For nine seasons, Little House on the Prairie flickered across the screens in countless living rooms, and reruns of the series are still popular today. The focus was particularly on Michael Landon (†54) as head of the "Ingalls" family. His on-screen daughter Melissa Sue Anderson (58), who played "Mary", spoke about the relationship between the two.
Little House on the Prairie: Melissa Sue Anderson on Michael Landon
In a 1981 interview with People, Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Sue Anderson chatted about the close relationship with her colleague Michael Landon: "Mike was not so much a father figure as a big brother." Landon challenged her as an actress and the two grew closer and closer together.
In her biography The Way I See It: A Look Back At My Life On Little House, Melissa Sue Anderson also describes how Michael Landon played pranks on the set. That was probably also the reason for their more sibling-like relationship.
Michael Landon, who also worked behind the camera on the series, helped make the role of "Mary" bigger. In season four of Little House on the Prairie the "Ingalls" daughter went blind. Melissa Sue Anderson even earned an Emmy nomination for her acting skills. Still, she looked for other challenges. The good relationship with Landon also got a crack at the time.
After the affair between Michael Landon and Cindy Clerico (63), who later became his wife, the actor's reputation with his co-stars fell. Melissa Sue Anderson had a close relationship with Landon's wife Lynn Noe (87) at the time. In her biography she wrote:
"For us, as kids, it was a real blow. Although we knew he could be difficult at times and had his flaws, we never dreamed he was capable of inflicting that kind of pain on his real family. For me personally, I had held him up to a higher moral standard. He had really let me down," she recalled.
Since then, the friendship between the two colleagues had not been the same. In a 1981 People interview, Melissa Sue Anderson said of Michael Landon: "I don't see him as much, I think I've grown up, and Michael's whole life is changing —he's making some personal as well as professional decisions."
That wasn't the only friction there was on the set of Little House on the Prairie. There are quite a few secrets about the series that gradually came to light. But maybe that's exactly what makes the show so amazing...