For nearly a decade, actress Melissa Gilbert starred alongside “Little House on the Prairie” actor and producer Michael Landon, who played her on-screen father, Charles Ingalls. Across nine seasons of the classic TV historical drama, we often watched through Charles’ (Pa’s) eyes as his daughter Laura, played by Melissa Gilbert, grew up and matured into a beloved teacher and nurturing wife. Now, decades following both the series’ conclusion and Landon’s death, Gilbert is revealing some of the “incredible memories” she has of her “Little House on the Prairie” costar that still make her “smile.”
The actress and author recently shared some of those memories during an interview with Fox News following the release of her latest publication, Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, a Life Rediscovered.
“I have so many incredible memories of [Michael Landon],” Melissa Gilbert shared with the outlet.
But, when Fox asked which Michael Landon memories might have influenced some of the writing within Melissa Gilbert’s latest publication, she responded, “Right now, just hearing his name, the first thing that came to mind was him sending me to catch a little frog by the creek so he could pop it in his mouth. He would go over and say hi to a group of fans that would stand by the side of the set and let the frog jump out of his mouth at them. That was Michael Landon.”
What makes that particular memory so significant is, truthfully, if you’ve watched the majority of “Little House on the Prairie,” we could see Pa doing just that for Laura and her siblings just to get a laugh.
‘Little House on the Prairie’ Influenced Melissa Gilbert’s Current Lifestyle
After finding fame as a child star in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Melissa Gilbert found herself trapped within the expectation of Hollywood glitz and glamor. For years, she chased Botox and plastic surgery as a way to remain youthful. Now though, following the release of her brand new book, the former Laura Ingalls Wilder actress shared how the hit TV series influenced her current lifestyle.
“I hear from people a lot, especially young women, how they wished they’d had a childhood like Laura’s was portrayed on ‘Little House on the Prairie,’” Gilbert began. “Even though I played her, I also wished for the same thing.”
Wish hard enough and those dreams might just come true. Or, at least, that seems to be the lesson here.
The author and actress continued, “It took a global pandemic for me to find that lifestyle…I’d always wanted to have land, to have chickens, to have a garden. To be somewhat independent in many different ways, to also contribute to the plan.”
Amid the pandemic and within her new book, Melissa Gilbert revealed the inspirations behind her and her husband’s move to an isolated cabin in the Catskill Mountains, sharing how her life now compares to that of her longtime character.
“I think that being on the show inspired me to have this life that I have now…One hundred percent,” Gilbert concluded.