Little House on the Prairie stands as one of the most beloved shows from the ’70s. And it starred some seriously memorable characters. While Michael Landon made a splash as Charles Ingalls, Karen Grassle played his on-screen wife, Caroline Ingalls.
Grassle never expected to make it big via Little House on the Prairie, but she found a ton of success from the show. After she left it all behind, it seems she had difficulty getting additional roles, though. Here’s what she said.
Karen Grassle talked about how difficult auditioning as an actor is
Making it big as an actor is incredibly difficult work, and it didn’t come easy for Grassle. She spoke with interviewer Carolyn Jackson back in 1978 about navigating the acting landscape.
“I’ve been scared at lots of auditions,” Grassle admitted to Jackson. “And I don’t know that I was any more scared at [Little House on the Prairie] than at lots of others where I either did or didn’t get the part.”
Grassle noted the Little House crew went “out of their way” to make her comfortable during the audition process, but such is not typically the case.
“Many times an actress waits with many women in a room, all of whom look similar, at least coloring, and, oh, it’s excruciating,” Grassle continued. “You sit there and you think, ‘I should’ve worn that. Oh, look at that nose, I mean, she’s perfection.’ And you do this number on yourself by comparing yourself to other people. It’s just devastating to your ego before you go in.”
Grassle took a chance on getting her ‘Little House on the Prairie’ role
During her interview with Jackson, Grassle continued on by explaining how perfect her audition went for Little House. “It was fantastic,” she said. “I already felt good.”
Getting the Little House audition wasn’t smooth sailing, though. Fox News notes Grassle told Closer Weekly she didn’t have much money to spare prior to getting the part. “I had spent a year in England, working with a Shakespeare company and teaching, and came back to the States flat broke,” she explained.
As for how Grassle ended up in Los Angeles prior to her Little House audition, she initially was supposed to lead in independent film — but that fell through. “I was asked to fly to LA to play the lead in an independent movie, but when I got to the airport, there was no ticket,” she explained. “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 LA, the movie fell through.”
After that, she connected with Michael Landon, and she interviewed for the show.
Grassle had trouble getting roles after the show
Grassle left Little House at the same time as Landon. And the show only lasted a year after their departure. As for Grassle’s acting career, she wasn’t completely finished with it after her starring role as Caroline Ingalls. But she did have trouble getting typecast.
“A lot of scripts were sent to me with people who wore a bun,” she said, according to Fox News.
Not only were the roles she was offered more or less the same, but she also stated it was tough finding acting work. She ultimately shifted her focus to her home life. “I did [have trouble getting roles after], but my priorities shifted because I wanted a family, so I was putting less energy into acting than I was into figuring out how to be a stepmom and have a child,” she added.
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