Sunday, February 6, 2011

Melissa Sue Gilbert who played Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie

Melissa Sue Gilbert was born Melissa Ellen Gilbert on May 8, 1964 in Los Angeles, California.  She is best known for playing the role of Laura Ingalls on the TV show Little House on the Prairie.

Melissa Gilbert who played Laura Ingalls on the TV show Little House on the Prairie

Melissa got her acting start doing commercials.  In 1967 she made her uncredited film debut in The Reluctant Astronaut co-starring Don Knotts, Leslie Nielsen, Joan Freeman, and Joan Shawlee.  Gilbert made her first guest appearance on a TV show five years later in the series Gunsmoke starring James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, and Ken Curtis. That same year she appeared in Emergency! co-starring Randolph Mantooth, Kevin Tighe and Julie London.

In 1974 Gilbert would land the role of Laura Ingalls in the TV show Little House on the Prairie.  She would co-star with Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls), Karen Grassle (Caroline Ingalls), Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls), Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls), Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Jonathan Gilbert (Willie Olsen), Victor French (Isaiah Edwards), and Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey). Although Alison Arngrim and Gilbert were onscreen foes, in real life they are best friends. Actor Jonathan Gilbert who played Nellie Oleson's little brother Willie, was in real life Melissa Gilbert's brother. Melissa would play the role of Laura Ingalls until the show ended in 1983 and would extend the role in several made for TV "Little House" movie specials.

The cast of Little House on the Prairie in the early years. Front: Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls), Lindsay/Sidney Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls) Back: Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls), Karen Grassle (Caroline Ingalls), Melissa Sue Gilbert (Laura Ingalls also called "half-pint" by Charles Ingalls)
Melissa Sue Gilbert (Laura Ingalls with the family dog Jack) from Little House on the Prairie
Melissa Gilbert who played Laura Ingalls on the TV show Little House on the Prairie

During her time on "Little House", Gilbert would also star in Circus, Lions, Tigers and Melissas Too co-starring Melissa Sue Anderson (1977); Christmas Miracle in Caufield, U.S.A. co-starring Mitch Ryan, Kurt Russell, John Carradine, Andrew Prine, and Rossie Harris (1977); The Love Boat starring 
Gavin MacLeod, Lauren Tewes, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Jill Whelan, and Ted Lange (1978); Nutcracker Fantasy co-starring Christopher Lee, Jack Angel, Eva Gabor, Joan Gerber, Mitchell Gardner, Michele Lee, Roddy McDowall, Dick Van Patten, and Jo Anne Worley (voice, 1979); The Miracle Worker co-starring Patty Duke, Diana Muldaur, Charles Siebert, Stanley Wells, and her brother Jonathan Gilbert (1979); Little House Years co-starring the regular show cast (1979); The Diary of Anne Frank co-starring Maximilian Schell, Joan Plowright, Doris Roberts, and James Coco (1980); and Splendor in the Grass co-starring Cyril O'Reilly, Eva Marie Saint, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ned Beatty (1981).

Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls), Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls), Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) of the TV show Little House on the Prairie

Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary), Lindsay/Sidney Greenbush (Carrie), Melissa Gilbert (Laura) the Ingalls sisters of the TV show Little House on the Prairie
Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) in the later years of the TV show Little House on the Prairie

After Little House on the Prairie, Gilbert would go on starring in shows and movies such as Choices of the Heart co-starring Peter Horton, Helen Hunt, Mary McCusker, Pamela Bellwood, Mike Farrell, and Martin Sheen (1983); Little House: Look Back to Yesterday (1983); Little House: The Last Farewell (1984); Little House: Bless All the Dear Children (1984);  Sylvester co-starring Richard Farnsworth, Michael Schoeffling, Constance Towers, and Arliss Howard (1985); the video Drug Free Kids: A Parents' Guide with Jane Alexander, Ned Beatty, Marla Gibbs, Elliott Gould, and Ken Howard (1986); Choices co-starring George C. Scott, Jacqueline Bisset, and Laurie Kennedy (1986); and The Penalty Phase co-starring Peter Strauss, Jonelle Allen, Jane Badler, Millie Perkins, Karen Austin, and Mitch Ryan (1986).

Melissa Gilbert circa late 1980s

Gilbert also appeared in Blood Vows: The Story of a Mafia Wife co-starring Joe Penny, Talia Shire, Anthony Franciosa, and Eileen Brennan (1987); Killer Instinct co-starring Woody Harrelson, Lane Smith, Fernando López, Marco Rodríguez, and Anne Betancourt (1988); Ice House with Bo Brinkman, Buddy Quaid, Katie Wagner, and Andreas Manolikakis (1989); and Chameleons co-starring Crystal Bernard, Jaime Alba, Jerry Boyd, and Jim Antonio (1989); 

Melissa Gilbert circa late 1980s

In the early 1990s, Melissa starred in Without Her Consent co-starring Scott Valentine, Bebe Neuwirth, Barry Tubb, Crystal Bernard, Brooke Bundy, Madison Mason, Julie McCullough, and Robin Riker (movie); Forbidden Nights co-starring Robin Shou and Victor Wong (1990); Joshua's Heart co-starring Tim Matheson, Lisa Eilbacher, Matthew Lawrence, Debra Mooney, and Jack Blessing (1990); Donor co-starring Jack Scalia, Pernell Roberts, Wendy Hughes, and Michael Boatman (1990); The Lookalike co-starring Diane Ladd, Jason Scott Lee, Frances Lee McCain, and  Irene Ziegler (1990); and The Hidden Room starring Mimi Kuzyk, Yannick Bisson and Don Francks (1991).

Melissa Gilbert, not the little "half-pint" from Little House on the Prairie any more

Melissa Gilbert

In 1992, Gilbert landed the role of Rochelle Dumphy on the TV series Stand By Your Man co-starring Rosie O'Donnell, Miriam Flynn, and Sam McMurray.  The show only lasted for 6 episodes before being cancelled.

Melissa Gilbert circa early 1990s

Mellissa would continue on starring in With a Vengeance co-starring Dixie Lee Sedgwick, Matthew Lawrence, Roger Aaron Brown,  Jack Scalia, Michael Gross, John Cullum, and Russell Johnson (1992); and Gilbert begain doing voice work in the animated  series Batman as Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) co-starring Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (1992-1994);

Melissa Gilbert circa mid 1990s

Melissa Gilbert circa mid 1990s

Gilbert would go on to star in Family of Strangers co-starring Patty Duke, Martha Gibson, Gordon Clapp, Eric McCormack, Ashleigh Aston Moore, Tasha Simms, and William Shatner (1993); With Hostile Intent co-starring Mel Harris, Holland Taylor, and Peter Onorati (1993); Shattered Trust: The Shari Karney Story co-starring Kate Nelligan, Ellen Burstyn, Kenneth Welsh, Shirley Douglas, Patricia Kalember, and Henriette Ivanans (1993); House of Secrets co-starring Bruce Boxleitner, Michael Boatman, Cicely Tyson, Kate Vernon, and John Henry Scott (1993); Dying to Remember co-starring Scott Plank, Christopher Stone, Jay Robinson, Ted Shackelford, and Kat Green (1993); The Babymaker: The Dr. Cecil Jacobson Story  co-starring Shanna Reed, Shannon Lawson, and Tom Verica (1994); Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story co-starring Marlee Matlin, Peter Frechette, Pat Hingle, Joe Inscoe, Elaine Nalee, and Tammy Arnold (1994); and Cries from the Heart co-starring Patty Duke, Bradley Pierce, Markus Flanagan, Roger Aaron Brown, and Shelley Morrison (1994).

Melissa Gilbert circa mid 1990s

In the late 1990s, Melissa would appear in Sweet Justice starring Allison Smith, Jill Gable, Will Radford, and Jim Antonio (1995); Zoya co-starring future husband Bruce Boxleitner, Zane Carney, Taryn Davis, David Warner, Diana Rigg, and Denise Alexander (1995); Babylon 5 starring Mira Furlan, Richard Biggs, Andreas Katsulas, Claudia Christian, Bruce Boxleitner, and Stephen Furst (1996); A Holiday for Love co-starring Tim Matheson, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jayne Eastwood, and Travis Tritt (1996); Seduction in a Small Town co-starring Dennis Weaver, Brian McNamara, G.W. Bailey, Joely Fisher, and Joel Palmer (1997); Childhood Sweetheart? co-starring Michael Reilly Burke, Barbara Babcock, Ronny Cox, Rutanya Alda, Stephanie Erb, Ed Lauter, Jeanine Jackson, Derek Webster, Cissy Wellman, and Janet Wood (1997);  The Outer Limits starring Kevin Conway, Alex Diakun and Eric Schneider (1998); Murder at 75 Birch co-starring Gregory Harrison, Vyto Ruginis, Wendel Meldrum, Jack Blessing, Judith Scott, Melissa Pace, and Liliana Cabal (1998); Her Own Rules co-starring Lorraine Pilkington, Jeremy Sheffield, Ginny Holder, Lorraine Pilkington, Dorian Healy, and Jean Simmons (1998); Touched by an Angel co-starring Roma Downey, Della Reese and John Dye (1998); The Soul Collector co-starring Bruce Greenwood, Ossie Davis, Todd Allen, Scotty Leavenworth, Buck Taylor, and Hilary Duff (1999); and Switched at Birth co-starring Rosanna Arquette, David Andrews, James McCaffrey, and Mary Mara (1999).

Starting off the new millennium Melissa would star in A Vision of Murder: The Story of Donielle co-starring Thomas Ian Griffith, Maria Conchita Alonso, Kimberly Hawthorne, Shauna Kain, Randi Lynne, Sarah-Jane Redmond, and Rip Torn (2000); and Sanctuary co-starring Chris William Martin, Leslie Hope, Costas Mandylor, Kenneth Welsh, Robin Brûlé, and Kristen Ross (2001).

In 2001, Gilbert was elected President of the Screen Actors Gild.  She would serve until 2005 when she resigned. 

She would appear in Providence starring Melina Kanakaredes, Mike Farrell and Paula Cale (2002); Presidio Med starring Paul Blackthorne, Jocelyn Rose and David Kaufman (2002); Then Came Jones co-starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Ariel Gade, Spencer Garrett, Dennis Ambriz, Kate Norby, and Chandra West (2003); Storyline Online (2003); Hollywood Wives: The New Generation co-starring Farrah Fawcett, Robin Givens, Pascale Hutton, Kandyse McClure, Robert Moloney, and Jack Scalia (2003); Adoption co-starring Jane Seymour (2003); and Heart of the Storm co-starring Tom Cavanagh, Brian Wimmer, Marcus Lyle Brown, Ritchie Montgomery, Azure Parsons, and Veronica Russell (2004).

Melissa Gilbert
Melissa Gilbert circa mid 2000s

Gilbert finished off the 2000s starring in Thicker Than Water co-starring Brian Wimmer, Lindy Newton, Grainger Hines, Ryan Carnes, Lindsay Wagner, and Sondra Currie (2005); Fat Actress starring Kirstie Alley, Bryan Callen, Kelly Preston, and Rachael Harris (2005); 7th Heaven starring Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Beverley Mitchell, Mackenzie Rosman, David Gallagher, and Jessica Biel (2005); Nip/Tuck starring Dylan Walsh, Julian McMahon, Joely Richardson, and John Hensley (2006); Sacrifices of the Heart with Cyril O'Reilly, Terry Maratos, Chase Wilmot, Scott Atkinson, Blake Lindsley, Christopher Murray, Lisa Pelikan, Amy Halloran, and Ken Howard (2007); and Safe Harbour co-starring Brad Johnson, Liana Liberato, Rebecca Staab, Michael DeLorenzo, Idalis DeLeon, Katie Walder, Kate Vernon, and Kathleen Noone (2007).

Melissa Gilbert circa 2006
Melissa Gilbert today

Lately, in 2008 Melissa Gilbert began starring on stage in the musical Little House on the Prairie.  Only this time around she starred as Caroline Ingalls.  The troupe went on tour throughout the United States in 2009-2010.

Melissa Gilbert now

Melissa Gilbert and husband Bruce Boxleitner in 2010


  1. i have watched little house on the praire since it started and i loved your status on it, to this day im still watching it as ive got a few of the dvds of it, i have my own son watching it and he also loves it............michael landon was one of the best......r.i.p.

  2. I so love watching Little House on the Prairie watching it on True Entertainment so lovely as used to watch it with my Da who now has Dementia!! Happy memories