twitter.com/RachelGreenbush / Getty Images
Source: twitter.com/RachelGreenbush / Getty Images

The Life of Twins Lindsay & Sidney Greenbush 40 Years after Playing Carrie in 'Little House on the Prairie'

Gaone Pule
Apr 07, 2022
06:00 P.M.
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Former child star twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush began their acting careers at the early age of three when they shared the role of Jill Hayden in the movie "Sunshine." However, their fame quickly faded when they were still young. 

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Hollywood child stars Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush first rose to prominence when they starred in the 1973 film "Sunshine," playing Jill Hayden at three years old.  

The duo was later introduced to actor and producer Michael Landon who cast them to share the role of Carrie Ingalls in "Little House on the Prairie." 

(L) Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls on the 1974 Western drama "Little House on the Prairie." (R) Lindsay Greenbush pictured on the coast. / Source: Getty Images and Twitter/@RachelGreenbush

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A producer recommended the twins for the role of the youngest daughter, Carrie. Finally, when Landon (who played Charles Ingalls) met the girls, he signed them immediately.  

Viewers loved the siblings on the classic show, but their success diminished for the rest of their careers. Sidney and Lindsay quietly exited the spotlight in recent years and kept a low profile. They pursued other paths.  

THEIR PARENTS DID NOT WANT THEM TO ACT

Actresses Lindsay Greenbush and Sidney Greenbush posing for a portrait in 1980. / Source: Getty Images

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Regarding their upbringing, the twins were born at Hollywood Community Hospital and lived in Silverlake until they were two years old. Later, their parents moved to Malibu.  

Sidney told The Malibu Times in January 2015 that her family relocated up Deer Creek around 1972 and then moved by Point Dume in 1977.  

The 51-year-old explained that back then, Malibu was not a city but an incorporated area of Los Angeles and that homes were more affordable. 

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Their father is known as actor Billy Greenbush, who starred in films such as "Five Easy Pieces," "Jason Goes To Hell," and "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." Sidney shared their mom and dad had no intentions to get her and her sister into the acting business: 

"My parents didn't have a plan to get any of their children in acting." 

However, Billy's friend referred his daughters when a director called in wanting twins. Their mother, Carole Bush, took the girls for the interview, and they landed the role of Jill in "Sunshine," directed by Joseph Sargent.  

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Sargent later recommended the twins to Landon during the casting for "Little House on the Prairie." When they arrived, Landon took them to his office without their mom to see what they were capable of: 

"When we went for the interview, Michael took us to his office without my mother to see what we would do. It didn't faze my sister or me." 

Sidney acknowledged that had their mom not taken them to the interview and to work on a daily, she and her sister would never have had the chance to be on the iconic "Little House." 

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Seeing that she and Lindsay were still minors, they had to balance their school life with acting and needed to complete their tasks on set. Social workers monitored the young actresses to keep track of their school time.  

Sidney explained they were required to do a certain amount of work depending on their grade level. Even if they were done filming for the day, if they had not completed their school hours, the pair had to remain behind until they finished. Because they knew their film schedule in advance, the sisters asked for tasks beforehand: 

"We would ask our teachers for the assignments for the days we were filming, complete them on the set and turn them in when we returned. We had to renew our work permits every year, so we had to keep our grades up." 

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Since they alternately played the role, there was a limited opportunity for Lindsay and Sidney to be on the screen together. However, there was one episode called "Godsister" when they eventually appeared side-by-side.  

The episode, which aired on December 18, 1978, showed Carrie being heartsick and feeling lonely after her Pa went away to work for a month.  

She created an imaginary friend named Alyssa to heal her heartache. The twins switched roles for those characters too. From seasons 4-7, the show was hovering inside the top 20.    

THE TWINS HAD A TOUGH TIME ON THE SHOW  

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Pictured: (Top L-R) Actors Matthew Laborteaux as Albert Quinn Ingalls, Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, Michael Landon as Charles Philip Ingalls, Dean Butler as Almanzo James Wilder, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall, Linwood Boomer as Adam Kendall, (Bottom L-R) Karen Grassle as Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls, Lindsay/Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie." / Source: Getty Images

The popularity of "Little House" opened opportunities for the girls, including visits to the White House to see Amy Carter (daughter of President Jimmy Carter). But things were not all smooth sailing for the duo.  

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Things were tough for Sidney and Lindsay because Landon ran a tight ship. In 2001, Lindsay told People magazine how he made the experience difficult for them: 

"Michael never made it fun for us. I was always petrified I was going to make a mistake." 

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One of the most challenging parts of playing Carrie was not growing up on the show. Producers wanted the character to remain a little girl, so they wrote things for her that would have been for a much younger child, Sidney explained. 

After eight seasons of "Little House," Sidney and Lindsay left the series because they got tired of repeatedly playing the same role. The TV show also declined in ratings.  

The twins called it quits following the end of that season. For the ninth season, they rebooted the show as "Little House: A New Beginning." However, fans of the twins and their co-stars ignored the spinoff, which was canceled several months later. 

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After their stint in "Little House" in 1982, Lindsay and Sidney struggled to find suitable roles. Lindsay guest-starred in "Matt Houston" in 1983, portraying an abuse victim. 

She tried her luck at auditioning for the part of Dorothy Gale in "Return To Oz." Unfortunately, the producers passed on her because she was considered too old.  

On the other hand, her sister Sidney starred as Amy McVickers on "Hillie and Hambone" in 1984 with the late Alan Hale. Apart from minor roles here and there, the twins gradually disappeared from the limelight.  

THE TWINS' LIVES FORTY YEARS LATER 

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Lindsay Greenbush attending Chiller Theater Expo Winter 2017 at Parsippany Hilton on October 27, 2017 in Parsippany, New Jersey. / Source: Getty Images

Forty years after leaving "Little House," Lindsay and Sidney are all grown up and lead separate lives. In April 2015, Lindsay revealed on Twitter that she got married in 2014 while replying to another user and disclosed that her sister was not on the platform: 

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"Yes, I got married last year. My sister isn't on Twitter." 

Sidney (three minutes older than her sibling) was married to William "Rocky" Foster for nine years before he committed suicide. She now competes in women's professional rodeo and trains and consigns horses at her ranch in Little Rock, California. She is not active on social media per her sibling. 

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Sidney never remarried after her husband's death and had no kids. She also works in the IT industry for a residential builder as a sales system administrator: 

"I never thought I would have an IT type of job, but that's what I do." 

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Meanwhile, her sister, Lindsay, has a daughter named Katelynn, born in 1995 and married her first husband, Frank Dornan, in 2001. Like her sister, she is also a horse trainer in Simi Valley, California.  

Lindsay also works for the Kid Gloves Boxing Foundation. She divorced her spouse and married for the second time to Daniel Sanchez in 2014.  

The couple met in 1977 thanks to "Little House," during the filming for the episode "The Wolves." Lindsay was resting in the shade of an oak tree when she saw Sanchez, a young boy who lived nearby, visiting the set.  

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Thirty years later, the pair met again and became an item. In July 2014, they had their wedding ceremony under the same tree that had been the site of their first meeting.  

Lindsay recalled the period in March 2019, sharing on Twitter the image of the place featuring guests on the day of the event. She revealed she was seven years old when they met.  

In July 2018, Lindsay celebrated her wedding anniversary with Sanchez on Twitter, posting throwback photographs from their big day.  

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The mom of one tweeted her beloved spouse is her life partner and is blessed to have him in her life. Lindsay said Sanchez makes her laugh, picks her up as he is her pillar of strength, and always encourages her to move forward in life: 

"Life has been such a grand adventure since you came into my life. You enrich my soul." 

In November 2018, Lindsay also expressed how proud she was of the couple's son, who had been dispatched to Malibu with his crew to restore power, sharing a photo of him while at work.  

'LITTLE HOUSE' REUNION - HIGH EMOTIONS

Pictured: (L-R standing) Matthew Labyorteaux, Michael Landon, Jr., Alison Arngrim, Dean Butler, Lindsay Greenbush, (L-R seated) Karen Grassle, and Melissa Sue Anderson of "Little House on the Prairie" interviewed by AJ Calloway (R) during their visit to "Extra" at their New York studios at H&M in Times Square on April 30, 2014 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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Apart from showing how proud she was of her child, Lindsay also attended the "Little House" reunion with the cast in 2014, but her sister Sidney was absent. While there, she spoke highly of Landon: 

"He was like Superman to us kids, and it's still hard now to think of him not being here. He was the one person nothing could ever happen to." 

When the show ended with a two-hour finale in February 1984, actress Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls, said the ending of residents blowing up Walnut Grove's land gave them closure. 

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Though she was glad that they did it, it was saddening. "Saying goodbye wasn't easy. The cast and crew were family. I still weep whenever I watch it," said Gilbert.  

Meanwhile, Karen Grassle, who played Caroline Ingalls, said it was a shame. "We could have done annual specials about the characters. But once you blow up the town, you can't do that," she noted. Meanwhile, Lindsay shared that she has not been able to watch the episode to this day.

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