Born: February 25, 1942
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, U.S.
Karen Trust Grassle (born February 25, 1942) is an American actress, known for her role as Caroline Ingalls, the wife of Michael Landon's character and the mother of Melissa Sue Anderson’s and Melissa Gilbert's character, in the NBC television drama series Little House on the Prairie.
Grassle graduated from Ventura High School in 1959, and afterward enrolled in Sophie Newcomb College (Tulane University, 1959-60) and then the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated with two BA degrees in 1965, one in English, the other in Dramatic Art. She received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her parents farmed during the depression.
Grassle's first acting job in New York City was in the short-lived 1968 play The Gingham Dog. Grassle played in Butterflies are Free at the Elitch Theatre in Denver, Colorado, in June 1972, along with Maureen O'Sullivan and Brandon deWilde, who was killed before leaving town after the performances ended.
Prior to portraying Caroline Ingalls, Grassle appeared in two TV series: one episode of the soap opera Love of Life as Bonnie Draper, and one episode of Gunsmoke entitled "The Wiving" as Fran, one of several saloon girls kidnapped à la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Grassle auditioned for the role of the mother, Caroline Ingalls, in the Little House on the Prairie TV series and won the part. The series ran for nine seasons, from 1974 to 1983. During this time she played Kathy, the wife of Edward Herrmann's title character in Harry's War, a 1981 American film. She has great concern over the treatment of battered women.
After the series ended, she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and became co-founder of Santa Fe’s Resource Theater Company. Later she moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where she performed with the company of actors at Actors Theatre. Eventually, she moved back to California, where she still currently lives.
In 2006, she performed in Driving Miss Daisy in the starring role of Miss Daisy at the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. In August 2008, Grassle agreed to sign up as the promotional face for Premier Bathrooms, a supplier of bathing products for the elderly and infirm.
|1974-82||Little House on the Prairie||Caroline Ingalls||182 episodes|
|1974||Gunsmoke||Fran||Episode: "The Wiving"|
|1977||Emily, Emily||Terry||TV film|
|1978||The President's Mistress||Donna Morton||TV film|
|1978||Battered||Susannah Hawks||Also writer|
|1979||Crisis in Mid-air||Betsy Culver||TV film|
|1979||Little House Years||Caroline Ingalls||TV special of Little House on the Prairie|
|1981||Harry's War||Kathy||Feature film|
|1981||The Love Boat||Paula||Episode: "Maid for Each Other/Lost and Found/Then There Were Two"|
|1983||Cocaine: One Man's Seduction||Barbara Gant||TV film|
|1983||Hotel||Susan Walker||Episode: "Christmas"|
|1984||Little House: The Last Farewell||Caroline Ingalls||TV film|
|1985||Between the Darkness and the Dawn||Ellen Foster Holland||TV film|
|1987||Murder, She Wrote||Christine Stoneham||Episode: "Murder in a Minor Key"|
|1988||Murder, She Wrote||Fay Hewitt||Episode: "Harbinger of Death"|
|1994||Wyatt Earp||Mrs. Sutherland||Feature film|
|2012||Tales of Everyday Magic||Aunt Dorothy||Feature film|
|2012||My Greatest Teacher||Aunt Dorothy||Feature film|