“Little House on the Prairie” star Karen Grassle has made it well-known that she and her former co-star Michael Landon didn’t get along great. Their time working on the show together was fairly tumultuous, despite their family-first act. Grassle explains that at times, the tension was so great with her late co-star, that it felt as though it could be cut with a knife.
Opening up about her new memoir “Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House’s Ma,” the actress shares her struggles with sobriety, personal triumphs and her relationship with Michael Landon. While she famously portrayed Caroline “Ma” Ingalls opposite Landon, their interactions were not usually pleasant offset.
In an interview with Fox News, the “Little House on the Prairie” actress shared some of her thoughts.
“And the truth is, I had to let my guard down. I’m quite a private person. So I had to be willing to share a lot of my vulnerabilities about my family, my alcoholism, the trials that I went through doing “Little House.” A lot of things that I’ve never really discussed publicly. But it felt freeing. And I’m glad that I did it,” the actress says.
“Little House on the Prairie” Star Shares Landon’s Secret Dark Side
While Grassle didn’t initially love her character’s description, she trusted creator and star Michael Landon to guide her in the right direction. She credits him with that now. However, the actress says that Landon could be cruel, obscene and often “diminished her value.”
“It was so hard to go to work and know he was annoyed with you. You could cut the tension with a knife. And you felt he was probably saying things about you behind your back. He had a sense of humor and if he wanted to make fun of you, boy, you were skewered. He was very clever. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I kept going to work.”
Additionally, when Grassle asked for a raise after the show’s success, Landon told her no – which made the actress feel unvalued.
“I didn’t think it was all that tough because we were all worker bees. There was nobody on that set who was slacking around. Where it really got tough for me was when it was time for the second season. If you were on a hit series, it was common to renegotiate your contract based on its popularity. Michael did not want to give me a raise. He began to diminish my part, my value.”
Since that time, the “Little House” actress made it a point to reconcile with Landon prior to his death from pancreatic cancer years ago. But she includes his more bitter parts in her book because, as she says, it’s part of the story.