We all loved to hate her as Harriet Oleson in Little House on the Prairie, but in real life, Katherine MacGregor was loved by many.

Katherine MacGregor, who played Nellie and Willie’s mother on the hit television series Little House on the Prairie, has passed away at 93. 

According to a representative, MacGregor died at the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement community in Los Angeles. 

MacGregor was on the show for its entire run, as was Michael Landon, the show’s star, who died in 1991 at 54, and Melissa Gilbert, who played the young Laura Ingalls.

In an Instagram post, Melissa Gilbert called Katherine MacGregor “a truly gifted actress, as she was able to play a despicable character but with so much heart.”

“I really loved her and I find great comfort knowing that she is at peace and, per her beliefs, her soul has moved on to its next incarnation.”


Actor William Shatner called MacGregor “deliciously wicked” on the show. 

Alison Arngrim, who played MacGregor’s television daughter, said that MacGregor “had an extremely long and full life and is at peace… we will all miss her.”

The California-born MacGregor began as a dancer in New York before shifting to acting, studying under legendary teacher Sanford Meisner.


Her screen career consisted of tiny film roles and TV guest spots before she landed on Little House on the Prairie, the beloved TV series based on a book series that author Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about her childhood.