I have dug up as much dirt as Wikipedia, Popeater, IMDB, and People Magazine will reveal on the lives of the actresses who portrayed the Ingalls sisters on Little House on the Prairie (LHotP). Normally, reading about former child stars makes me feel a little sad, but all four of these women went on to have interesting, fulfilling careers (especially the Greenbush twins!), so I don’t feel at all put out by having read about their post-LHotP adventures.
Starring as Laura Ingalls on LHotP earned Gilbert a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and she’s continued to be very active in the industry since the show, having starred in approximately 40 TV movies and served as president of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms (2001 ““ 2005). Interesting credits include Nip/Tuck, Babylon 5, Zoya (a mini-series about a Russian countess who emigrates to America in 1917), and 7th Heaven (which is funny, because that wholesome family drama was a bit like my generation’s LHotP–if Little House was super-preachy and went steeply downhill in its last 3 or 4 seasons).
[pullquote]Gilbert is such a trooper that her back was literally broken for months while she was performing in the show.[/pullquote]
Most recently, Gilbert wrote a memoir called Prairie Tale (2009) and played Ma Ingalls in the musical Little House on the Prairie, which toured the U.S. from fall 2009 until summer 2010. Fun Fact: Gilbert is such a trooper that her back was literally broken for months while she was performing in the show, and she didn’t find out how serious her condition was until the musical closed and she finally saw a doctor. She had disc replacement surgery July 22, and, according to her Twitter, is doing well (btw, her Twitter page is very entertaining and she includes pictures of her cat and one of her sons dressed up as Renfield for a school play).
After LHotP, Anderson was the less successful of the Melissas, acting-wise. This surprised me a little, because she was the only LHotP castmember to be nominated for an Emmy (and she actually won an Emmy for starring in a 1979 ABC Afterschool Special titled “Which Mother is Mine?”).
Still, Anderson also got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has quite a few credits listed on IMDB after LHotP, including a guest spot on The Love Boat in 1986. Fun Fact: both Anderson and Gilbert guested on a few episodes of The Love Boat in 1978, but they were never in the same episode together. Interesting credits for Anderson include Murder She Wrote, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and a stint as the voice of “Snake” in Animated Stories from the Bible (color me surprised–Mary had a pretty voice, not a snakey voice!).
[pullquote]I stumbled across IMDB’s “Happy Birthday to Me,” which stars Anderson as a popular schoolgirl who just might be murdering all of her friends during mysterious blackouts.[/pullquote]
Fair warning: I laughed for minutes when I stumbled across IMDB’s “Happy Birthday to Me,” which stars Anderson as a popular schoolgirl who just might be murdering all of her friends during mysterious blackouts. But if you are sensitive about maintaining your memories of sweet, blonde Mary, you might not want to click through. Since the movie was made in 1981, it appears to be one of the first things Anderson did after LHotP, so maybe she just wanted a massive change of scenery?
According to Wikipedia, Anderson briefly dated Frank Sinatra, Jr. (who was twice her age) in 1979, but now is married to actor Michael Sloan, with whom she has two children. Anderson has lived with her family in Montreal, Canada since 2002. She also has a memoir of her time on LHotP out, titled The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House.
The twins who played Carrie Ingalls have a joint Wikipedia page, but separate, very interesting lives. After LHotP, they briefly pursued more acting gigs, including Sidney’s role in Hambone and Hillie, Lindsey’s guest spot on Matt Houston, and a few commercials (see them at :41 in this 1980 DoubleMint Gum commercial). Together they graduated Santa Monica High School in 1988.
[pullquote]Sidney went on to get her Associate’s degree in animal medicine, then successfully compete in professional women’s rodeo.[/pullquote]
Sidney went on to get her Associate’s degree in animal medicine, then successfully compete in professional women’s rodeo, where she became a well-known barrel racer. According to IMDB, Sidney also trains horses on her ranch in Little Rock, CA. Additionally, she makes jewelry and has an Etsy shop, which currently doesn’t have anything for sale, but you can view some of her pieces on the twins’ website.
According to IMDB, Lindsey worked at a ski resort in New Mexico from 1993-95, and she has a daughter named Katlynn. She was a horse trainer in California as of 2001, and currently volunteers for Kid Gloves Boxing Foundation. Lindsey has taken up boxing herself, and, according to her website, participated in an amateur boxing match on August 4, 2007 and is working towards her personal trainer certification. Lindsey has a MySpace, and I LOL’ed at what she wrote in as her favorite television show: “The Waltons(NOT! as IF! jk) wanted to see if you were paying attention”¦”