‘Little House on the Prairie’: How ‘Miserable’ Abuse in Michael Landon’s Childhood Formed the Actor

Michael Landon
Michael Landon Bruce Birmelin Photo Bank / NBCU

The legacy of the late Michael Landon in television is explained by the iconic and positive life programs in which he was involved: Bonanza, Toilet on the Moor, and Highway to Heaven.

He and actress Karen Grassle highlighted their status as a parent in their portrayal of Charles and Caroline Ingalls and their children on screen enjoyed upbringing.

For Landon himself, according to a Toilet co-star, her childhood was “absolutely miserable.” His creativity and artistry as an actor, director, and producer, this cast companion, was born out of that trauma.

Here is what they had to say.

Landon’s childhood was miserable and miserable

according to Cheryl, daughter of Landon, his mother was “mentally unstable” and “often committed suicide in front of her. ”

Landon co-star Alison Arngrim, who Nellie Oleson watched on the series, explained how the instability of the actor’s parents struggled with religious struggles.

His father was of the Jewish faith and his mother was a Christian. Through their union, Arngrim wrote in her book Prairie confession B * tch, the actor suffered from a childhood marked by “religious conflict, involving ugly battles over his upbringing.”

Arngrim described his mother ‘s lack of warmth with her son, specifically determined how she dealt with Landon’ s problem with bed weaving.

Michael Landon in 1965
Michael Landon in 1965 | Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

“Michael wet the bed,” wrote Arngrim. “His mother severely punished him for this, even though it was a medical problem and not under his control.”

Actress Nellie Oleson revealed that Landon’s mother went so far as to hang her dirty sheets out of his bedroom window, “knowing that the school bus had been pulled up in front of their house. ”

To avoid embarrassing his mother, Landon would wake up as early as possible “to take the sheets down the street to the local Laundromat and wash them, then return home without his mother’s knowledge. ”

Landon’s mother apparently opposed his religion

Ingalls with a church view in 'Cottage on the Moor'
The Ingalls in a church scene in ‘Toilet on the Perry’ | NBCU / NBCUniversal Photo Bank via Getty Images via Getty Images

Arngrim wrote that she had heard “go on [Little House‘s] set ”that Landon’s mother was opposed to the adoption of his father’s Jewish religion.

“When [Michael] finally getting permission for a bar mitzvah, his mother pulled him out of the party room and she smiled, ‘I just want you to know when you were a kid, that I was on your baptism. So this is just a lot of fun! ”Said Arngrim.

Saying she “felt terrible for [Landon]On hearing this account, Arngrim noted that she had not lost her temper. “Now, here it is, every week, standing up in the church with the Rev. Alden, happily play “Onward Christian Soldiers.” What on earth would it look like? ”

Landon’s temple was explained by its poor construction

Michael Landon, right, and Melissa Sue Anderson in a scene from 'Little House on the Prairie', 1976
Michael Landon, right, and Melissa Sue Anderson in a scene from ‘Little House on the Prairie’, 1976 | NBCU Photo Bank

In his television movie The Loneliest Runner, Landon finally told the story of his hard start. Thrown was Mary Ingalls actress Melissa Sue Anderson. Being part of the project and hearing Landon ‘s story helped her to understand it more, as Anderson remarked, The way I see it: A look back at my life on the toilet.

“Mike was a great father from everything I’ve seen,” she said. “But at work, eh there were controlling it, and it could mean at times. He would put some people out and watch them publicly and persistently.

“I have said that Mike was insecure,” he said Toilet write alum. “Probably The Loneliest Runner explaining why. • Grown up in an environment of anxiety and hardship. … I attribute this behavior directly to the way he grew up. I don’t think a person comes out of such a childhood unknowingly and without real trouble for the psyche. ”

Scroll to Top