Back to the ‘big woods’

melissa_gilbert.jpgNews today that Melissa Gilbert is coming to the Twin Cities to play in the Guthrie’s production of “Little House on the Prairie,” got some of the newsroom tongues wagging this morning.

Gilbert, who played “Half Pint” Laura on the TV version, is 44 now, so she’ll play the part of “Ma.”

Her career is the stuff pop culture trivia fans drool over.

Why, just consider her post-Little House career when she ran for — and won — the presidency of the Screen Actors Guild, which appears to be the province of actors who couldn’t escape their biggest hit.

She won in a bruising battle with Rhoda (Valerie Harper) in 2001. She won re-election in 2003, beating Kent McCord (big points to you if you immediately recognized him as one-half of the Adam-12 patrol team. Bigger points if you could name Martin Milner as his partner).

After playing in the fine TV production, The Miracle Worker, Gilbert competed for News Cut’s Valerie Bertinelli Award via a run of mostly forgettable TV movies and series. In 2006, for example, In 2006, she appeared as Shari Noble, a patient looking to reconstruct her nipples after committing zoophilia with her dog in an episode of Nip/Tuck.

You can’t make this stuff up.

She became the darling of The Lifetime Network, the network with such movie titles as:

Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal ; Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy; and Nice Guys Sleep Alone .

  • I best know her from her two-episode stint on Babylon 5 as the former wife of John Sheridan, played by her real life husband Bruce Boxleitner.

    Absolutely perfect casting, especially since she was playing far against type.