Little House on the Prairie

‘Little House on the Prairie’: One Actor Didn’t Know Who Michael Landon Was Before Auditioning for the Series

This “Little House on the Prairie” actress didn’t have to worry about being starstruck during her audition. She didn’t even know who Michael Landon was!

It’s funny to think about an actor who doesn’t watch television. After all, that is the main platform for their craft. Nevertheless, there are actors who don’t like watching TV. And “Little House on the Prairie” actress Karen Grassle, who played Caroline Ingalls on the show, is one of them. So, when her agent landed Grassle an audition for “Little House on the Prairie,” she didn’t even know who Michael Landon was. During an interview in 2020, Grassle talked about her audition for “Little House on the Prairie.”

“My agent sent me up for a series with this guy from Bonanza [Michael Landon]. I was not a big TV watcher, so I asked, ‘Which one is he?’ He said, ‘He’s Little Joe,’” said Grassle. “I was the only one at the interview — they’d seen everyone in Hollywood who was right for the part! They were down to the wire because they cast everyone else. After I read my second scene with Mike, he lept up like a jack-in-the-box and said, ‘Bring her to wardrobe!’ But NBC had to approve me, so he interviewed me for executives on closed-circuit TV.”

Perhaps not knowing who Michael Landon was helped Grassle during her audition. She didn’t have to worry about being starstruck while reading her lines!

‘Little House On The Prairie’ Saved Karen Grassle’s Life

It’s easy to think that famous celebrities were always well-off. But for many, that’s not the case. They don’t call them “struggling actors” for no reason! And Karen Grassle was certainly struggling before landing her role on “Little House on the Prairie.” She even wrote a bad check to catch a flight to an audition that fell through. During the same interview, Grassle opened up about her life before catching the role of her lifetime.

“I had spent a year in England, working with a Shakespeare company and teaching, and came back to the States flat broke,” said Grassle. “I was asked to fly to L.A. to play the lead in an independent movie, but when I got to the airport, there was no ticket! I’d sublet my apartment and my boyfriend was [with me], so I wrote a bad check to get one! But when I got to L.A., the movie fell through.”

Luckily, shortly after the incident, Grassle’s agent got her an audition for “Little House on the Prairie.” And the rest is iconic television show history.

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