Melissa Gilbert has been in the entertainment business for a long time and has had many co-stars — there has been one standout among all of them, however. Find out who Gilbert said was the “most influential and most fun” to work with during her entire career, from her Little House on the Prairie days.
Melissa Gilbert was a child actor
Melissa Gilbert got her start acting in commercials as a child before landing the role that would make her a household name: Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie in 1974.
During her time on the series, she also starred in The Diary of Anne Frank and The Miracle Worker. Following the series, she starred in TV movies and had guest-starring roles. She was also a contestant on season 14 of Dancing With the Stars.
On Little House on the Prairie, her parents were played by Michael Landon and Karen Grassle — and Landon, in particular, was an important part of her life.
Gilbert shared her thoughts on her famous co-star in her memoir Prairie Tale. “I’ve realized his influence on me extended beyond the set,” she wrote. “As a kid, I didn’t know he sipped vodka from his coffee mug … but I’m sure he’s one reason why, as a young adult, I almost always picked men who smelled like alcohol.”
Gilbert talked about Landon during a 2009 interview with Today as well. “To his credit, I never saw him get drunk, I never saw his personality change,” she explained. “He didn’t have that switch. I did later on when I began drinking. I would reach a point where that switch would flip and my personality would change — but Michael was able to maintain no matter what.”
She spoke fondly of him, sharing, “He was an amazing man, an amazing talent, an incredible director, actor, writer, a great boss, an incredible human being.”
Melissa Gilbert said this star was her favorite to work with
Not surprisingly, she has fond memories of working with Landon when she was a young girl.
During a 2014 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Gilbert answered fan questions, with one person wondering who her “favorite person to work with” over the course of her career has been.
Even though she’s been an actor for a long time and worked with many people over the years, Gilbert named Landon as her top pick, calling him the “most influential and most fun.”
“Oh that’s hard,” Gilbert started to say, adding, “I guess … the most influential would be Michael Landon and the most fun.”
“But I’ve had so many great co-stars over the years and I’ve worked with so many incredible people,” she added. “Like George C. Scott was amazing to work with and funny and wicked and wild and drunk and fantastic.”
Melissa Gilbert didn’t have a good experience with this ‘Little House’ co-star
For as great as her experience with Landon was, Gilbert said she didn’t enjoy working with the actress who played her sister on Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Sue Anderson.
She explained on Watch What Happens Live that she tried to be gentle in the way she described how difficult Anderson was to work with in her book.
“I’m going to phrase this in the gentlest way I can by saying that Melissa Sue Anderson and I were just not too awfully close ever, even for a moment,” Gilbert explained. “She was a hateful, horrid, mean, terrible, difficult … she hated me. She hit me. She knocked me off the wagon … elbowed me off of the covered wagon.”
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