In Little House on the Prairie, it’s hard to imagine Alison Arngrim playing someone else.
The actress soon became the villain audiences loved to hate, perfectly cast as Nellie Oleson.
Fans enjoyed the times, as a snotty tyrant, when Nellie got her just desserts. In reality, Nellie was having her only deserts from some of the most famous episodes of Little House on the Prairie. Who could possibly forget the cries of Nellie as she plunged down the hill into the icy water in a wheelchair?
Funnily enough, when she auditioned for Little House on the Prairie, Arngrim did not originally apply for her infamous part. Arngrim was interested in playing Laura Ingalls, as were several other young girls, and she even threw her hat in the ring to play the part of the older sister of Laura, Mary Ingalls. The actress remembered in an interview with Zoomer how tough the audition for Laura was.
Before she was cast as Nellie Oleson, Alison Arngrim applied for Laura Ingalls,
“I originally applied for the roles of Laura and Mary, but the search for Laura Ingalls was like the search for Scarlett O’Hara, everyone auditioned,” Arngrim said with a chuckle.
Fortunately for the actress, the cast saw something in her and offered her the chance to audition for Nellie.
For a scene from the second episode of “Little House on the Prairie” the actress was auditioned and given such a funny performance that the producers of the show requested her to reprise the scene.
“So I later auditioned for the role of Nellie and played the scene from the episode ‘Country Girls’ where she says the part that says ‘my home is the best home in Walnut Grove’ and I made Michael Landon and the producers laugh,” confessed the alum of’ Little House on the Prairie.’ “I was asked to do that again.
And I said, like any good child actress, ‘Oh, yes, what do you want me to change?’ And they chuckled, ‘Nothing, just read the part of the house again.”
On the location, the “Little House on the Prairie” star was hired
The “Little House on the Prairie” producers were so taken with the depiction of Nellie by Arngrim that she was offered the part immediately. When her agent called her to provide her with the exciting news, she had barely left the audition. The actress says, “By the time I had just left, got in the car with my dad and drove away, my agent was already calling to tell me that the audition was on Tuesday,” “I was hired on the spot. I was overwhelmed.”
And during her stay at “Little House on the Prairie” and long after, Arngrim had to be shocked.
The actor had absolutely no idea that such success would be reached by the series, let alone becoming a classic. In reality, not even Argrim’s father thought it would hit the series the way it did.
The father of Argrim didn’t think the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ would make it through Season 1
At the time, we didn’t know it was going to be famous,” Arngrim shared about her fellow cast members on ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ “I never read the books, so before I went to the audition, I had no idea who Nellie Oleson was.
But most of us on the show didn’t think that she was going to last longer than the first season.
And my own father said, “Oh, who’s going to watch this?” Argrim’s father was clearly wrong, since the series is still quite famous today. We’re sure series fans are glad that Arngrim was cast as Nellie, because in that role it’s hard to imagine anyone else.