‘Small House on the Prairie’ important particular person Alison Arngrim finds the ‘helpful debt’ she owes Sean Penn
The recent Discovery+ documentary Citizen Penn, shines a highlight on Sean Penn’s second profession as an activist and humanitarian. However the Oscar-superior actor has a prolonged historical past of helping others. In a most standard interview with Alison Arngrim, the Small House on the Prairie important particular person revealed how a teenage Penn came to her wait on on the location of the loved NBC drama… by passing out. “I owe him a helpful debt,” the actress tells Yahoo Entertainment 40 years after her time on Small House ended. (Peek our video interview above.)
Right here’s the backstory: Even supposing it was location in 19th-century Minnesota, the Small House series was filmed in 20th century Simi Valley — an space of California where temperatures skyrocket one day of the summer. Arngrim was 12 when she was solid on the expose as Nellie Oleson, a feature she conducted for seven seasons, from 1974 to 1981. Alongside alongside with her fellow minute one co-stars like Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson, Arngrim had to employ these prolonged, hot days in heavy duration garb. “Every summer, I’d faint because it was one million degrees where we filmed,” she remembers. “I was carrying a costume and petticoats and a wig. It was insanely hot, and I’d infrequently recede out.”
Arngrim recalls that her out of the ordinary fainting spells did no longer engender grand sympathy from the grownup solid and crew individuals. “People had been having a glimpse at me like I was some model of wuss,” she says. Enter a teenage Sean Penn, whose father, Leo Penn, was one in every of the alternate’s most prolific directors of episodic television at the time. The elder Penn had been employed to instruct a 1974 episode of Small House, and he seized the choice to give his then-14-year-primitive son his first on-camera appearance. “Sean was precipitated location to dangle out and be an further,” Arngrim explains. “He had no traces, he was correct within the scene.”
Penn could perhaps no longer recognize had any traces within the episode, but he ended up speaking volumes off-camera. At one point one day of the day, he was overcome by the warmth and passed out. “This actual teenage boy went down like a sack of potatoes!” Arngrim remembers. “And he did no longer rating support up again: I always got support up again. He was down for the day.” Penn’s predicament ended up convincing the Small House solid and crew that the warmth was a actual dispute for the younger actors like Arngrim. “I was decrease a quantity of slack [after that],” she says. “They had been like, ‘Presumably she’s no longer making this up.'”
Penn made one extra appearance on Small House in a 1975 episode that his father directed, and then took a spoil from acting except 1979 when he started reserving his rating gigs. In 1981 — the identical year that Arngrim filmed her final episodes of the series — he landed a actual-display cloak cloak breakout feature within the drama, Taps, alongside rising stars Tom Cruise and Timothy Hutton. That movie build Penn on the fling to becoming one in every of the most sought-after actors of his era, as smartly as a two-time Oscar winner for 2003’s Mystic River and 2008’s Milk.
When he’s no longer acting, Penn also oversees the charity group, CORE, which affords catastrophe reduction to countries like Haiti. And Arngrim says that she’s since had the possibility to thank her ragged co-important particular person for the scheme he assisted her at the origin of his profession. “Years later, I had a possibility assembly with Sean and [thanked him]. He was like, ‘You are welcome.’ So I did rating to thank Sean Penn for having the factual grace to maneuver out like a sack of potatoes!”
Small House on the Prairie is for the time being streaming on High Video.
— Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by John Santo
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