During the 1970s, the television series “Little House on the Prairie” became very popular thanks in large part to the ensemble cast that included Melissa Sue Anderson.
The actress was the only person in the series to be recognized with a nomination for an Emmy for her performance. Surprisingly, though, following her time on the show, she was never able to successfully launch an acting career.
Anderson was born in Berkeley, California, in the United States of America on September 26th, 1962. She and her older sister Maureen made the journey to Los Angeles when she was just seven years old.
During her time in Los Angeles, Anderson made the acquaintance of a talent agent who was instrumental in securing roles for her in a number of television shows, including “The Brady Bunch” and “Shaft.”
Landon, the show’s director, saw potential in the little girl and cast her in the series “Little House on the Prairie” when she was 11 years old. After another three years, her parents got a divorce.
Anderson maintained a relationship with her father, James, who was the proprietor of a gas station in Orange County, despite the fact that she lived with her mother, Marion. Anderson had a strict Catholic upbringing, which led to her being quiet and fearful of engaging in social activities with her contemporaries.
In addition, she had private tutoring for the majority of the time she spent in school. At the age of 18, Anderson moved out of her mother’s condo in Burbank and into her own house in the San Fernando Valley, which had two bedrooms.
Anderson disclosed that in contrast to the well-behaved persona the ensemble demonstrates on film, where everyone believes that they are like one big family, behind the scenes, the majority of the cast members did not get along.
Anderson revealed that portraying her character in the series was a chore for her because it seems the authors had nothing but negative storylines in store for the role she played in the show.
In addition, the actress clarified that the show’s director, Michael Landon, did not serve either as a father figure or a big brother to her, contrary to what most people believed.
It’s likely that he was insecure, dealing with marriage problems, and making important professional decisions all at the same time, and that’s what caused the barrier between them.
Despite the fact that their relationship had become strained, the actress admitted that she respected him, and the two of them were able to patch things up before Landon’s untimely loss from pancreatic cancer in 1991. Anderson and her co-star Melissa Gilbert also had a rivalry that was quite similar to that of siblings.
Anderson has stated that she is prepared to resume her acting career now that her children have reached their teenage years.
Tensions between the two actors, who played sisters in the show, increased after Gilbert started landing roles in other series, such as “The Miracle Worker,” and Anderson was stuck playing a blind girl on “Little House on the Prairie.” The pair had previously portrayed sisters in the show.
Gilbert, a previous co-star of Aderson’s who is now a guest on “Watch What Happens Life” on Bravo, expressed her disgust with the actress during her visit to the show. Gilbert said:
“She is a difficult, hateful, horrible, and mean person who is dreadful. I was her sworn enemy. When I was nine years old, she caused me to go off the wagon.”
Anderson, for her part, admitted that she and Gilbert had a contentious relationship. The actress stated that she did not have any memories of the two of them, with the explanation that their personalities are completely dissimilar.
She also disclosed that one of her other co-stars in the series, Alison Arngrim, was really sweet yet shy when they first began filming their scenes together.
Arngrim overcame those thoughts and is now making a successful career out of the role of Nasty Nelly that she performed on “Little House on the Prairie.”
Anderson and Sinatra Jr. first crossed paths in 1979, when both were appearing as guests on an episode of “Love Boat.” Anderson was 19 years younger than Sinatra Jr. did not talk down to Anderson, who was just 17 years old at the time, but instead paid attention to what she had to say.
Additionally, the actress provided assistance to him during times of need, and it was not long before the two of them started dating. But despite the fact that their romance didn’t last long, Anderson claims that they were the greatest of friends and loved one other right up until he passed away.
Michael Sloan, a writer and producer, and Melissa Anderson tied the knot in the year 1990. One year later, the couple became parents for the first time to a girl named Piper. In 1996, the couple welcomed their second child, a son named Griffin.
Anderson’s children were born in the 1990s, prompting her to redirect her attention away from a career in the film industry and onto motherhood. The actress purposefully avoided the public eye so that her children would not be thrust into the limelight of Hollywood because of her career.
The actress claims that keeping her family out of the public eye has helped her children develop normally and that none of them have any interest in pursuing a career in show business.
The couple made the move to Canada in 2002, and by 2007, both the actress and her husband had obtained citizenship in the country. While the actress was working on the NBC miniseries “10.5: Apocalypse,” the couple experienced a romantic awakening in the city of Montreal, which is located in Canada.
Anderson has stated that she is prepared to return to acting now that her children have reached their teenage years. An autobiography titled “The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House” was published by the mother of two children in the year 2010.
The actress also participated in a reunion to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the television show “Little House on the Prairie.” She did so alongside a number of her former co-stars, including Melissa Gilbert, Karen Grassle, and Alison Arngrim, among others.
Since the funeral service for the show’s director Michael Landon took place in 1991, this event would be the first time that the majority of the cast would be getting back together.
As they watched themselves in old footage, the cast experienced a lot of strong feelings. Some of the celebrities, like Melissa Gilbert, were seen crying during the show.
Arngrim shared that it was difficult to shake off the role of the evil she played in the series and that she was once pelted with a cup of orange soda; nonetheless, people adore her now.
Landon Jr., son of the late Michael Landon, was also present at the reunion. He noted that his late father made a great deal of sacrifice for the success of the show, but he still managed to get home in time for dinner.