‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Named Her Son After Michael Landon


Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon starred in the show Little House on the Prairie together. Through their experience on the show, Landon became a father figure to Gilbert and a constant support system.

Landon died in 1991, and in 1995 Gilbert gave birth to a son. In honor of Landon, Gilbert named her son after her late father figure.

Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon worked together on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

On Little House on the Prairie, Gilbert starred as the central character Laura Ingalls Wilder and Landon played Laura’s father Charles Ingalls. Landon also served as a writer, director, and executive producer on the show.

Gilbert was only 10 years old when Little House on the Prairie premiered, and Landon acted as a surrogate father to the child actors on set.

“He gave me so much advice…the overall idea that he pounded into me, from a little girl, into my brain was that nothing’s more important than ‘Home & Family’; no success, no career, no achievements, no accomplishments, nothing’s more important than loving the people you love and contributing to a community,” Gilbert said in a 2015 interview on That’s Entertainment.

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Melissa Gilbert named her son after Michael Landon

Little House on the Prairie ran from 1974 to 1983. In its ninth season the show was renamed Little House: A New Beginning to focus on Laura’s family with Almanzo Wilder (Dean Butler).

When Little House on the Prairie ended, Gilbert married actor Bo Brinkman in 1988. The two had one son named Dakota Paul Brinkman and divorced in the 1990s.

On Jan. 1, 1995, Gilbert married actor and writer Bruce Boxleitner. She gave birth to their son Michael Garrett Boxleitner in October 1995. According to ABC News, Gilbert came up with her son’s name in honor of Landon.

After several years of marriage, Gilbert filed for divorce from Boxleitner in 2011. She is currently married to Timothy Busfield.

‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Didn’t Know Who Michael Landon Was Before She Played ‘Laura Ingalls’

How Michael Landon influenced Melissa Gilbert

In 2009, Gilbert published a memoir called Prairie Tale: A Memoir. To promote the book, Gilbert spoke on Today about her experience on Little House on the Prairie, young romance with actor Rob Lowe, and admiration of Landon.

“I’ve realized his influence on me extended beyond the set,” she wrote about Landon according to Today. “As a kid, I didn’t know he sipped vodka from his coffee mug… but I’m sure he’s one reason why, as a young adult, I almost always picked men who smelled like alcohol.”

Looking back, Gilbert still admires Landon for his impact on the entertainment industry and her own life.

“He was an amazing man, an amazing talent, an incredible director, actor, writer, a great boss, an incredible human being,” she said.


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