Caroline “Ma” Ingalls was everyone’s favorite mother in the 1970s. The Little House on the Prairie character was the embodiment of love, kindness, and intelligence. Ma was the glue that kept her frontier family united. And for that reason, she became iconic.
So it’s no surprise that Caroline Ingalls went down in history as one of the most beloved TV moms of all time. People still tune into old episodes just to watch her on-screen charm.
And Caroline’s actress Karen Grassle feels “honored” to have played such a legendary character for nine years.
As the actress told Fox News, she based Ma’s personality off of her real-life mother, so it’s heartwarming that so many strangers loved the character. But Grassle admitted that it took some time before she realized “the depths of people’s affections for her.”
And all these years later, fans still reach out to tell Karen Grassle how much they love Ma, which makes her proud.
“It’s been very gratifying,” she shared. “And I’m awfully lucky.’
‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Karen Grassle Credits a Friend for Saving her Life
Little House on the Prairie star Karen Grassle battled alcoholism throughout most of her adult life. And the struggle was something that nearly ended her life.
As the actress detailed in a memoir titled Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House’s Ma, there was a point where she hit rock bottom. But thanks to a childhood friend, Grassle pulled herself out and got help.
“My friend Toni, who I’ve known since we were 7 years old, confronted me and told me I needed help,” Grassle told Fox News. “There was no way for me to wriggle out of it. She knew me… I couldn’t fight the truth of what she was saying. After our conversation, it just took one more bad night where I fought with a friend – a very dear friend of mine.”
Hearing the truth hurt. But it was exactly what Karen Grassle needed to change her life. And after spending one hellish night feeling sorry for herself, she woke up and had an epiphany.
“I went home sobbing full of self-pity. I felt everything in my life was wrong and everyone was turning against me,” she continued. “The next morning, I woke up and said, ‘I must never take another drink, no matter what happens.’ I did think that my life would fall apart. I thought I might lose my job. I definitely might lose my boyfriend… But it was such a blessing.”
Thanks to Toni, Karen Grassle has been sober for 44 years. She took her last drink in June of 1977.