Nellie Oleson Actress Recalls How Her On-Screen Husband Made Her Cry 'Every Day' in 'Little House on the Prairie'


Alison Arngrim, who portrayed Nellie Oleson, became best friends with Steve Tracy, who portrayed her on-screen spouse. His character, Percival Dalton, virtually performed a miracle by helping Nellie develop a kinder disposition.

And while Nellie and Percival lived happily ever after on Little House on the Prairie, their relationship in real life was far more tragic. In fact, their relationship became so devastating that Arngrim "cried every night." Continue reading to discover why.Alison Arngrim was concerned about Nellie Olson's prospective spouse.

According to Confessions of a Prairie B*tch, Arngrim's autobiography, she was terrified of who the authors of Little House on the Prairie would pair her with. She describes the situation as resembling an arranged marriage because she had no control over who her character would marry.

"I reminded myself that this was only television and not reality," writes Arngrim. "It wasn't as though I was strolling down the aisle with a total stranger. However, I would be kissing him, hugging him, lying next to him in bed, and expressing my affection for him... daily for the next few years... until our contracts expired or the show ended. 

It sounded plausible to me."Steve Tracy (Percival Dalton) and Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) became closest friends.Arngrim continues by stating that Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson, her co-stars, frequently complained about their on-screen romantic interests. Fortunately, Arngrim adored both her television spouse and the actor who portrayed him.

Arngrim and Tracy became fast friends while portraying a married couple on Prairie. Because Steve Tracy was gay, their relationship was strictly platonic, despite the fact that many of the show's actors and producers began to speculate if they were dating in real life."I have always referred to Steve Tracy as my 'other husband,'" writes Arngrim. "In the years following our departure from Little House, we remained extremely close. 

Our relationship continued exactly where Little House left off... It was as if Nellie and I never ceased being Percival and Nellie. I required him. I adhered to him when everything else in my life was spinning out of control because he was the only constant.The 'Little House on the Prairie' actor Steve Tracy caused Alison Arngrim to weep 'every night'Tragedy struck after Tracy informed Arngrim that he was dying of AIDS.

"I told him I would be courageous," Arngrim writes, "but when I hung up the phone, I lay facedown in the pillow on the bed and screamed incessantly.

""Steve was thirty-two years old when he was diagnosed with AIDS," writes the actor. "The notion of anyone dying at the age of thirty-two struck me as abhorrent. And the fact that it was my friend was simply reprehensible. He repeatedly warned me not to cry, but I did so daily.

In 1986, Tracy informed Arngrim that he had very little time remaining. Arngrim describes her response as follows:

 "I was inconsolable. I desired to immediately run to his side and keep him with me. I believed that if I could only cling to him, I could halt death in its tracks."But then Steve said, "Don't worry; this is just a change in the relationship, not the end."

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