NBC (ended 1983)
Nellie Oleson (in the books) is actually based on several different girls that Laura met and came to know in the many places she lived with her family.
The most obvious being Nellie Owens who lived in Walnut Grove and whose father did, in fact, own the local mercantile. She also had a brother named Willie.
The other major influence on the character was a girl by the name of Genevieve Masters, who was the daughter of the local teacher in DeSmet. It was probably Genevieve whose disposition was given to "Nellie", as she was a snobbish girl who frequently bragged about having lived in New York City before moving west with her family. She and Laura did not get along very well.
There are probably one or two more girls that are wrapped up into the character that became "Nellie", but these two are largely considered the most significant influences.
For the TV show, the writers simply took the characters of the Oleson family from the books and expanded upon them.
Merlin Olsen just passed away in March (2010) from cancer. Richard Bull was one of my favourite actors on LHOP. Actually, I corresponded with Kevin Hagen a few times, who passed away in 2005, starting in the fall of 2003. His uncle was an EENT specialist. I would love to send a message to Richard Bull. Thanks. A Canadian fan of LHOP.
I'm kind of embarassed to admit it, but I watch LHOTP whenever I can. I'm a 35 year old man that grew up watching the show. I have not been able to let it go. My buddies give me a hard time because I know just about everything there is to know about the show. I even took a detour to drive though Walnut Grove on a business trip to MN. Anyway, can anyone tell me how to maybe get a signed picture or even just talk to anyone of the actors on the show? I must sound like a stalker, but I would just like to ask some questions about the show and/or talk to some of the truly greatest actors of the time. Thanks.
I'm 36 years old and still watch the little house, in some ways I'm a little obsessed with the programme. The way they all come together in difficult times and celebrate the good times makes me wish in this day and age the community spirit still lived on. I would love to meet the actors of the little house as it would make my dream come true