Little House on the Prairie Cast Photos After 50 Years: The 80s Nostalgic Series

Little House on the Prairie Cast: On March 30, 1974, the pilot episode of Little House on the Prairie premiered, showcasing the lives of people in the American Midwest in the late 1800s. Adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved books, this series captivated viewers with over 200 episodes over nine seasons, plus three TV movies.

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The show’s lasting charm lies in the ensemble cast who brought the characters of Walnut Grove to life. From the unwavering wisdom of Michael Landon’s Charles “Pa” Ingalls to Melissa Gilbert’s endearing portrayal of Laura, each actor contributed to the show’s legacy.

While some of its stars had long careers in Hollywood after the series wrapped, others returned to their theater roots or walked away from showbusiness altogether.

As Little House on the Prairie celebrates its milestone 50th anniversary in 2024, here’s a look at the cast, then and now.

Stay with this part of celebrities from the series of entertainment in Eternal Pen magazine.

Little House on the Prairie Cast

1-Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder

little house Melissa Gilbert

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Melissa Gilbert started acting at a young age and was cast as Laura Ingalls Wilder at 9 years old. She starred on the show for 10 years and her performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

“I have to say with 100 percent conviction that one of the greatest gifts of my life was being cast on Little House on the Prairie,” Gilbert said in a 2022 interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. “I got to grow up on a set with an incredible cast and crew. Everyone there is like a second family to me.”

During her time on Little House, Gilbert also appeared in two TV movies: The Miracle Worker in 1979 and The Diary of Anne Frank in 1980. In 1985, at 21 years old, she became the youngest actress to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She continued acting, appearing in over 40 made-for-TV movies.

From 2001 to 2005, she served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the third woman to hold this position. She has authored four books, including Prairie Tale in 2009, My Prairie Cookbook in 2014 and 2022’s Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, A Life Rediscovered.

Gilbert was married to Bo Brinkman from 1988 to 1994 and had her first son, Dakota, in 1989. She then married Bruce Boxleitner in 1995 and had her second son, Michael, named after Landon. However, they divorced in 2011. In 2013, she married Timothy Busfield and moved away from Hollywood to Michigan and later to the Catskills in New York. She is also the co-founder of Modern Prairie, a lifestyle company for older women.

Read more: What did the actors of Little House on the Prairie look like after 50 years?+Photos of the little girls of the series

2-Michael Landon as Charles “Pa” Ingalls

little house- Michael Landon

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Michael Landon, born Eugene Maurice Orowitz, was already a well-known star when he joined Little House on the Prairie, with notable roles in I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Bonanza. Landon not only played Charles, the head of the Ingalls family but also wrote, directed and produced the show.

After Little House on the Prairie, he was an actor and executive producer on Highway to Heaven. He played Jonathan Smith, a probationary angel sent to help people on Earth. The show ran for five seasons and reunited Landon with familiar faces from Little House, including Victor French, Richard Bull, Matthew Labyorteaux and Shannen Doherty.

Little House on the Prairie Cast: In April of 1991, Landon announced that he’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Shortly after, he told LIFE, “Death’s gonna have to do a lot of fighting to get me.” He died on July 1 of that year at the age of 54.

Landon had three marriages and nine children. His first marriage was to Dodie Levy-Fraser in 1956, and they had two children: Mark and Josh. They divorced in 1962. Landon then married Marjorie Lynn Noe in 1963 and had five children: Cheryl, Leslie, Michael Jr., Shawna and Christopher. They divorced in 1982. In 1983, Landon married Cindy Clerico, a makeup artist on Little House on the Prairie, and they had two more children: Jennifer and Sean.

3-Karen Grassle as Caroline “Ma” Ingalls

little house Karen Grassle

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Karen Grassle, born on Feb. 25, 1942, was a successful stage actor before becoming Caroline, the matriarch of the Ingalls family, in Little House on the Prairie. In 1982, Grassle left Little House on the Prairie, a year before the series ended. She later detailed her “up and down” relationship with costar Landon on set.

“When I came on the pilot, he was extremely kind and sensitive and a good director and really gave me a chance to find my legs because [TV] was a new medium for me,” she told PEOPLE.

“So I have to say it started out really, really great. It didn’t stay great,” she added, referring to the tension that grew after she asked for a pay raise for season 2. She later reconnected with Landon and reconciled before he died in 1991. “Mike and I ended on a positive note and I was so, so glad for that,” she said.

Little House on the Prairie Cast: After leading a theater company in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she joined the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky. She also appeared on TV shows like Murder, She Wrote and Hotel and played Mrs. Sutherland in the 1994 movie Wyatt Earp.

4-Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls

little house-Melissa Sue Anderson

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Melissa Sue Anderson played Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie from seasons 1 through 7. She later returned for three episodes in season 8.

During her time on Little House, she was nominated for an Emmy. She also made her feature film debut in the 1981 horror Happy Birthday to Me. She has since appeared in various movies and TV shows, including The Con Is On with Uma Thurman in 2018.

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Anderson wrote a memoir, The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House, released in 2010. In it, she shared behind-the-scenes stories from her time as Mary Ingalls and covered her career before and after Little House on the Prairie.

She married writer and executive producer Michael Sloan in 1990 after meeting him on the set of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. They have two children, Piper and Griffin. In 2002, they moved to Montreal, Canada, and became Canadian citizens in 2007.

Little House on the Prairie Cast

5-Alison Arngrim as Nellie Oleson

little house- Alison Arngrim

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Alison Arngrim played Nellie Oleson, a bully and main rival of Laura Ingalls. Initially auditioning for Laura and Mary, she ultimately played Nellie for seven seasons.

After Little House on the Prairie, Arngrim guest starred on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. She continues to pursue acting on TV and stage. Her solo show, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, premiered in New York in 2002 and has toured globally. In 2023, she mounted a new production of the play during the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Arngrim is also an author, stand-up comic, podcaster and cooking show host. Her memoir, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated, was released in 2010.

6-Rachel Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls

Little House on the Prairie Cast6

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Sisters Rachel Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush portrayed Carrie Ingalls on Little House and were credited as “Lindsay Sidney Greenbush” in the show’s opening.

After their final episode in 1982, Rachel Lindsay appeared in Matt Houston, while Sidney starred in the dramedy Hambone and Hillie. They also collaborated on commercials for Doublemint gum, Mattel and Kentucky Fried Chicken before leaving acting to focus on school.

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Rachel Lindsay met her husband, Danny Sanchez, on the Little House on the Prairie set. He lived nearby and would sneak onto the set to hang out with the rest of the cast and crew. In a Hallmark Home & Family reunion special, she told the story of how they first met and then reconnected 30 years later. In 2014, they married under the tree where they met for the first time.

7-Matthew Labyorteaux as Albert Quinn Ingalls

matthew labyorteaux- little house

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Matthew Labyorteaux first appeared on Little House on the Prairie in 1976 as a younger Charles Ingalls in flashbacks. He later joined the cast as Albert, the adopted son of Charles and Caroline, a character created for the series. Labyorteaux’s brother also appeared as Laura’s friend, Andrew “Andy” Garvey.

In an interview with Pop Culture Retro, Labyorteaux looked back at being cast in the series. “Little House on the Prairie, at the time … everybody wanted to work on it, they wanted to work with Landon, they knew it was such a family crew and cast, and it was something that everyone strove to work towards. I just got very lucky,” he said.

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Following Little House, he guest starred on The Love Boat and Night Court. He also starred in two short-lived TV series, The Red Hand Gang and Whiz Kids. In the mid-1990s, he transitioned to voice acting for animated series and video games, including providing the English voice for Jaden Yuki in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.

Labyorteaux married his wife, Leslie, in 2020 and is stepfather to her two children.

8-Jonathan Gilbert as Willie Oleson

Little House on the Prairie Cast8

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Jonathan Gilbert, the younger brother of Melissa Gilbert, played Willie Oleson, Nellie’s brother, in his first acting job. He appeared in all seasons of Little House on the Prairie and two of the TV movies. He also acted with his sister in the 1979 made-for-TV movie The Miracle Worker.

Gilbert left Hollywood at 18 to attend business school and now works as a stockbroker in New York, according to his sister’s memoir.

9-Katherine MacGregor as Harriet Oleson

Little House on the Prairie Cast9

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Katherine “Scottie” MacGregor, born Dorlee Deane MacGregor, played Harriet Olesen, Walnut Grove troublemaker and gossip — and mother to Nellie and Willie — from 1974 to 1983.

Prior to the show, she appeared in popular series like All in the Family and Ironside. After Little House on the Prairie, she returned to theater and mentored young actors before retiring in the early 2000s.

Little House on the Prairie Cast: MacGregor died in 2018 at the age of 93. Gilbert shared a tribute on Instagram, writing, “This woman taught me so much… about acting… vintage jewelry…life. She was outspoken and hilariously funny. A truly gifted actress as she was able to play a despicable character but with so much heart. Her Harriet Oleson was the woman our fans loved to hate.”

She added, “The thing people outside of our prairie family didn’t know, was how loving and nurturing she was with the younger cast.”

10-Richard Bull as Nels Oleson

Little House on the Prairie Cast10

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Richard Bull played Nels Oleson, husband of Harriet and father of Nellie and Willie, from 1974 to 1984.

A character actor with over 100 credits, he was the Doctor on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea from 1964 to 1968. He later returned to guest roles, including ER, Hill Street Blues and three episodes of Highway to Heaven, which reunited him with Landon. His final TV credit was in a 2011 episode of the Kelsey Grammer series, Boss.

Bull died in 2014 at 89.

11-Victor French as Isaiah Edwards

victor french-little house

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Victor French portrayed Isaiah Edwards in Little House on the Prairie, a mountain man who later settled in Walnut Grove. French appeared in over 50 episodes and all three TV movies. He also directed 18 episodes and the films Little House: Look Back to Yesterday and Little House: Bless All the Dear Children.

Little House on the Prairie Cast: The son of actor Ted French, he gained recognition as an actor and stuntman in TV and film westerns like Gunsmoke and Bonanza. In his final role, he reunited with Landon on Highway to Heaven. For five seasons, he starred as Mark Gordon, a retired police officer, and also directed 12 episodes.

French died on June 15, 1989, at 54, three months following a lung cancer diagnosis.

12-Kevin Hagen as Dr. Hiram “Doc” Baker

Little House on the Prairie Cast12

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Kevin Hagen joined Little House on the Prairie in 1974 as Walnut Grove’s town doctor and veterinarian Dr. Hiram “Doc” Baker

After Little House on the Prairie, he appeared on shows like General Hospital and Matlock. Hagen starred in the one-man show, A Playful Dose of Prairie Wisdom, based on Doc Baker.

He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2004 and died on July 9, 2005.

13-Dean Butler as Almanzo James Wilder

Little House on the Prairie Cast13

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Dean Butler portrayed the character Almanzo Wilder, who later married Laura. Almanzo, lovingly called “Manly” by Laura, also attracted the attention of Nellie Oleson and other young ladies in Walnut Grove.

Butler has appeared in multiple TV shows, including The New Gidget as Jeff ‘Moondoggie’ Griffin and Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Hank Summers, Buffy’s dad. On stage, he starred as Rapunzel’s Prince in the original Broadway production of Into the Woods.

A director and producer, Butler created bonus features for the Little House on the Prairie DVD collections and narrated a six-part documentary, The Little House Phenomenon. He also produced two documentaries, Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura.

Butler married actress Katherine Cannon in 2021. They first met in the 1980s when Cannon auditioned for Landon’s series Father Murphy. She is best known for playing Felice, Donna Martin’s mother, on Beverly Hills, 90210.

14-Jason Bateman as James Cooper Ingalls

Little House on the Prairie Cast14

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Jason Bateman joined the cast of Little House on the Prairie at age 12. He portrayed James Cooper Ingalls, the second adopted son of Caroline and Charles.

Bateman’s career grew in the 1980s with sitcoms like Silver Spoons, It’s Your Move, and The Hogan Family. He also starred in the film Teen Wolf, Too. In 2003, he landed the role of Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, earning two Emmy nominations. He has also ventured into drama, starring as Marty Byrde on the crime drama Ozark and directing nine episodes. In 2019, he won an Emmy Award for outstanding directing for a drama series for his work on the episode “Reparations.”

Bateman has been married to Amanda Anka, daughter of crooner Paul Anka, since 2001. They have two daughters, Francesca Nora and Maple Sylvie.

15-Shannen Doherty as Jenny Wilder

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Little House on the Prairie Cast: Shannen Doherty was cast as Jenny Wilder, Laura and Almanzo’s niece, in 1983.

Doherty went on to star in Our House and Heathers before landing the role of Brenda Walsh in Beverly Hills, 90210. Doherty later starred in the Kevin Smith film Mallrats and the TV series Charmed.

In 2023, the actor and director launched Let’s Be Clear with Shannen Doherty, a podcast that reflects on her life and career. “I wanted to be clear about what it was like for me to work with Michael Landon on Little House, what it was like to work with Wilford Brimley on Our House, to talk about the 90210 days. What was it like to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine when you’re in your early twenties? Charmed to Heathers and Mallrats,” she told PEOPLE.

Doherty has openly shared her experience of living with breast cancer since her initial diagnosis in 2015. She spoke with PEOPLE in a November 2023 cover story, revealing that the Stage 4 cancer has spread to her bones. “I’m not done with living. I’m not done with loving. I’m not done with creating. I’m not done with hopefully changing things for the better,” she said.

16-Kyle Richards as Alicia Sanderson Edwards

Little House on the Prairie Cast16

Little House on the Prairie Cast: Kyle Richards joined the cast of Little House on the Prairie in 1975, playing Alicia Edwards, the adopted daughter of Grace and Isaiah Edwards, for 18 episodes between seasons 2 and 8.

Other notable roles include Lindsey in Halloween and Nurse Dori Kerns in ER. Since 2010, she’s been a main cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, alongside her sisters, Kim Richards and Kathy Hilton.

Richards was married to Guraish Aldjufrie from 1988 to 1992. In 1996, she married Mauricio Umansky, a real estate agent in Los Angeles. They separated in 2023. She is a mom to four daughters: Farrah, from her marriage to Aldjufrie, and Alexia, ​Sophia and Portia from her marriage to Umansky.

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