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NBC "The Today Show" Transcript (July 29, 1999)


Interview with Melissa Sue Anderson

by Jill Rappaport


RAPPAPORT: Great role. All right, finally, a blast from the past with Melissa Sue Anderson.

Ms. MELISSA SUE ANDERSON: It was a great experience. It was a great way to spend most of my childhood, a lot of my childhood from 11 to, gosh, about 19.

RAPPAPORT: All your teen years.

Ms. ANDERSON: So--mm-hmm.

(Clip of "Little House on the Prairie" shown)

RAPPAPORT: It was such an intense role. You went blind on the show, you had a miscarriage, you had a child that actually died in a fire. You went insane.

Ms. ANDERSON: That's right. That's right. Yeah. It was--it was tough. That's the--the only time that a series regular has ever become blind and stayed blind. Nobody could believe it. And I kept getting fan letters saying, it's so nice that they incorporated your blindness into the show, you know, because people actually believed it, and--and, you know...

RAPPAPORT: Good acting.

Ms. ANDERSON: Oh, it was very flattering.

(Clip of "Little House on the Prairie" shown)

RAPPAPORT: Now, there were reports off the set there was a little animosity between you and Melissa Gilbert because she was getting more attention, Half Pint was, you know, Michael Landon's favorite. Any truth to that?

Ms. ANDERSON: No, no, not at all. I think one of the things I actually said in--in an article recently, kid--kiddingly, but no. We were--Melissa and I always got along. Again, we were very different people.

RAPPAPORT: Well, I'm glad you set the record straight for all us "Little House on the Prairie" fans. We want to know if there was peace at home.

Ms. ANDERSON: Oh, no. That's right, no, there really was.

RAPPAPORT: There's one more thing. I read about before you did "Little House on the Prairie" you got your big break giving Bobby Brady his first kiss?

Ms. ANDERSON: Yes. Yes.

RAPPAPORT: That's your big claim to fame everyone should know, right?

Ms. ANDERSON: Yes. Yes.

(Clip of "The Brady Bunch" shown)

Ms. ANDERSON: We were just humiliated. I mean, we were like, what are we doing? Why are we doing this? But we ran and they did it in slow motion and the hair was flying. And we--oh--and then we had to kiss and it was just--I practiced on my dog, I remember that.

RAPPAPORT: And from that kiss you went to the prairie.

Ms. ANDERSON: That's right.

RAPPAPORT: Ooh, Bobby Brady, you wild man. And she says her best role now is being a mom. It was really fun to interview her.

LAUER: It was nice to check in with her again. Jill, thanks very much.

RAPPAPORT: Yeah. I loved that show.