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'Little House on the Prairie's' Albert, Who Had a Hole in His Heart, Got the Role Thanks to Michael Landon

Titi Dokubo
Mar 31, 2022
11:40 P.M.
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Matthew Labyorteaux's parents adopted their son, Patrick, who had several health problems, and helped him live a regular life. It inspired them to adopt one more, and they adopted Matthew.

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Matthew Labyorteaux had a hole in his heart at ten months and was autistic. But his family helped him to heal. He also started an acting career with their help, even though his mother felt panic during his first audition.

Later, Matthew Labyorteaux expressed his gratitude to his parents by using his words and deeds. Now he is a married man who plays a lot of roles.

Matthew Labyorteaux as Albert Quinn Ingalls on the set of "Little House on the Prairie" on November 13, 1978 | Source: Getty Images

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Matthew was the second adopted child of interior designer and former actress, Ron and Frankie Labyorteaux. Before they adopted Matthew, they had already adopted his older brother, Patrick.

Patrick was only three weeks old when the doctors diagnosed him with schizophrenia. When Ron and Frankie adopted him, he was malnourished and exhausted.

Despite Patrick's conditions, the couple showered him with a lot of love and a firm, but gentle hand. His symptoms disappeared within a couple of years, and their success inspired them to adopt another child, Matthew.

Photo of Matthew Labyorteaux for the series "Hotel," on January 2, 1988 | Source: Getty Images

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Matthew was born on December 8, 1966, and when Ron and Frankie adopted him at ten months old, he had a hole in his heart. 

While Matthew and Patrick are adopted and have different characteristics, everyone automatically knows they are brothers. The boys also never fought because Patrick revealed that they had been through too much to bother with pettiness.

Matthew Labyorteaux as Albert Quinn Ingalls and Patrick Labyorteaux as Andrew 'Andy' Garvey on the "Little House on the Prairie" set on November 13, 1978 | Source: Getty Images

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LITTLE MATTHEW "SLEPT STANDING UP IN HIS CRIB"

Before Ron and Frankie adopted Matthew, the adoption agency warned them that Matthew was born with a hole in his heart, and the hole would heal naturally.

However, the agency never revealed that he was autistic, and the couple later found out. Matthew couldn't walk until he was three and did not talk until he turned five.

Matthew Labyorteaux with Gerald S. Oloughlin on "The Rookies" set on September 9, 1975 | Source: Getty Images

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As Matthew grew older, his parents revealed that he was different. Frankie said,

"He slept standing up in his crib, and when everyone would try to pick him up, he would scream and try to get away."

Despite his screams, his mother did not give up on him as she spent months with Matthew on the floor while he was screaming.

Matthew Labyorteaux and Merlin Olsen on the "Little House on the Prairie" set on September 25, 1978 | Source: Getty Images

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Frankie held him down while telling him she would love him no matter what. Matthew also had problems with low blood sugar because sugar was poisonous to his system.

His parents understood the problem, corrected his diet, and saw drastic positive changes. They were amazed because they said all his troubles had disappeared.

Matthew Labyorteaux as Albert Quinn Ingalls on the "Little House on the Prairie" set on October 15, 1980 | Source: Getty Images

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MATTHEW MAKING HIS WAY TO "LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE"

In addition to doctors and psychiatrists having little hope that Matthew would become normal because of his behavior, his parents were also scared.

However, by the time his brother Patrick was seven, he had started acting as therapy and was a veteran of several commercials.

One day Matthew tagged along for an audition, and the testing lady asked him if he wanted to test. Frankie panicked because Matthew was known for throwing tantrums when touched.

Matthew Labyorteaux and Margaret Hamilton on the "Here's Boomer" set | Source: Getty Images

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Matthew willingly followed the testing lady into the room, to Frankie's surprise. He won the part and played Peter Falk's son in "A Woman Under the Influence."

Matthew was taken into "Little House on the Prairie" with the help of Michael Landon. Landon had promised his friends that he would take into his show the boy who would be like his friends' late son.

Once Matthew joined the cast of "Little House on the Prairie" in season five, they became a family, and his mother once fondly revealed that Matthew liked jokes on the show.

Photo of Matthew Labyorteaux, Melissa Gilbert, and Michael Landon for "Little House: Look Back to Yesterday" | Source: Getty Images

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In season eight of the show, there was a mystery surrounding Matthew's character amid his sudden disappearance. His character became sick and presumably died off-camera.

His costar Melissa Gilbert once said his character returned after 20 years. However, Matthew revealed that even though his character never officially died, the producers left it open to debate.

Some fans had a hard time accepting his character's death and believed that he survived, while others chose to believe Gilbert's theory.

Matthew Labyorteaux as Albert Quinn Ingalls on the "Little House on the Prairie" set on January 8, 1979 | Source: Getty Images

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MATTHEW'S SHOW OF GRATITUDE TO HIS PARENTS

Matthew later showed how grateful he is to his parents by sharing his respect for them with the media. He said,

"It’s not so much in the way we say things. It’s how we feel about one another and how we treat each other that counts." 

The family bonds they portrayed on the set of "Little House on the Prairie" also followed them in their personal lives. Matthew and his brother grew up respecting their parents, had good manners, and respected each other.

Photo of Matthew Labyorteaux on the "Little House on the Prairie" set | Source: Getty Images

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To further show their gratitude to their parents, Patrick and Matthew created the Youth Rescue Fund in 1981 to assist youths who are homeless, abused, or have run away.

Their long-term goals involved setting up shelters. To raise funds for their project, they asked the fan club members to contribute a dollar, sold highway safety kits, held celebrity rodeos, and staged dances.

The brothers, who had appeared before a House sub-committee to plead the case of runaways in the country, raised nearly 11 million dollars for youth shelters across the United States.

Matthew Labyorteaux and actress Ari Meyers at the closing night ceremonies of the 20th Annual California Special Olympics Summer Games on June 25, 1989 | Source: Getty Images

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MATTHEW'S LIFE AND FAMILY

After his role as Albert Quinn in "Little House on the Prairie," Matthew became prominent for his role as a young genius in the 1986 movie "Deadly Friend."

He also starred in "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," "Little House: Look Back to Yesterday," "The Red Hand Gang" and has contributed to video games, animated projects, and live-action films.

Matthew currently works as a voice-over artist and has done voice-overs for movies like "Mulan," "The Wind Rises," "Bride Wars," and "Spider-Man" TV series.

Patrick Labyorteaux and Matthew Labyorteaux at Michael Landon's Second Annual Celebrity Gala on October 15, 1988 | Source: Getty Images

He also pursued his interests in gaming as he grew up loving pinball and other video games like Centipede. In 1982, he won in a celebrity Pac-Man tournament.

On July 17, 2020, Matthew, who became an actor as a child, married his wife, Leslie, at the age of 54, and they have two children.

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