• Karen Grassle is an American actress, best known for her role as Caroline Ingalls in “Little House on the Prairie”.
• She has an estimated net worth of $500,000.
• She attended college and received a Fulbright Fellowship to the London Academy of Dramatic Art.
• She has appeared in numerous television films, feature films, and theatrical projects over the years.
• She has been married three times and works with organizations that help with women who are victims of domestic abuse.

Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthFebruary 25, 1942
DiedApril 20, 1924, De Smet, South Dakota, United States
SpouseScott T. Sutherland, Charles Ingalls
FactA long-involved advocate for women's rights, she wrote and co-starred in the mini-movie Battered (1978), which dealt with the issues of domestic violence.

Who is Karen Grassle?

Karen Grassle was born on 25 February 1942, in Berkeley, California USA, and is an actress, perhaps still best known for her role as Caroline Ingalls, the mother of Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson in the television series “Little House on the Prairie”.

The Riches of Karen Grassle

How rich is Karen Grassle? As of late-2018, sources estimate a net worth that is at $500,000, earned through a successful career in acting. She’s also worked on numerous television films, feature films, and theatrical projects in her many years in the industry. As she continues her endeavors, it is expected that her wealth will also continue to increase.

Early Life and Education

Growing up, Karen was already very interested in a career in entertainment, studying ballet at a young age. She attended Ventura High School, and acted in school plays while also performing with the choir. During her senior year, she was the Vice-President of the student body and matriculated in 1959. She then enrolled in Sophie Newcomb College before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley.

She graduated with two degrees, the first in English and the second in Dramatic Art, then received a Fulbright Fellowship to the London Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and also apprenticed in San Francisco’s Actor’s Workshop from 1961 to 1962. Her parents struggled through the depression and later founded the company Grassle Realty located in California during the 1950s. After school, she spent time with the Stanford Contemporary Workshop playing leads in two classical roles at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, which led to her first professional project at the Front Street Theatre. She then moved to New York City, and travelled to other places in the country to perform.

Career Prominence and Little House on the Prairie

While performing in theatre, Grassle started to make appearances on television, mainly in soap operas by PBS. In 1968, she made her Broadway debut in the short-lived “The Gingham Dog” before heading to another Broadway production – “Butterflies are Free” – which is based on the life of attorney Harold Krents. She continued to perform other iterations of the play, and also had a starring role in “Cymbeline” alongside Christopher Walken and Sam Waterston. In 1974, she auditioned forand won the role of Caroline Ingalls on the series “Little House on the Prairie”.

The television series focuses on a family living on a farm during the 1870s to the 1880s, and is based on the “Little House” series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The show would run for a total of nine seasons from 1974 to 1983, and was considered one of the top shows on television at that time, and won numerous awards. Concurrently she also appeared in an episode of “Gunsmoke”, and in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

Later Career

Karen had a few feature films after her run with “Little House on the Prairie”, including “Wyatt Earp” which starred Kevin Costner. She co-wrote and starred in the television movie “Battered”, and appeared in a string of television movies over the next few years, including “Between the Darkness and Dawn” and “Crisis in MidAir”, as well as in numerous episodic television series such as “Murder, She Wrote”, “Love Boat”, and “Hotel”. She was a frequent guest in talk shows  and game shows too, and also started to do charity work.

She moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and became one of the co-founders of the Resource Theatre Company, serving as the Artistic Director. She then moved to Louisville, Kentucky to perform with the Actors Theatre, before in 1999 returning to Los Angeles, then settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. She continues to do theatrical work today, participating in productions such as “Driving Miss Daisy” in which she had a starring role, and was awarded a prize for her performance in “Cabaret” held at the San Francisco Playhouse. She has also occasionally appeared in commercials, such as promoting Premier Bathrooms.

Personal Life

For her personal life, Grassle has been married three times, firstly to Leon Russom in 1966 which lasted for four years until they divorced. Her next marriage would come 12 years later in 1982, to James Allen Radford and they had a child together, but that ended in divorce in 1987. In 1991, she married Dr. Scott Sutherland staying together for six years until their divorce was finalized in 1997. During her free time, she works with organizations that help with women who are victims of domestic abuse.

General Info

Full NameKaren Grassle
Date Of BirthFebruary 25, 1942
DiedApril 20, 1924, De Smet, South Dakota, United States
Height1.67 m
ProfessionWriter, Actor
EducationVentura High School, University of California, Berkeley
NationalityAmerican, American


SpouseScott T. Sutherland, Charles Ingalls
ChildrenLily Radford, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mary Ingalls, Carrie Ingalls, Grace Ingalls, Freddy Ingalls
ParentsGene Grassle, Charlotte Quiner, Henry Quiner


MoviesWyatt Earp, Cocaine: One Man's Seduction, Harry's War, Crisis in Mid-Air, Little House on the Prairie
TV ShowsLittle House on the Prairie

Social profile links


1No. I never tell people how old I am. As an actor, it's not in my interest.
2[on the importance of having the right chemistry of either a series' or a co-star]: No. Of course, it's more fun if you and the other person work well together, but it's not a requirement. I mean, you're acting. You can have difficulties with each other because of ego or insecurity or advertising and billing, things that can annoy people or hurt their feelings, but you don't let it get in the way of the work. That's the thing.
3Well, yes! But you have to put the work first. It can be quite painful if you don't feel appreciated by your partner, or if you're supposed to be wildly attracted to them and you're not. But so what? We get to be actors. We are lucky to be able to work.


1Good friend of Michael Landon.
2She now lives in Pacific Palisades, California, with her adopted daughter, Lily. [2005]
3Appearing in a commercial for "Premier" bathrooms. [January 2009]
4She is a staunch liberal Democrat.
5Played the mother of 5 children on Little House on the Prairie (1974), but never had any biological children of her own.
6When she came to LA in 1973 for a never-completed movie project, she was calling herself "Gabriel Tree", and it was under this name that she beat out 47 other actresses for the role of "Caroline Ingalls" in the long-running TV drama Little House on the Prairie (1974) (co-star Michael Landon convinced her to revert back to her given name of Karen Grassle).
7In the late 1960s - hoping to boost her career, briefly changed her professional name to Kay Dillinger, claiming to be the illegitimate offspring of the notorious 1930s bank robber (who died ten years before she was born!).
8She was known as the miracle baby in her family because, previous to her birth, her mother had 4 miscarriages.
9Her father, Gene Grassle, ran a gas station and her mother managed a restaurant.
10Her first New York break was the play "The Gingham Tree." She had to borrow a dollar from a friend to go to the audition!
11After Little House on the Prairie (1974) ended, she was featured as a guest star on various television shows and toured the country performing in numerous plays. Later on, she moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to continue her work in the theater. She was the co-founder and artistic director of Santa Fe's Resource Theatre Company and starred in "Wit" at the Arizona Theater Company.
12Won the role of Caroline Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie (1974) out of 47 other actresses who also auditioned.
13Inducted (as a cast member of Little House on the Prairie (1974)) into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1998.
142002 - Appeared on the "Memorable TV Moms" version of Weakest Link (2001), along with June Lockhart (Lassie (1954), Lost in Space (1965)), Jo Marie Payton (Family Matters (1989)), Pat Crowley (Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1965)), Janet Hubert (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990)), Alley Mills (The Wonder Years (1988)), Carol Potter (Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990)) and Beverly Garland (My Three Sons (1960)). Potter won.
15A long-involved advocate for women's rights, she wrote and co-starred in the mini-movie Battered (1978), which dealt with the issues of domestic violence.
16Best known for her role as Caroline Ingalls, Michael Landon's ranch wife on the TV series Little House on the Prairie (1974) for eight seasons.
17Trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
18Graduated class valedictorian from Ventura High School in 1959.
19Graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1964




Where's Roman?2015Short completedMysterious Woman (rumored)
My Greatest Teacher2012Aunt Dorothy
Tales of Everyday Magic2012Aunt Dorothy
Wyatt Earp1994Mrs. Sutherland
Murder, She Wrote1987-1988TV SeriesFay Hewitt / Christine Stoneham
Between the Darkness and the Dawn1985TV MovieEllen Foster Holland
Little House: The Last Farewell1984TV MovieCaroline Ingalls
Hotel1983TV SeriesSusan Walker
Cocaine: One Man's Seduction1983TV MovieBarbara Gant
Little House on the Prairie1974-1982TV SeriesCaroline Ingalls
The Love Boat1981TV SeriesPaula
Harry's War1981Kathy
Little House Years1979TV MovieCaroline Ingalls
Crisis in Mid-air1979TV MovieBetsy Culver
Battered1978TV MovieSusannah Hawks
The President's Mistress1978TV MovieThe President's Mistress / Donna Morton
Emily, Emily1977TV MovieTerry
Gunsmoke1974TV SeriesFran
Love of Life1951TV SeriesBonnie Draper (early '70s)


Battered1978TV Movie


Home & Family2015TV SeriesHerself
A Day in the Life of Little House2015DocumentaryHerself
Extra2014TV SeriesHerself - Little House on the Prairie / Herself
Today2014TV SeriesHerself
The Little House Phenomenon: A Place in Television History2014DocumentaryHerself
Weekend Today2007TV SeriesHerself - Actress
Class of...2005TV SeriesHerself
Intimate Portrait2002TV Series documentaryHerself
Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck2002TV SeriesHerself
Weakest Link2002TV SeriesHerself
E! True Hollywood Story1997TV Series documentaryHerself
The John Davidson Show1980TV SeriesHerself - Co-Host
The Hollywood Squares1975-1980TV SeriesHerself
Battle of the Network Stars VIII1980TV SpecialHerself - NBC Team
The Mike Douglas Show1975-1979TV SeriesHerself - Actress / Herself - Co-Host
Dinah!1977TV SeriesHerself
Battle of the Network Stars II1977TV SpecialHerself - NBC Team
The Alan Hamel Show1977TV SeriesHerself
Battle of the Network Stars1976TV SpecialHerself - NBC Team

Archive Footage

¿Cómo están ustedes?2006TV MovieCaroline Ingalls
Corazón, corazón2006TV SeriesCaroline Ingalls
A Little House Conversation2006Video documentaryCaroline Ingalls


Won Awards

1976TP de OroTP de Oro, SpainBest Foreign Actress (Mejor Actriz Extranjera)Little House on the Prairie (1974)
1975Bronze WranglerWestern Heritage AwardsFictional Television DramaLittle House on the Prairie (1974)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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