrie were accurately represented. But what of adopted brother Albert?

Here’s what’s known about Albert Ingalls.

The ‘Albert’ actor began on ‘Little House’ in an entirely different role

Matthew Labyorteaux
Matthew Labyorteaux

Although Little House fans know Matthew Labyorteaux as the actor who played Albert Ingalls on the series, he was introduced to viewers in a different role.

“I actually played Michael Landon as a little boy,” Labyorteaux said. “In flashbacks to his childhood, where his father’s taken ill and he takes a train and goes back to check on his father and his mother. On the train ride, he sort of reminisces about his childhood.”

The actor said there was also another episode in which the character of Charles Ingalls thinks back to his years as a little boy.

“Michael wrote another show called “I Remember, I Remember,” which was another sort of flashback to Pa Ingalls’ childhood,” he explained. “But it was where Ma met Pa. It was just a sweet, tender, great episode, with the two kids having a crush on each other and meeting for the first time and seeing what they eventually would become.”

Albert Ingalls was not a real person

Patrick and Matthew Labyorteaux
Patrick and Matthew Labyorteaux | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

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As it turns out, Albert didn’t figure into author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s actual world in the 1800s. His introduction in the episode titled “As Long As We’re Together (Part 1)” finally ushered an adopted son into the Ingalls’ household.

He was a character that Michael Landon created for the series for a significant reason.

“Albert was the result of a very personal tragedy for Michael and his family,” Melissa Gilbert explained.

“They had very very close friends… Eleanor and Ray, and their firstborn son, his name was Albert. … Apparently Albert, who was about 18 or 19 at the time, had been riding home in the evening on his bicycle and been hit by a car and killed. As a tribute to Albert Muscatele, Michael created the character of Albert Ingalls.”

The actor who played Albert had a brother in the cast as well

Matthew and Patrick Labyorteaux in a scene from 'Little House on the Prairie'
Matthew and Patrick Labyorteaux in a scene from ‘Little House on the Prairie’ | Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

Labyorteaux has had a busy career post-Little House, especially as a voice actor. His voice has been featured in numerous video games including “Star Wars,” “Next Gen,” “Thrillville,” and “.hack.”

He’s also voiced characters for the Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX television series.

His brother, Patrick Labyorteaux, also appeared on Little House playing the part of Andrew, the son of the Ingalls’ dear friends and neighbors Jonathan and Alice Garvey. Patrick also achieved success on television on the television series JAG, Ghost Whisperer, iCarly, and The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time.