Karen Grassle

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Karen Grassle
Born Karen Trust Grassle
(1942-02-25) February 25, 1942 (age 72)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1968–present
Notable work(s) Caroline Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie

Karen Trust Grassle (born February 25, 1942 in Berkeley, California) is an American actress, best known for her role as Caroline Ingalls, the wife of Michael Landon's character and the mother of Melissa Gilbert's character, in the NBC television drama series Little House on the Prairie.[1]

Early life[edit]

Grassle graduated from Ventura High School in 1959, and afterward enrolled in Sophie Newcomb College (Tulane University, 1959–60) and then the University of California, Berkeley.[1] She graduated with two BA degrees in 1965, one in English, the other in Dramatic Art. She received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.[1]

Karen Grassle with Gil Gerard in Little House on the Prairie

Career[edit]

Grassle's first acting job in New York City was in the short-lived 1968 play The Gingham Dog. Grassle played in Butterflies are Free at the Elitch Theatre in Denver, Colorado, in June 1972, along with Maureen O'Sullivan and Brandon deWilde, who was killed before leaving town after the performances ended.[2]

Prior to portraying Caroline Ingalls, Grassle appeared in two TV series: one episode of the soap opera Love of Life as Bonnie Draper, and one episode of Gunsmoke entitled "The Wiving" as Fran, one of several saloon girls kidnapped a'la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Grassle auditioned for the role of the mother, Caroline Ingalls, in the Little House on the Prairie TV series and won the part. The series ran for nine seasons, from 1974 to 1983.

During this time she played Kathy, the wife of Edward Herrmann's title character in Harry's War, a 1981 American film.

After the series ended, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and became co-founder of Santa Fe’s Resource Theater Company. Later she moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where she remained active in theater. Eventually, she moved back to California, where she still currently lives.

In 1994, she also appeared in the movie Wyatt Earp, starring Kevin Costner.

In 2006, she performed in Driving Miss Daisy in the starring role of Miss Daisy at the Manitoba Theater Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. In August 2008, Grassle agreed to sign up as the promotional face for Premier Bathrooms, a supplier of bathing products for the elderly and infirm.

Personal life[edit]

Grassle has been married three times: her first husband was actor Leon Russom; In 1982, she married J. Allen Radford, a real estate developer, with whom she adopted a daughter, Lily. In 1991 she married Scott T. Sutherland, an osteopathic physician; they divorced in 2000. Single, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay area with Lily.

Filmography[edit]

Film and Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1974 Gunsmoke Fran Episode: " The Wiving"
1977 Emily, Emily Terry
1978 The President's Mistress Donna Morton
1978 Battered Susannah Hawks Also writer
1979 Crisis in Mid-air Betsy Culver
1979 Little House Years Caroline Ingalls
1981 Harry's War Kathy
1981 The Love Boat Paula 1 episode
1974–82 Little House on the Prairie Caroline Ingalls 182 episodes
1983 Cocaine: One Man's Seduction Barbara Gant
1983 Hotel Susan Walker Episode: "Christmas"
1984 Little House: The Last Farewell Caroline Ingalls
1985 Between the Darkness and the Dawn Ellen Foster Holland
1987
1988
Murder, She Wrote Christine Stoneham
Fay Hewitt
"Murder in a Minor Key"
"Harbinger of Death"
1994 Wyatt Earp Mrs. Sutherland
2012 Tales of Everyday Magic Aunt Dorothy

References[edit]

External links[edit]