Melissa Gilbert Reflects on 'Little House on the Prairie' 30 Years After Show

Gilbert dishes on kissing boys on TV at just 15 years old.

ByMICHAEL ROTHMAN
November 11, 2014, 3:03 AM
PHOTO: From left, cast members of Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson and Lindsay Greenbush.
From left, cast members of Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson and Lindsay Greenbush.
NBC via Getty Images

— -- It's been more than 30 years since the finale of "Little House on the Prairie" in 1984, but the cast still has vivid memories of their time on the show.

For its annual reunions issue, Entertainment Weekly brought the cast back together, including Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Anderson, Matthew Laborteaux, Dean Butler, among others to share their thoughts on the show that's been off the air for three decades, yet still has a die-hard following.

Gilbert -- who auditioned for "Little House" before she was even 9 years old and before the show first hit TV in 1974 -- said that growing up on a show that aired for more than years could get awkward, especially when it came to kissing boys in the latter seasons, when Gilbert was just a teen and her co-star was 23.

"I look back now and watch episodes from when I was 15 or 16 and go, 'Whoa—there’s an awkward stage.' [When Almanzo, played by Dean Butler, was introduced], it was the third time I had ever kissed a boy—and all three times were on TV," Gilbert, now 50, said. "I was kissing a man who had to shave that morning, and I hadn’t even ever shaved my legs. It’s bizarre. I mean, he was a grown-up person with a car. He golfed!"

Butler added that Gilbert was "one of the most fearless people I’ve ever known. She has that quality today, and she had it in spades as a 15-year-old girl."

Gilbert also reflected on the show's star Michael Landon, who died in 1991 after battling pancreatic cancer.

"Our relationship was very close, and it grew even deeper when my father passed away [in 1976]. Our families got close. We went on vacation to Hawaii together every Easter. His son Mike Jr. was my prom date," Gilbert said of Landon.

As for the two-hour movie finale in 1984 called "Little House: The Last Farewell," the actress said, "it gave us closure, but it was sad."

"Saying goodbye wasn’t easy. The cast and crew were family. I still weep whenever I watch it," she added.

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