Karen Grassle drops bomb about Michael Landon, says he made “disgusting” jokes on set of Little House

Karen Grassle’s Memoir Reveals Tensions with Michael Landon on “Little House on the Prairie” Set

Karen Grassle, renowned for her role as Caroline Ingalls in the iconic TV series “Little House on the Prairie,” has shed light on the less rosy aspects of her time on the show in her upcoming memoir. While many actors have previously praised the on-set atmosphere, Grassle’s revelations suggest a more complicated relationship with the show’s star, Michael Landon.

The historical western drama “Little House on the Prairie” remains a beloved show, still airing in over 100 countries since its premiere in 1974. Grassle played a pivotal role as Caroline Ingalls, also known as “Ma,” alongside Landon.


Grassle’s journey to becoming an integral part of the show was marked by a stroke of luck. At the time when “Little House on the Prairie” was casting for roles, Grassle was involved in another project. However, due to a twist of fate involving a failed movie project, she found herself auditioning for the role of Caroline Ingalls.

Youtube/The Bobbie Wygant Archive

Despite not being an avid TV watcher and considering Michael Landon as just “this guy from Bonanza,” Grassle’s audition impressed Landon. He personally advocated for her to be cast as Caroline. The show’s success and popularity soon followed, catapulting Grassle and the rest of the cast into the limelight.

Getty Images

Initially, Grassle’s relationship with Landon was positive. He was supportive and provided her with opportunities to acclimate to the new medium of television. However, this harmonious relationship eventually soured.

As the show gained widespread acclaim, the actors sought better compensation. Grassle, feeling that she deserved more, attempted to renegotiate her contract. This led to a heated dispute with Landon, who was resistant to pay her more. The disagreement strained their relationship and had a lasting impact on their interactions on set.

Youtube/Melissa Sue Anderson Fan

Grassle’s memoir alleges that Landon made demeaning comments about her and suggested that she shouldn’t earn more than the child actors on the show. These actions left Grassle feeling insulted and unheard as his co-star.

Furthermore, she claims that Landon engaged in body-shaming and mocked her expressions in front of the crew. Due to the era and industry standards at the time, Grassle felt unable to confront him directly about these actions. Instead, she chose to maintain professionalism and hope for a better working environment.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

While Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls, also mentioned Landon’s challenging behavior on set in her own book, Landon was regarded as a complex figure who could be both controlling and kind. His passing in 1991, after a battle with pancreatic cancer, marked the end of an era.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Karen Grassle’s memoir provides a candid glimpse into the dynamics behind the scenes of “Little House on the Prairie,” shedding light on the complexities of working in the entertainment industry during that era.

Getty Images

home policy contact us about us