Little House On The Prairie actor Richard Bull has died at the age of 89. He passed away on Monday morning (03Feb14) at the Motion Picture Television Fund community centre in California.
His TV daughter Alison Arngrim broke the news to fans online on Monday night (03Feb14) by sharing a black-and-white photo of Bull on her Twitter.com page alongside the simple message, "Goodnight Pa".
She added, "Today we lost my TV 'Pa', the wonderful Richard Bull. In real life, he was just as kind, intelligent, thoughtful and reasonable as you'd expect (his character) Nels Oleson to be."
Fellow co-star Melissa Gilbert also took to her Twitter blog to pay tribute, writing, "This man will be missed. Goodbye Richard working with you was such a joy but not nearly as joyful as being your friend."
Born in 1924, Bull began his acting career on stage in Chicago, Illinois, before establishing himself as a character actor on 1960s TV series such as The Eleventh Hour, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Mannix.
He will be best remembered for his role as shopkeeper Nels Oleson on Little House on the Prairie, based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was portrayed by child star Gilbert.
Bull later reunited with his Little House on the Prairie co-star Michael Landon in 1988's Highway to Heaven.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, actress Barbara Collentine.
Director David Gordon Green is bringing celebrated author Laura Ingalls Wilder's books to life on the big screen as part of a new film project. The Pineapple Express filmmaker reveals he has been reading the writer's 1932 childrens novel Little House in the Big Woods in preparation for a movie adaptation, although few other details about the film are known.
Filling out the Culture Diary section for New York Magazine, in which stars share a week in their lives with readers, he writes, "Read Little House in the Big Woods. I'm developing a new film based on the old Laura Ingalls Wilder books."
Wilder's books were based on her early childhood with her pioneering family at their woodland home near the village of Pepin, Wisconsin. Her stories have spawned numerous TV series and movies over the years, with actress Melissa Gilbert famously portraying the writer in Little House on the Prairie, which aired on television around the globe in the 1970s and 1980s.
Wilder died in 1957, aged 90.
In the early 2000s, the winds of Hollywood carried the name of an artist to be known: David Gordon Green. A sincere, introspective director who'd create works like George Washington, All the Real Girls, and Undertow. Only a few years into his film career, Green had already neared a degree of reverence most auteurs could only dream of. But following his 2007 picture Snow Angels, Green found a new path: a path of laughter. Drug- and sex-infused laughter, riddled with Francos and Rogens and McBrides. Starting in 2008, the director has churned out an array of raunchy, lowbrow comedies: Pineapple Express, Your Highness, The Sitter, and counting. As this is the David Gordon Green with which we've become familiar, his newest claim might be particularly surprising: a Little House on the Prairie movie adaptation.
Deadline reports that Green is in talks to handle the project, with Abi Morgan pegged to write the script. In other words, it just got weirder. One of Morgan's greatest achievements is the 2011 Michael Fassbender film Shame, a quiet, deliberate, and poetic look at a haunting, jarring sex addiction. The idea of Morgan teaming with a post-'07 Green is alone an odd bit of news, but the fact that these two are tackling a Little House on the Prairie movie might fuel some very stirring nightmares.
The wholesome-as-Grandma's-gingerbread 1970s drama (based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's 1930s book series) was indelibly sincere, both in its handling of the broader strokes of love and family values, and in some of its darker turns, dealing with prejudice and rape. But even episodes centering on such themes as these would not hold a candle to the dark, hellish mood encompassed by Morgan's Shame script. In fact, in light of the air of cynicism and self-awareness with which all modern projects are inherently battered, a Little House on the Prairie film would be hard pressed to capture the character of the original show.
So what kind of Little House are we in for? One with the cutting trauma that laced Shame? Something with the earnest romance present in each of Green's earlier movies? Or will this be a piece of go-for-broke madness, channeling Your Highness (hey, they're both period pieces!), The Sitter (children! families!), and Pineapple Express (people smoked pot on prairies in the 1800s, right?), to create a zany comedic look at the television classic? No matter what, we're prepared for something weird. But that doesn't mean it won't also be something very interesting.
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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