Caroline Ingalls was not interesting according to Karen Grassle


Karen Grassle played a loving wife and mother on the hit TV series Little house in the meadow. While this role catapulted Grassle to stardom and provided cohesive work, she admits she didn’t find the character interesting when she first read the script. Here’s what Grassle said about his character on TV.

Karen Grassle on “The Little House on the Prairie”

Karen Grassle with Brenda and Wendi Turnbaugh as Grace Ingalls | NBCU Photo Bank

Grassle played Caroline Ingalls from 1974 to 1982. In her role as wife of Charles Ingalls (played by Michael Landon), her character nurtured the family and helped children grow into responsible young adults.

In his book, Bright lights, meadow dustGrassle says she based her TV character on her mother, Frae Ella Berry, because she reminded her of Caroline. She says her mother was the “living embodiment” of Caroline Ingalls “strength, dedication and intelligence”. According to Grassle, her mother rode to school and taught in a one-class school, just like Caroline.

Karen Grassle Didn’t Find Her TV Character Interesting

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Grassle admits that she didn’t find the Caroline Ingalls TV character interesting when she first read the script. While auditioning for the role, she says her agent told her to wear a dress and arrive without makeup.

During her interview for the role, Grassle shared the story of her Broadway debut and some of the misadventures she had early in her acting career. Once she got the part, she read the script for one of her first episodes. She said she thought Caroline was “not sexy” and “not at all shiny”. Grassle thought the character was “a bit of a drag” for Charles Ingalls’ character.

Grassle worried about the role. She was concerned that playing Caroline might cause problems when she wanted to pursue other roles. “It didn’t exactly sound like a star role or a character that would generate many spellbinding roles in other projects,” Grassle wrote.

Karen Grassle has learned to accept her role in “Little House on the Prairie”

Grassle had reservations about playing Caroline Ingalls, but she ultimately accepted her role. In her book, she says she remembered it was paid work. She could finally relax a bit and worry less about her income.

While Grassle was relieved to have a regular salary, she also considered how long she would be on the show. Now that she was on a TV series and not a Broadway show, she would have a longer engagement. Grassle wondered if she could continue working on the same project for years to come. She feared “being stuck in a TV series” where she played a “negative woman” who seemed “to have no sense of her own strength.”

Grassle weighed the pros and cons of playing Caroline Ingalls. However, she knew at the time that it would be too risky to audition for another role on television. She didn’t want to take the bet and start over. Grassle decided to be grateful for what she had and accepted the role.

Grassle says she gave herself a pep talk. “Take the damn part and be thankful for your work,” she said to herself. Grassle continued to star in Little house in the meadow for eight seasons.

RELATED: “The Little House on the Prairie”: the hilarious way Karen Grassle was greeted by the twins who played Carrie Ingalls

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