Karen Grassle

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Karen Grassle
Gil Gerard Karen Grassle.JPG
Gil Gerard and Karen Grassle in Little House on the Prairie (1977)
Born Karen Trust Grassle
(1942-02-25) February 25, 1942 (age 75)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1968–present

Karen Trust Grassle (born February 25, 1942) is an American actress, 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]

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 à 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 performed with the company of actors at Actors Theatre. 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 Theatre Centre 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.

Filmography[edit]

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

References[edit]

External links[edit]