Interview: Wendi Turnbaugh
August 9, 2006
This in an exclusive interview for this website (www.zunshine.com/turnbaugh) only. Do NOT take it!
Big thanks to Wendi Turnbaugh for agreeing to do this interview!!
First of all, could you tell us a little about how you and Brenda were cast as Grace Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie"?
Over lunch really... my grandmother and Sue McKray were talking about the show and how they were looking for the newest member of the Ingalls family. We were blonde with blue eyes and the right age so we met Michael and he gave us the thumbs up.
What is your earliest acting memory?
I really don't remember much of the actual filming until our last season... #8. But I do remember being on the set very early in the morning and getting a doughnut when we arrived. Isn't it funny that kids always remember the food!
Do you have a favourite episode of "Little House", or a scene that you especially enjoyed filming?
I don't remember filming it because I was way too young but I love it now... Dance with Me with Ray Bolger, when he's having love problems and he's talking to me about it.
Do you have a least favourite episode of "Little House", or a scene that you didn't enjoy?
I'm sure the episode I enjoyed the least was when Ma was gone for some reason and Pa was doing the cooking. They didn't want Grace to like Pa's cooking so they put pepper in the oatmeal. We cried and cried... we would never eat anything from Pa again.
Can you remember anything you did in an episode that wasn’t in the script, but ended up being kept anyway?
There was an episode in season 6 where we were at the dinner table and I was eating with two spoons... Michael made a joke out of it and totally worked it in, he was so good at that.
Considering how very young you were, what was the usual procedure for you to learn what you were supposed to do for each episode ?
My mom would prep us if we were suppose to walk holding Ma's hand or sit and eat... but we were so little that usually we just went with the flow as if we were being filmed at all.
How would you and Brenda usually divide your time as Grace?
When we were young it all depended on our moods... Brenda was a happier baby and so I ended up with most of the scenes where they needed a crying baby.
What are your memories of your "Little House-family":
- Michael Landon (Charles/Pa)?
Most loving man, very patient and happy.
- Karen Grassle (Caroline/Ma)?
So gentle and caring, it is surprising that she wasn't a mother herself but played the part so naturally.
- Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary)?
Not many memories as she was out of the house so soon after we enter the picture.
- Melissa Gilbert (Laura)?
Very fun sister, played with us a lot.
- Lindsay & Sidney Greenbush / Rachel & Robyn Bush (Carrie)?
Our buddies, we would follow them around.
- Matthew Laborteaux (Albert)?
Not too many but he was always around and very nice.
- Jason Bateman (James)?
We really liked Jason, our last season he came and would play with us.
- Missy Francis (Cassandra)?
We liked Cassandra too, but if I recall correctly she was very shy.
Could you tell us some ways to tell you and Brenda apart on "Little House"?
My mom has troubles telling us apart on the show so I'm afraid you're out of luck, but our last season Brenda chipped her tooth one weekend so if you see that you'll know it's Bren.
What would you say are the biggest differences between you and Brenda when it comes personality? And in what ways would you say you are similar?
When we were younger Brenda was always a little more serious and determined while I was more happy-go-lucky. But as we both have been married and have children we see our personalities becoming much more in the middle.
Could you please tell us about the commercial you and Brenda did?
What fun!! We were dressed in cowgirl outfits while a set of boy twins were in indians outfits. We chased them around while the mom tried to talk on the phone. At the end Bren is tied back-to-back with the indian boy. We loved it and wanted to keep our outfits so badly. Unfortunately that was our last acting experience.
Do people still recognize you as "Baby Grace"?
Oh no... everyone is very surprised when they hear and ask if our hair was really that blonde.
Do you regard your time on "Little House on the Prairie" as a positive or negative experience?
Little House was very positive but also a real blessing to our family. My mom was a single mom trying to raise 3 girls on her own. So you can imagine what an incredible opportunity it was to have some financial help at that time in our lives.
Finally, could you tell us a little about your life today?
I am married to the most incredible man... his name is Josh and he loves me like crazy. I have the most adorable little boy named Tobey, he's almost 2 and then I'm pregnant with another due in December. I work three days a week with my mom learning the upholstery trade. I'm loving life and very thankful to our Lord Jesus for the way he's blessed me.