The Little House on The Prairie cast has definitely charmed everyone who tuned in to their small screen show set on a farm in Plum Creek near Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s best-selling series ‘Little House,’ the show first aired on March 30, 1974, with a two-hour motion picture pilot written by Blanche Hanalis. The series finally premiered on September 11 on the NBC network until May 10, 1982.
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After almost three decades after the show last aired, where is the cast of ‘The Little House on The Prairie’ now? Let’s find out!
Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder
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After stealing hearts as the iconic lead Laura Ingalls Wilder for almost a decade, Melissa continued to act and even became a celebrity contestant on Dancing With The Stars. In 2009, she penned her autobiography Prairie Tale: A Memoir. In the same year, in a twist on the role that made her famous, she played the role of Ma Ingalls in a touring musical production of Little House on The Prairie. She also pursued politics and ran as a Democratic candidate for Michigan’s 8th congressional district in 2016. Unfortunately, she had to drop off the race due to a previously sustained back injury.
Melissa just recently welcomed her new granddaughter Ripley.
Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls
With his rugged looks and gentle charm, Michael Landon definitely lit up the screen and became America’s favorite father figure as Charles Ingalls. But aside from acting, he also directed over 80 of the 204-episode-show. After leaving the show in the final season, he starred in another hit show, Highway to Heaven. He also focused more into writing, directing, and producing.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1991, and three months later, he lost the battle and died. He was 54.
Karen Grassle as Caroline Ingalls
An undiscovered newcomer, Karen Grassle’s first acting credit was Caroline Ingalls – the n0-nonsense mom of Laura. After her character ended its run in the show, she said goodbye to Hollywood and relocated to New Mexico, and opened Santa Fe’s Resource Theatre Company, where she served as the artistic director. Later on, she moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where she worked with the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
She mainly did theatrical productions, but she still continued booking occasional on-screen shows, including a feature film with Kevin Costner. She now enjoys most of her free time with her family.
Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls
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Before playing the eldest daughter of the Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson has already done roles on big name shows just like Bewitched and The Brady Bunch. And the professional level of acting definitely shone through as she gracefully handled the blind Mary Ingalls. She left the show after the seventh season and acted in several TV shows like The Equalizer, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Murder, She Wrote. And just like Melissa Gilbert, she also wrote a book about her time as Mary titled The Way I See It: A Look Back at my Life in a Little House.
She moved to Montreal, Canada, with her husband and two daughters in 2002. Then, she stepped off the limelight to focus on her family. Melissa didn’t also want her kids to feel pressured that they also need to pursue an acting career just like her.
Jason Bateman as James Ingalls
Unlike other Ingalls, the adopted son James was only on the show for two seasons and 21 episodes. Nevertheless, Jason Bateman was out to prove himself. After his run in the show ended, he went on to star in TV shows, including the hit comedy series Arrested Development, where he was best-known for his award-winning role as Michael Bluth. He also starred in the big screen with nearly 40 films to date, including Zootopia, Juno, Up in the Air, and Horrible Bosses.
He is currently doing a podcast with Will Arnett and Sean Hayes called SmartLess, which will have a limited live tour in 2022. The tour will kick off in Toronto’s Massey Hall on February 2, followed with stops in Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Madison, and will finally wrap up in Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theatre on February 12. The tour will also have a docuseries to be produced by Discovery+.
Alison Arngrim as Nellie Oleson
Known as the spoiled brat nemesis of Laura, Nellie Oleson was played by Alison Arngrim. And she is probably one of the best villain actresses of the small screen. According to Alison, she was abused as a child, and the liar and manipulative Nellie helped vent out all of her anger. After Nellie, she continued to act in TV, film, and even theater projects. She also wrote a biographical book, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Being Nellie Oleson and Learned To Love Being Hated.
And then she became a start-up comedian, which she is doing until now. And since the pandemic canceled all of her stand-up shows, she turned to an online platform known as Stageit, and she currently hosts her shows right at the comfort of her own living room.
Jonathan Gilbert as Willie Oleson
The troublemaking brother of Nellie Oleson, Willie, was played by Melissa Gilbert’s brother Jonathan. He played the role for the whole nine seasons of the show and in two out of the three made-for-television series based on the show. But after that, he stopped acting.
He earned an MBA in Finance and currently works as a stockbroker in New York City.
Richard Bull as Nels Oleson
Richard Bull played the role of Nels Oleson, father to the brat kid Nellie and the long-suffering husband of Harriet Oleson. He ran the Oleson’s Mercantile with his wife, and the two were always seen bickering with each other. After the show ended, he starred on many different shows, just like ER, Highway to Heaven, Boss, Designing Women, and many more.
Unfortunately, he died from pneumonia in 2014. He was 89.
Katherine MacGregor as Harriet Oleson
The gossip queen, Nellie’s mother, and Nel’s wife, Harriet Oleson, co-owned the Oleson’s Mercantile. Her role was intended to be an occasional guest character, but her humorous and mean-spirited performance was so well-received that she became a regular on the series. But after the Little House ended, so was her on-screen acting.
She decided to do theatre and taught children’s theatre before she died in 2018. She was 93.
Dean Butler as Almanzo Wilder
Of course, there’s always the heartthrob, and that was Almanzo for the Little House on The Prairie cast. He was the man that got Laura and Nellie into a mud wrestling fight. Eventually, he and Laura ended up together and lived happily ever after. After their story ended, he guest-starred in numerous TV shows just like Who’s the Boss?, The Love Boat, and Murder, She Wrote along with Melissa Sue Anderson. He also tried films and a few acts on Broadway.
Now, he has his own production company called the Legacy Documentaries, where he produced bonus content for the Little House on the Prairie series as well as two original documentaries Imanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura and Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder. He also produces other entertainment and sports programming.
Alison Arngrim, Dean Butler, Jason Bateman, Jonathan Gilbert, Karen Grassle, Katherine MacGregor, Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson, Michael Landon, Richard Bull