Michael Landon’s Daughter Read This Moving Quote from ‘Little House on the Prairie’ at His Funeral
Little House on the Prairie creator and star Michael Landon died in 1991 from pancreatic cancer. Renowned for his role as Charles Ingalls from 1974 to 1983, Landon brought heartwarming storylines to life for nine seasons on the historical drama.
One standout two-part episode included some words that Landon’s daughter Leslie felt would best memorialize her father at his funeral service.
Patricia Neal starred in a 2-part ‘Little House’ storyline
Melissa Sue Anderson played Mary Ingalls, one of Charles’ daughters, on the series. She recalled getting the opportunity to work alongside an Oscar winner in season 2.
“Mike [Landon] wrote and directed ‘Remember Me’, a two-part episode guest-starring Patricia Neal,” Anderson wrote in her 2010 book, The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House. “These shows were well written and well acted and stood out as two of our best of season 2.”
Anderson noted that while Neal needed for some help with her lines due to a health issue, the guest star was the ultimate professional.
“Patricia Neal played the widow Julia Sanderson in this episode,” the Little House alum explained. “I was very excited to be working with an actress of her caliber. She used a teleprompter while she worked with us, because the stroke she suffered somewhat earlier affected her ability to memorize dialogue. It certainly didn’t affect her acting ability! She did a wonderful job in this role.”
‘Remember Me’ concluded with some memorable words
In “Remember Me,” Julia gets diagnosed with terminal cancer and has to find a home for her three children – John (Radames Pera), Carl (Brian Part), and Alicia (Kyle Richards). She enlists Charles to help her find suitable parents for her kids. Charles must try to keep the siblings together rather than have them adopted separately.
The two-part story concludes with his good friend Isaiah Edwards marrying his sweetheart Grace Snider, with the couple adopting the three Sanderson kids after Julia’s death. Anderson described the final scene in her book.
“After the vows are exchanged, Isaiah picks up Alicia, and the camera freezes on her face as she hugs him,” Anderson wrote. “Patricia Neal’s voice is heard saying the words her character wrote:
‘Remember me with smiles and laughter,
For that’s the way I’ll remember you all.
If you can only remember me with tears,
Then don’t remember me at all.'”
Leslie Landon honored her dad with ‘Little House’ quote
Landon left behind quite a legacy after his death in 1991. His longtime friend and business manager, Dennis Korn, recalled a request from the actor in his final days.
“Several days before he knew he was going to die, Mike pulled me aside and told me, ‘I don’t want a big production at the funeral,'” Korn said in Marianne Rittner-Holmes’ book Kent McCray: The Man Behind the Most Beloved Television Shows. “‘I want my crew up front with my family. I don’t care about anybody else.'”
Korn made sure that Landon’s last wishes were granted. Landon’s daughter Leslie chose to honor her dad’s memory using his own words from one of Little House’s most moving episodes.
“Mike’s daughter, Leslie Landon Matthews, spoke at the service,” Landon’s friend and Little House producer Kent McCray shared. “She read an excerpt from an episode Michael had written for Little House. ‘Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.'”
McCray added, “It’s almost as though he wrote it for himself.”