Remember Caroline Ingalls from 'Little House on the Prairie'? She's 76 now and looks even cuter

Cheryl Kahla
Apr 12, 2018
12:59 P.M.
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Karen Grassle is most famously known for her portrayal of Caroline Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. She appeared in 182 episodes. 


Grassle celebrated her 76th birthday on February 25, 2018, and her acting career spans nearly forty years. Her last part was in 2012, as Aunt Dorothy in My Greatest Teacher. 

According to the Little House on the Prairie blog, Grassle might have won hearts as Caroline Ingalls, but she 'had a thriving career beyond that' as well. 

Grassle's passion for acting was lit when she enrolled at the University of California in 1942. She joined the University's theatre productions and went on to study at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. 


“That was one of the most exciting learning experiences of my life: the school was superb, and we could go to the theater in London and see the finest actors and productions.”

Karen Grassle, Little House on the Prairie.

Theatre would always be her first love, but Grassle decided to expand her career in early 1970's and landed the role of Caroline in 1974. 


She recalls that silver screen acting came with a learning curve, but she was willing to learn and observed her cast members and their 'professional attitude' towards a role. 

She incorporated everything she learned in her character, and faithful fans of the show know Caroline, or Ma, as the glue that kept the family together. 


The award-winning show came to an end in 1983 and Grassle returned to her roots in theatre, but also expanded her repertoire to include movies and other television shows. 

In 1978, she co-wrote a screenplay for the film Battered, a moment Grassle describes as one of her proudest. It gave her a new avenue to express her creativity. 

She went on to star in two episodes of Murder She Wrote, as well as made-for-TV films such as The President's Mistress, Crisis in Mid-Air and Wyatt Earp. 

Grassle remains in close contact with several members of the Prairie cast and currently resides in San Francisco Bay where she lives with her daughter, Lily.