Melissa Gilbert or Melissa Sue Anderson: Which ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Has a Higher Net Worth?

Little House on the Prairie aired for the first time in 1974 on NBC. The show’s premiere introduced audiences to Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson. After spending most of their formative years in television and movie auditions, the child actors booked the parts of sisters Laura Ingalls and Mary Ingalls, respectively. 

Years after Little House ended, both leading ladies went on to work on other projects. So-which of them has a higher net worth? Here’s what we know. 

Melissa Gilbert in a pink dress and blue bow with pigtails/Melissa Sue Anderson in a white dress.
(L-R): ‘Little House on the Prairie’ stars Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls|NBC/NBCU Photo Bank, NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson weren’t friends during ‘Little House on the Prairie’ 

Gilbert and Anderson both started their acting careers at a young age. Born in Los Angeles on May 8, 1964, the Miracle Worker star’s parents, Paul Gilbert and Barbara Crane booked her with an agent in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Soon, she landed dozens of commercials. Also, she started booking guest spots on television shows such as Gunsmoke and Emergency!

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Like Gilbert, Anderson grew up in California and was born on Sept. 26, 1962. While she was a child, her mother, Marion Anderson, sent her on auditions. She eventually landed several commercials for companies such as Mattel and Sears. The actor also appeared as a supporting cast member on The Brady Bunch, Bewitched, and Shaft in the early ‘70s. 

In 1973, the on-screen sisters auditioned for Little House on the Prairie. According to Gilbert’s memoir, Prairie Tale, Michael Landon selected Anderson as Mary Ingalls before she auditioned for Laura. However, the Bonanza alum sent her audition tape to NBC, and they hired her to play the show’s central character. Although Gilbert made several close friends on the show, including Nellie Oleson actor Alison Arngrim, she said Anderson was “cold” and “distant” on set. 

“For whatever reason, we never had a real sisterly kinship,” Gilbert wrote. “She was a strikingly pretty girl, and I wasn’t, at least I didn’t think so. As we got older, she was the girl everyone wanted to marry, and I was the plucky one they wanted to go fishing with.”

They both wrote memoirs about their time on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ 

Anderson left Little House on the Prairie in 1981. While she faced several rumors that she was leaving the show because of the cast, she profusely denied them. According to UPI, the Love Boat actor needed to branch out into other roles and grew tired of Mary’s storylines. After appearing on television in guest roles on shows such as Murder, She Wrote, Anderson took a break from acting to raise her children.

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In 2010, she released a memoir about her time at Little House. In the book, titled The Way I See It, Anderson discusses being a child star and working with Landon. However, she infamously left her relationship with Gilbert out of the memoir. When asked why she didn’t mention their rumored feud, she said they were never close while filming Little House

One year before Anderson’s memoir, Gilbert released Prairie Tale. The autobiography gave the actor’s fans an insight into her feelings about playing Laura Ingalls. She also talked about her relationship with Rob Lowe and her previous marriages to Bo Brinkman and Bruce Boxleitner

Who has the higher net worth?

Anderson has a higher net worth than Gilbert. In addition to her memoir and roles after Little House on the Prairie, the Mary Ingalls actor married The Equalizer writer and producer Michael Sloan in 1990. According to Celebrity Net Worth, The Far North star is worth an estimated $1.5 million.

RELATED: ‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Said the Cast Didn’t Have Any ‘Mugshots’ Because They Were Afraid of Michael Landon

Gilbert landed smaller roles after spending nine seasons on Little House on the Prairie. In the 1990s, she voiced the part of Batgirl in Batman: The Animated series. The actor also branched out into stage acting and played Ma Ingalls on an Off-Broadway production of the long-running series. She has a reported net worth of $500,000.