Catching up with Alison Arngrim, who played evil Nellie Oleson on ‘Little House on the Prairie’


The four faces of Nellie Oleson, none of which resemble the current face of Alison Arngrim, as seen in the video below. (Photo courtesy of Alison Arngrim’s Web site)

There’s actually good reason for this flashback: Alison Arngrim, otherwise known as Nellie Oleson from “Little House,” is currently in Washington and sat down with me yesterday for an interview.

Yes, you heard correctly. I said Nellie Oleson, the most frightening, borderline evil TV character to ever make a snotty comment while sporting a head full of ultra-tight (and clearly also evil) ringlets. Arngrim, 49, has made the most of her status as one of the most loathed children in television history, turning her experience into both a stage show and, later, a book cheekily titled “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch.” The memoir — which she promoted during a book signing in D.C. last night at, appropriately, Nellie’s Sports Bar — came out in hardback last year and releases in paperback June 14.

Arngrim and I discussed her book; what it’s like to live a life forever linked to “Little House” (a life that, apparently, includes going on this cruise); and her work for the National Association to Protect Children and with various AIDS and gay rights organizations, efforts she pursued after Steve Tracy, who played Nellie’s husband Percival on “Little House,” died of AIDS in 1986.

We also talked about the fact that Arngrim took her former co-star Melissa Gilbert (otherwise known as Half-Pint) to a colonoscopy appointment earlier this week. (What? Arngrim brought it up.)

Watch video of our conversation — which, yes, also covers the wheelchair episode of “Little House” — after the jump.

Arngrim, a woman who seems well adjusted, is happily married and is not at all (go figure) like Nellie Oleson:

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.
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