On screen, Little House on The Prairie’s Ma and Pa were the picture of marital bliss — but off-camera, there was no love lost between stars Michael Landon and Karen Grassle.
Nearly 40 years after the nine-season hit show ended, Grassle, now 79, has revealed that she and Landon, who died in 1991, were hardly enamored of one another — and in fact, he could be quite cruel.
Grassle, in her memoir, recalled the ‘disgusting jokes’ Landon used to tell on set, how he mocked her appearance, and that he swore she should not be paid more than the children actors on the show. The show began airing in 1974.
Revealed! Little House on The Prairie’s Ma & Pa were the picture marital bliss onscreen, but off-camera, there wasn’t any love lost between Karen Grassle & Michael Landon
Not a fan: Grassle, now 79, has revealed that she and Landon, who died in 1991, were hardly enamored of one another — and in fact, he could be quite cruel
The behind-the-scene tidbits are revealed in her book, ‘Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House’s Ma’
The behind-the-scene tidbits are revealed in her book, ‘Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House’s Ma,’ according to the New York Post.
Grassle, who played Caroline Ingalls, described Landon — who starred as Charles Ingalls and also directed and produced the show — as an ‘amazing, multi-talented person’ with a controlling streak.
She said, “He was very strung but he was carrying all the weight of the show’ on his shoulders.”
She doesn’t believe that was an excuse for his behavior.
The relationship seems to have deteriorated after Grassle, who was earning $2,000 to $4,000 weekly at the height her fame, requested a raise for the second series.
Landon said no, reportedly saying she should be making as much as the child actors — and insisting she wasn’t as popular as she believed she was.
After Grassle, the relationship seems to have become rocky. Landon asked for a raise for Season 2. Landon denied the request, reportedly saying that she should be paid as much as the child actors.
She said that she felt insulted by her co-star in a hit series. “I didn’t want anyone to gouge, but I expected a fair salary.”
Vindictive? She said that he cut her scenes and left her out of the storylines.
She said that she felt insulted by her co-star on a hit show. She said, “I didn’t want to gouge anyone, but I expected fair wages.”
She explained that he then cut her scenes and left her out entirely of the storylines.
He could also be cruel, mocking her body and facial expressions to crew members — but Grassle didn’t feel she could call him out.
She said that it was almost like she was frozen. “But, as a woman working in the 1970s film industry, it was so common for me to hear these putdowns that I never thought to sharply rebuke them. I maintained my professionalism. I’d be the good girl, play the part and hope.’
What’s more, he made crude remarks, using nasty language like ‘c**t’ on set and making ‘There are some disgusting jokes about what a woman smells like after sex.
Not nice: He could also be cruel, mocking her body and facial expressions to crew members — but Grassle didn’t feel she could call him out
R-rated: What’s more, he made crude remarks, using nasty language like ‘c**t’ on set and making ‘ disgusting jokes about how a woman smelled after sex’
Many of Landon’s co-stars and colleagues have had kind words about him over the years, but Grassle is not the first to make critical remarks.
Melissa Sue Anderson, the actress who played Mary Ingalls had her own comments about her life in her book, “The Way I See It: a Look Back at My Life at Little House.”
She wrote that Mike was a great father in everything she saw. He was controlling at work and could sometimes be mean. He would target certain people and tease them publically and relentlessly.
“He could also be vindictive. I recall him telling me that the main reason he decided on blowing up Walnut Grove at Little House was to ensure that no one else would ever have access to our sets.
After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Landon was diagnosed at 54 and died in 1991.