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NUNN ON ONE Melissa Sue Anderson looks back at 'Prairie'
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn
2010-06-09

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Melissa Sue Anderson went through many trails and tribulations with her years on Little House on the Prairie including her character going blind. Her autobiography entitled The Way I See It, really is a look back at her life on Little House.

Windy City Times: Hello, Melissa. I really enjoyed reading your book. What made you decide to write it at this time?

Melissa Sue Anderson: I never thought about doing it. I was approached to write it. I thought they made a mistake and were talking about my husband because he is the professional writer in the family. I thought how interesting and I was surprised that no one has done it before, then I learned that Melissa Gilbert was coming out with a book. I was trying to do it in a different way. I didn't want to be like every other memoir. I don't have a life that has been through a lot of misery and pain.

WCT: You seemed very fair in how you describe people.

MSA: I didn't want to be mean. I wanted to pay respect to the crew. They were very important. I was very close to the crew. I wanted that to be evident.

WCT: This wasn't like a scandalous tell-all book.

MSA: No, people tend to write not so mice things about me but I think that comes from not knowing me. I was quite shy. I worked really hard and I loved what I was doing. I am not sure that the other kids really did. I don't think they were there because they really wanted to be there. I don't think that they minded it but they were not serious actors. I really was, even at eleven. Maybe I was hard to get to know and I wasn't there to play.

WCT: Did you read Melissa Gilbert's book?

MSA: No, I didn't want to because I had already begun writing mine and I didn't want it to color mine. It would have. It would have been in my mind if I had read it. I thought we got along well. We were not encouraged to be super tight anyway. We never had any problems. I thought it was all working out fine. They are trying to sell books too, you know?

WCT: Yes, now I have to read her book. I thought it was interesting that Michael Landon wanted to blow up Walnut Grove so no one else could use the set. It is very telling about him.

MSA: It certainly is. That is what I meant about him. He was a great guy deep down. He could be the sweetest, kindest and warmest person. That came across with the career that he had. There was another side, too. Think about the shows that would have liked to use our sets and not be able to use it at all because he did that. That was so strange. I learned about him through the movie that I did The Loneliest Runner. I think his childhood led him to be the person that he was.

WCT: You won an Emmy for the television movie Which Mother is Mine? and didn't go to the ceremony?

MSA: [ Laughs ] No, when I won I wasn't there. It was my birthday and it was very exciting anyway. I love New York and was there at the time. When I was nominated for Little House, I was in the wrong category. They don't do it like that anymore. It was an honor to be nominated. I still have the actual Emmy that I won.

WCT: Why did you decide to move to Canada?

MSA: My husband is a writer and a producer so we moved there because ten years ago everything was made in Canada. My kids already spoke French so we decided on Montreal.

WCT: Sounds like a relaxing place to write. I grew up on Little House so I loved all the behind-the-scenes stories.

MSA: Some critics may say my book is too much about Little House but I was trying to write for fans of the seventies and eighties, like you.

I wanted to write about my take on the show, how I grew up and it came out all right.

I thought some shows were ridiculous and couldn't believe that we did that. I used screenplay pages and I thought it was a great idea to do that. The reader gets to see what a real script looks like. I was able to capture people very well that way. You even get up to Steven Spielberg in this book.

WCT: Have you seen that huge wagon-shaped DVD box set with all the seasons in it?

MSA: I know! People have had me sign it. I have seen two of them now. It is the coolest thing. Is that cute or what?

WCT: It is. Also, the Brady Bunch episode you were in is finally out on DVD also.

MSA: Yeah, there is that story in the book about me not being able to get a copy of my Brady Bunch episode. Can you imagine? It took a French journalist to get me a copy of my episode. Sherwood Schwartz doesn't do it for me but this guy does.

WCT: This is a perfect book for kids from the '70s like me. Good luck on your book tour. You could go by horse and wagon! [ Both laugh. ]

Visit borders.com to locate a store near you or to purchase The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House.


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