Katherine MacGregor, best known for her role as Harriet Oleson on Little House on the Prairie, has died. She was 93. MacGregor died Tuesday in Woodland Hills, California, her representative confirmed to NBC News.
MacGregor played the general store owner’s wife Harriet Oleson on all nine seasons of the 1970s series. Her favorite description of the character came in a fan letter from Minnesota in the 1970s, in which Mrs. Oleson was described as “the touch of pepper in the sweetness of the show”.
In an interview with the Santa Cruz Sentinel in 1981, MacGregor said she looked “for the humor of Mrs. Oleson,” adding “She was originally painted as just black-and-white mean. Anyone that mean has to be a fool. So I began mixing farce into it. I think the audience counts on seeing Mrs. Oleson fall on her fanny.”
Prior to Little House, MacGregor appeared on stage on and off Broadway in New York and other state’s productions including The Seven Year It and Handful of Fire. She also appeared in various television series including Love of Life (1956), The Secret Storm, The Nurses, Play of the Week (1959), East Side/West Side (1963), Mannix (1970–71), Emergency! (1972), Ironside (1972, 1974), and All in the Family (1973). She also had roles in TV movies including The Death of Me Yet (1971), The Girls of Huntington House (1973), and Tell Me Where It Hurts (1974).
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After Little House wrapped its run, MacGregor mainly returned to local theater, opting to work onstage in favor of TV and film work.
Little House star Melissa Gilbert paid tribute to MacGregor on Twitter.
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