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“For me, little House on the Prairie method “home” in the truest sense of the word.”

Melissa Gilbert in My Prairie Cookbook

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Melissa Gilbert’s beforehand Years

Melissa Ellen Gilbert to be born may 8, 1964, in Los Angeles, California, and adopted by dancer and actress, Barbara Crane, and her husband, comedian Paul Gilbert. Her parents later adopted again, a son called Jonathan, who would go on come play Willie Oleson, Nellie Oleson’s brother on “Little residence on the Prairie.” (1)

Melissa Gilbert’s early on Acting Career

Although most of us identify Melissa’s surname from her function as Laura Ingalls Wilder ~ above “Little residence on the Prairie,” she constantly says she was born come perform. She recalls one of her earliest storage from around two and also a half years the age, where she recited her father’s stand-up routine together with him if he was on stage performing. (2) Her very first job was v Carter baby apparel at only two years of age. Few of her an initial television work were in commercials such together this funny commercial because that Alpo dog food. Ironically, this commercial was shot v Lorne Greene, that played Michael Landon’s father in the long-running television hit Bonanza.

Melissa Gilbert, Alpo Commercial, 1979

She i graduated to episodic television job-related with an figure in “Gunsmoke” in 1972, whereby she played the daughter the a pioneer family. Her following television appearance remained in the hit clinical drama, “Emergency.” and also then came an opportunity that would adjust her life forever.

Melissa Gilbert in “Emergency”

Little house on the Prairie

Melissa Gilbert was one of plenty of girls who auditioned for the function of Laura Ingalls ~ above “Little house on the Prairie.” however as you have the right to see in Melissa Gilbert’s display test below, and also according to Ed Friendly and Michael Landon, over there was not a more perfect candidate the part. They knew instantly the she to be “the one.” The exclusive screen test is a testimony to the incredible talent the the then 9-year old Melissa and also the prompt bond she mutual with Landon.

Melissa Gilbert’s screen Test because that “Little home on the Prairie”

“I review for the in a room in ~ Paramount Studios. I remember thinking, “Oh gosh, he’s yes, really handsome.” He provided off a different kind of energy than plain people. It to be a greater wattage. I’d been about stars and thought nothing of it, yet Michael to be different, and also that difference was tangible without him having to speak or carry out anything. It was a power, a mix that charisma and confidence that influenced other people.” – Melissa Gilbert (3)

The pilot show was shot in 1973 and also saw overwhelming success. Because that 9 full seasons and several special episodes, throughout 11 years, Melissa Gilbert warmed the mind of numerous fans together Laura Ingalls. She appeared in 190 of the 204 episodes. It is fairly amazing come think about how young Melissa was as soon as she landing her component on the show and also that she was nearly 20 years-old as soon as the display ended in 1984.

“Little home on the Prairie,” Season 1, illustration 2, nation Girls

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Many that the actors and also actresses make an affect on Melissa and also even helped her construct her very own acting style. She remembers admiring Karen Grassle and also watching her warm-up routine with fascination. Victor French was a favorite and also often took the time to game the kids in between shoots. Scottie MacGregor, the actress that played Mrs. Oleson, had actually a strong point of check out as an actress.

Many world may not understand that Melissa Gilbert do an prompt connection and friendship v Alison Arngrim top top the collection of the show. However, Alison played the character of Nellie Oleson, and also their characters’ relationship on the display was far an ext tumultuous.

Ten time Nellie Oleson gets What She Deserves

“Little house on the Prairie” will never ever truly end due to the fact that it stays on in each of us who experienced it, whether you operated on the display or watched the on television. It’s impossible for me come tell wherein Half-Pint ends and also Melissa begins. That is the real blessing for me. I had actually the opportunity to live out every little girl’s fantasy, mine included. And also I acquired to do that surrounding by the loving arms of my Prairie family.” Melissa Gilbert (4)

Beyond tiny House

Nearing the end of “Little house on the Prairie,” Melissa also appeared in several popular television films, consisting of “The Diary of anne Frank” and also “The miracle Worker.” after ~ “Little home on the Prairie” finished in 1984, Melissa continued her job in television. In 1983, Melissa landing the leading duty as Jean Donovan in “Choices of the Heart” and in 1986 starred through George C. Scott and also Jacqueline Bisset in the television movie “Choices.”

Melissa Gilbert in “The wonder Worker”

In 1985, Melissa obtained a star on the Hollywood to walk of Fame because that her countless contributions to the tv industry, one of the youngest actresses to ever be awarded a star. Melissa walk on come guest star in “Babylon 5,” and also detailed the voice the Batgirl in the 1990s “Batman: The man Series.”

Melissa was chosen president of the screen Actors Guild in 2001 and also continued together president with 2005. In 2008, Melissa went from the screen to the stage, starring as Caroline “Ma” Ingalls in the production of Little home on the Prairie, the Musical. Who better to play Ma than the girl who spent 11 years playing her daughter! A couple of years later, she join “Dancing with the Stars” in 2012.

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In 2009, Melissa released her engaging autobiography, Prairie Tale: A Memoir, Melissa traces her complicated journey indigenous the sweet freckle-faced Laura “Halfpint” Ingalls to Hollywood starlet, wife, and mother. She reveals exactly how she partied through the Brat Pack, negative boys choose Billy Idol, dated heartthrobs like Rob Lowe, and began a self-destructive pattern of addiction and also co-dependence. Eventually, Melissa concerned the realization the her job on television had earned her admiration, respect, and love from numerous people, yet that she didn’t feel the same about herself.

“To me, in ~ forty-four year old, my publication was a find for truth and identity.” Melissa Gilbert (5)