Sunday, January 22, 2023

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Alison Arngrim Is ‘A Hoot and a Half,’ Says Mary McDonough of ‘The Waltons’

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Mary McDonough and Alison Arngrim both grew up around television in the 1970s. Arngrim played iconic mean girl Nellie Oleson Little house on the prairie, while McDonough played Erin Walton on the popular CBS series The Waltons. Both were healthy family shows set in an earlier era, so it’s perhaps no wonder McDonough and Arngrim became friends.

McDonough reflected on her time The Waltons and Growing Up in Hollywood in her 2011 memoir, Lessons from the mountain. In the book, she recalled meetings with other young actors from different shows and her friendship with Arngrim.

“Another perk of hanging out with kids from other shows was meeting Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson Small house [on the Prairie]’ McDonough wrote. “She’s a year and a half old. With her wit and personality, it’s no wonder she got into stand-up.”

Armrim left Small house 1981, after seven seasons, the same year that The Waltons was canceled. However, Arngrim and McDonough’s remained friends long after their respective shows ended. Arngrim was a regular at McDonough’s annual Christmas brunch, and she also had a role in McDonough’s 2001 short film For the love of May.

“She was at my Christmas party and kept everyone entertained all night. She’s hilarious,” McDonough told in 2011.

The two actors also appeared together at an event at the Santa Monica Public Library (via YouTube) earlier that year. They discussed McDonough’s memoir as well as Arngrim’s 2010 book, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch.

Alison Arngrim wasn’t the only one Little house on the prairie Actor McDonough befriended. during their time on the waltons, McDonough also met Arngrim’s screen competitor Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls.

McDonough and Gilbert met at a party for Tiger Beat magazine and became good friends. They even went skiing with Gilbert’s then-boyfriend Rob Lowe in the mountains near LA. McDonough also associated with Small house Actor Melissa Sue Anderson when they starred in the 1981 TV movie Midnight Deals.

“It was interesting hanging out with actors before they got their big break and then seeing their careers take off,” recalled McDonough. “Rob certainly did. It’s been fun following their success and remembering a simpler time when we all skied and just hung out at my house.”

“I feel lucky to have had Alison and Melissa’s friendship over the years,” she added. “We have a common bond, having grown up on television.”

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