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Old 11-04-2021, 02:27 PM   #1
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Default Karen Grassle accuses on-screen husband Michael Landon of bullying her on set

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/a...el-Landon.html
  • Grassle, 79, who played 'Ma' Caroline Ingalls on the show, which began airing in 1974, shares stories of her time on set in her upcoming memoir
  • She said Landon, who directed, produced, and starred in the show as Pa, wouldn't pay her more than the child actors
  • After he refused her a raise, she claims he cut her scenes and wrote her out of storylines
  • She recalled him making jokes about her body and her facial expressions to crew and using foul language on set
  • He also made 'disgusting jokes about how a woman smelled after sex,' she said

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On screen, Little House on the Prairie's Ma and Pa were the picture of marital bliss — but off-camera, there was no love lost between stars Michael Landon and Karen Grassle.

Nearly 40 years after the nine-season hit show ended, Grassle, now 79, has revealed that she and Landon, who died in 1991, were hardly enamored of one another — and in fact, he could be quite cruel.

In her upcoming memoir, Grassle recalls the 'disgusting' jokes Landon would tell on set, how he'd mock the way she looked, and that he 'insulted' her by insisting she shouldn't be paid more than the child actors on the show, which began airing in 1974.

The behind-the-scene tidbits are revealed in Grassle's book, 'Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House's Ma,' according to the New York Post.

Grassle is most known for her role as Caroline Ingalls on the NBC drama, which ran on NBC from 1974 to 1982.

The show was based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiographical book series by the same name, and tells the story of Ingalls' family's life on a farm near Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s through 1890s.

Though the series dealt with some very serious subjects including alcoholism, poverty, racism, addiction, cancer, and even rape, it's considered wholesome family viewing — which makes some of Grassle's revelations about what went on behind the scenes quite shocking.

Landon — who starred as Caroline's husband Charles Ingalls and also directed and produced much of the show — created the series after starring in Bonanza.

Grassle described him as an 'amazing, multi-talented person' — with a controlling streak.

'He was very highly strung, but he was carrying the weight of the show on his shoulders,' she said.

But she doesn't seem to think that was any excuse for some of his behavior.

The relationship appears to have grown rocky after Grassle, who was paid $2,000 to $4,000 week at the height of her fame, asked for a raise for the second season.

Landon said no, reportedly insisting she should be making as much as the child actors — and insisting she wasn't as popular as she believed she was.

'I felt insulted as his co-star on a hit series,' she said. 'I didn't want to gouge anybody, but I expected a fair wage.'

After that, she said, he began cutting her scenes and leaving her out of storylines altogether.

He could also be cruel, mocking her body and facial expressions to crew members — but Grassle didn't feel she could call him out.

'It was almost like I was frozen,' she said. 'But, as a woman in the 1970s film industry, I was so accustomed to these putdowns, it never occurred to me to sharply rebuke him. I kept up the professionalism. I’d be the good girl, play the part and hope.'

What's more, he made crude remarks, using nasty language like 'c**t' on set and making 'disgusting jokes about how a woman smelled after sex.'

Many of Landon's co-stars and colleagues have had kind words about him over the years, but Grassle is not the first to make critical remarks.

Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls, had her own comments in her book, 'The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House.'

'Mike was a great father from everything that I saw,' she wrote. 'But at work, he was controlling, and he could be mean at times. He would single out certain people and tease them publicly and relentlessly.

'He could also be vindictive. I remember him telling me the main reason he decided to blow up the town of Walnut Grove at the end of Little House was so that no one else would ever be able to use our sets.'

Landon died at age 54 in 1991 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

In December, Deadline reported that a Little House reboot was in the works from Anonymous Content, Paramount Television Studios, and Friendly Family Productions.
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Old 11-11-2021, 02:51 AM   #2
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Little House on the Prairie's Ma Ingells actress: Michael Landon would boast about his sex life with teen stand-in who became his wife

Actress Karen Grassle, who played Caroline “Ma” Ingalls on Little House, recalls working with Landon in her new memoir, Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Life, Loss and Love from Little House’s Ma, which will be released next Tuesday. Grassle writes that Landon wouldn’t shut up about the wondrous effects of a natural supplement he’d recently started taking to improve his sex life. “Mike began to arrive jubilant at the makeup table, crowing about the benefits of bee pollen for the aging male,” Grassle writes. The cast soon learned that Landon was bragging about his sex life while having an affair with Cindy Clerico, a stand-in who was then 18 years old and more than 20 years Landon's junior. Landon married Clerico in 1983, eight years before his death.
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Old 11-11-2021, 03:08 AM   #3
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I am not surprised. ML always acted like he was a playboy. Melissa Sue Anderson already stated some of these things in her own book, and some things were even confirmed by Melissa Gilbert and Allison Arngrim in their books.

It is, of course, sad that Karen had to endure this harassment. But not at all a shock.
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Old 11-11-2021, 09:39 PM   #4
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I've read negative things about ML over the years, but nothing so graphic and crude.
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Old 11-13-2021, 11:20 AM   #5
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There are many stories about Michael Landon treating people like crap, including co-workers and fans. I heard one story that an elderly woman asked him for an autograph at a swimming pool. He told her that he charged $5 for an autograph and watched her go around the swimming pool deck begging for change until she came back to him with $4.00+ in nickles and dimes to ask him if it was enough. He then roared with laughter saying he was only kidding but he let her make a fool of herself for his amusement.
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Old 11-13-2021, 07:14 PM   #6
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There are many stories about Michael Landon treating people like crap, including co-workers and fans. I heard one story that an elderly woman asked him for an autograph at a swimming pool. He told her that he charged $5 for an autograph and watched her go around the swimming pool deck begging for change until she came back to him with $4.00+ in nickles and dimes to ask him if it was enough. He then roared with laughter saying he was only kidding but he let her make a fool of herself for his amusement.
I hadn't heard this story, but to be honest, that sounds exactly like something Michael Landon would do. Like, I can even hear the laugh.
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Old 11-20-2021, 10:25 PM   #7
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Jerks are jerks. He simply had an outlet to come across as a nice man. My ex sounds like his double.
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Old 12-15-2021, 03:10 PM   #8
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He also was really bad to the actor who played Doc Baker. The actor wanted a contract which would give him a stead paycheck and a raise and feel like part of the cast. Michael refused and refused to make him a full time cast member which would have allowed him to have benefits even though his character was in so many episodes. So he was paid peanuts for each episode with no contract to allow him to keep working.

Michael was close to the actor who played Mr Edwards but when he did Carter Country, Michael swore to never let him back on Little House. He took it personal.

Michael supposedly drank vodka every day on the set. Not always the best guy to be around and he treated people poorly.
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Old 12-15-2021, 03:30 PM   #9
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He also was really bad to the actor who played Doc Baker. The actor wanted a contract which would give him a stead paycheck and a raise and feel like part of the cast. Michael refused and refused to make him a full time cast member which would have allowed him to have benefits even though his character was in so many episodes. So he was paid peanuts for each episode with no contract to allow him to keep working.
I hadn't heard that, but there are many echoes of what other cast members, including Karen Grassle, have said about their pay.

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Michael was close to the actor who played Mr Edwards but when he did Carter Country, Michael swore to never let him back on Little House. He took it personal.

Michael supposedly drank vodka every day on the set. Not always the best guy to be around and he treated people poorly.
The drinking clearly led to many of these other problems.
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Old 12-15-2021, 06:04 PM   #10
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Many years ago Howard Stern pointed out the myth of Michael Landon. He was born Jewish but hid that and promoted Christianity. He cheated on all his wives and had so many divorces, etc. Howard made the comparison to himself how much he was hated yet he never cheated on his wife and was a private family man. He compared himself and said he was the opposite of Michael Landon where Howard was a good family man but because of his shock jock persona people thought he was a horrible person. Michael Landon played an incredible father and moral character on so many shows so people assumed that is how he led his life. He sipped vodka from a coffee cup every day on the set of Little House and treated everyone poorly.

Didnt he also refuse to let any cast member be nominated or accept an emmy?
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Old 12-15-2021, 06:51 PM   #11
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He also was really bad to the actor who played Doc Baker. The actor wanted a contract which would give him a stead paycheck and a raise and feel like part of the cast. Michael refused and refused to make him a full time cast member which would have allowed him to have benefits even though his character was in so many episodes. So he was paid peanuts for each episode with no contract to allow him to keep working.

Michael was close to the actor who played Mr Edwards but when he did Carter Country, Michael swore to never let him back on Little House. He took it personal.

Michael supposedly drank vodka every day on the set. Not always the best guy to be around and he treated people poorly.
These are the stories I remember reading about, although he did let Victor French back onto LH (I think) and he did HTH with him, so I guess he ended up forgiving him.

It's clear the ML had a lot of issues that he never got help for. It seems like he self medicated with alcohol, with food, with work, to avoid some torment that plagued his mind. He claimed his mother was abusive and cruel to him. He made a couple of movies about that abuse, one of which I saw on YouTube a few years ago, and it really gives you insight into the mind of ML, maybe insight that you don't really want to have. It's really one sided and the end seems like a child's fantasy of how that cruelty is dealt with.

But rethinking Karen Grassle being paid as much as the kids...I would hope that at least Melissa Gilbert was well paid for her role, since she was pretty much the star of the show. If Karen Grassle was paid as much as MG, that would be okay, you would think. But I suppose in that TV era people were not paid very well.
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Old 12-15-2021, 09:45 PM   #12
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Many years ago Howard Stern pointed out the myth of Michael Landon. He was born Jewish but hid that and promoted Christianity. He cheated on all his wives and had so many divorces, etc. Howard made the comparison to himself how much he was hated yet he never cheated on his wife and was a private family man. He compared himself and said he was the opposite of Michael Landon where Howard was a good family man but because of his shock jock persona people thought he was a horrible person. Michael Landon played an incredible father and moral character on so many shows so people assumed that is how he led his life. He sipped vodka from a coffee cup every day on the set of Little House and treated everyone poorly.
Yeah, everyone has said variations of the same thing: that he could be hard to work for, made crude jokes, and didn't always treat people well. The womanizing got to the point where Melissa Gilbert stopped speaking to him, outside of work.

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Didnt he also refuse to let any cast member be nominated or accept an emmy?
That I don't believe is true. Melissa Sue Anderson was nominated for an Emmy during Season 4.
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Old 12-16-2021, 04:37 AM   #13
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It seems as though if a performer (or crew person) was one of his faves, he'd have given them the moon on a platter but could turn on folks on a dime if he felt that they were trying to get too big for their britches.

Irony is that between his boozing and crudity, he sounded like someone Pa Ingalls would have beaten up for not acting sober and civil in front of Ma and the girls!
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:18 AM   #14
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I have also read stuff on ML being cruel to people. A former housekeeper said ML would make fun of her and belittle her. I am a little shocked on some of this I am now reading about ML. Wow!
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Old 12-16-2021, 06:27 AM   #15
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He also was in love with himself. In Alison's book, he took great care to film those shirtless scenes just right

He was a genius with direction and creativity but walked over everyone and took great pleasure in minimizing people. Getting back to the original allegation on this thread, its insulting to pay your co-star as much as child actors and then cut her scenes because she asked to be treated equal.

He was notoriously cheap in paying people to work for him. Alison wrote in her book how upset she was when Nellie was written out of the show because she wanted the character to have and ending with the show. When they asked her back for one last episode (Nellie comes home) she rejected the offer and said if you want me my price is double. Sure enough her price was met and she got paid a fair wage and also got to finally close out the character on the show.

Last edited by BestTVever; 12-16-2021 at 07:32 AM.
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