'Little House on the Prairie': Karen Grassle Admitted to a 'Fling' With This Guest Star
Little House on the Prairie star Karen Grassle recently released her memoir and shared her experiences on the historical drama playing Caroline Ingalls. Co-starring with show creator Michael Landon, who played her husband Charles, Grassle recalled an episode when a young actor had a guest role on the show in Landon’s absence and sparks immediately flew.
‘Little House’ Season 4 episode had Charles written out of the storyline
Grassle was in a steady relationship at the start of season four on Little House and had achieved solid grounding in her professional life. She described an episode where Caroline was at the forefront since Charles was not a part of the plot.
“I prepared to shoot an episode called ‘The Handyman’,” Grassle wrote in her book “Bright Lights, Prairie Dust“. “In this script, Pa suddenly has to go away for a job, just after demolishing our back wall to add on a real kitchen. As luck would have it, a wandering handyman shows up in town just in time to take on the job. … The undercurrent was romance.”
Actor Gil Gerard played Chris Nelson, the carpenter who stays with the Ingalls family while Charles was away. Grassle immediately felt an attraction to the guest star.
“He had that charisma many women find irresistible,” she remarked of Gerard. “When he showed up on the set, even the little girls sat up and took notice. He was sweet and hard-working and endeared himself to all of us women – young and old.”
After filming “The Handyman”, Grassle’s life began hitting major bumps, including one that caught her completely off guard. While working an a TV film, she got a troubling phone call from Gerard.
“The next blow was a call from Gil with bad news,” she wrote. “‘[He told her] Go on antibiotics, you’ve been exposed to gonorrhea.’ … I would have to tell Tom. I had no defense.”
Grassle and Gerard’s off-camera romance never materialized into anything consistent, and her relationship with her boyfriend eventually came to an end.
“Bright Lights, Prairie Dust” is now on sale.
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