‘Little House on the Prairie’: Why Victor French and This Co-Star Took Their Friendship to Another Level
Little House on the Prairie premiered in 1974 and became a hit for NBC. Show creator Michael Landon recruited pal Victor French to play the gentle giant Isaiah Edwards, which was a change from his prior roles.
French reached out to one Little House co-star during a particularly difficult time in his life, which led to a change in their relationship.
‘Little House on the Prairie’ star Victor French’s second marriage ended
French married second wife Julie Cobb, daughter of actor Lee J. Cobb, in 1976. The two had no children, and divorced in 1978. Apparently, French was completely distraught by the split and reached out to one of his co-stars.
“He was dealing with the end of his marriage with his wife Julie, and was absolutely devastated by the divorce,” Charlotte Stewart, who played schoolteacher Eva Beadle on Little House, wrote in her book Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me. “I knew it was hard on him, but I had no idea until out of the blue he called me one night at home. Poor guy, it was clear how torn up he was.”
Stewart wanted to provide support to French and invited him over, where one thing led to another.
“I told him to come over to my house in Beachwood Canyon,” the Little House alum recalled. “We sat up for a long time drinking, talking about marriage, divorce, and life. And he ended up spending the night. Which was the start of an occasional thing between us.”
Victor French and Charlotte Stewart continued their relationship off the set of ‘Little House on the Prairie’
Stewart described how she and French would periodically get together after their initial meet-up, though she never viewed their relationship as serious.
“Usually Victor would call and say he was having dinner with one of the producers, Kent McCray and his wife, and would I like to come along?” Stewart explained. “We’d go out, have a good time, and he’d stay over. It was never a romance — I was never after him — I simply adored him.”
Knowing viewers would probably be shocked at the thought of the two Little House characters getting extra cozy off camera, Stewart clearly held fond memories of French.
“We had a lot of fun together — how could you not with Victor?” she wrote. “Sometimes we’d lie in bed and joke about what fans would say if they found out that Miss Beadle was hooking up with Mr. Edwards.”
Charlotte Stewart spoke of ‘Little House’ star Victor French after his death
French died in 1989 of lung cancer. In a 2016 interview, Stewart reflected on her relationship with her former Little House co-star.
“We became very good ‘friends,’” Stewart told Smashing Interviews. “I enjoyed his company a great deal. He was older and more sensible.”
Stewart had nothing but kind words for French, noting how hard the breakup of his marriage was for the actor.
“He was just one of the most charming and funny men and had such a good heart,” she remarked. “He was really suffering from his breakup with Julie Cobb. … It was kind of comfort time. It was very nice and very sweet.”