‘Little House on the Prairie’: When Melissa Gilbert Was on the Receiving End of Michael Landon’s ‘Terrifying’ Anger

It’s no secret that Michael Landon could be a difficult leader on the set of Toilet on the Moor. He expected perfection and pushed his actors to delivery. It is also no secret that when his expectations were not met, he could become angry. Melissa Gilbert, the actress played by Laura Ingalls, remembers one particular moment that angered Landon.

Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls, Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, Karen Grassle as Caroline Ingalls, Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls
Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls, Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, Karen Grassle as Caroline Ingalls, Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls | NBCU Photo Bank

Melissa Gilbert first saw Michael Landon’s Temple on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Just off the back, Gilbert looked at Landon. At her first lab for Laura’s role, she was captivated by the actor’s charismatic personality and good looks. But when tossed as Laura, she caught sight of another side of Landon as she fired the pilot.

“When one of the other action reps asked us to play the shoeless opening scenes, Michael burst into it with a bark and a bite that made me stop and say to myself, Whoa, I pray to God that I will never have the end of that temper, ”She wrote the memoirs, Prairie story.

But after the third time Landon called a cut, he confronted Gilbert and gave her “a look that shook her up [her] spine. “When he asked the young actress if she knew her lines, she” missed him. “

“The tears are gone,” she wrote. “I was annoyed when I was looking for an explanation, but every word appeared on my tongue. Nothing came out but lamentation. ”

Michael Landon helped Melissa Gilbert learn her lines

“Give me a script and then everyone will go for a walk,” Gilbert recalled Landon telling the team.

Together, they crossed the screen and the young actress learned her lines.

“Feeling the clouds of the storm had passed, I got up and started walking away,” Gilbert wrote. “Suddenly Mike grabbed my arm, twisted me around, and looked at daggers straight into my eyes.”

“That doesn’t happen again, does it? ”He asked her.

And he never did.

But, today, Gilbert makes sure she’s always ready when she’s ready.

“Now, almost three and a half decades later, I can say that I have never been in sight of any unprepared project,” she wrote. “Mike would have expected so much from me. It taught me not to settle for anything less than my efforts, especially if I wanted it for others. ”

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