Why Alison Arngrim Called Michael Landon "One of the Biggest Walking Contradictions" in 'Little House on the Prairie'

Alison Arngrim gained to stardom after Michael Landon cast her in Little House on the Prairie as the vile Nellie Oleson. Working closely with Landon for seven seasons on the historical drama, Arngrim saw that he possessed many different characteristics. Michael Landon had a challenging upbringing.

In her memoir, Arngrim described how Landon's upbringing was vastly different from the Little House home he portrayed. His character Charles Ingalls was the ideal husband and father, despite never having experienced parental kindness as a youngster. 

Arngrim said in her book, Confessions of a Prairie, that Charles and Caroline Ingalls (portrayed by Karen Grassle) symbolized for all of America the ultimate perfect parents, and their children enjoyed the happiest childhoods. Michael's childhood, however, had been totally awful. Arngrim reported that Landon's self-proclaimed Christian mother was abusive. She frequently disagreed with Landon's Jewish father on the religion they should teach their kid.

"Little House was one of the most devout, and explicitly Christian, television programs ever," said Arngrim. "However, Michael was Jewish and had grown up in a home rife with religious tension, including bitter fights over how he was to be raised." The 'Little House' star's private life was distinct from that of Charles Ingalls.

While Charles Ingalls was the embodiment of decency and fidelity, Landon's marriage history was a mixed bag, as noted by Arngrim.

"Michael Landon was one of the most contradictory individuals I have ever encountered," the former Little House star claimed. "He was a 'family man' who spoke incessantly about Lynn, his second wife, and his children, to whom he appeared to be completely devoted. 

He had divorced his first wife, with whom he had children, when he was caught having an affair with Lynn on the set of Bonanza (she was an extra and stand-in). When Landon fell in love with a stand-in on the NBC sitcom Little House, history was repeating. His actions were frequently at odds with the conventional demeanor Landon exhibited off-camera.

"When Lynn discovered their affair, he divorced Lynn for Cindy (a Little House stand-in)," Arngrim stated. After beginning her career in the same manner, I cannot conceive of what she must have been thinking. Alison Arngrim described Michael Landon as "motivated" and "vigorous."

The former Little House star was eager to express her admiration and affection for her former employer and co-star, Landon, but acknowledged that his strong personality was not for everyone.

Arngrim commented, "I adored him and enjoyed every minute of working with him." "However, I believe that being around someone so determined, so concentrated, and so, well, just plain intense on a daily basis would be enough to drive most people utterly insane. 

He resembled Charles Ingalls. Except for the times when he wasn't." Despite his weaknesses, Landon had a significant impact on Arngrim's life, and she was glad for the opportunity to work with him.

She wrote, "Everyone frequently wonders if Michael was like a father to me and if he loved me." "I have no idea if he liked me, but he outdid himself in my estimation. He regarded me with esteem."

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