On the first four seasons of Little House on the Prairie, the schoolteacher for the kids of Walnut Grove was Miss Beadle, played by Charlotte Stewart. The actor appeared on the classic series from 1974 to 1978. And even though she wasn't there for all nine seasons of the show, she made a big impression on fans.
"I get lots of comments from teachers who say, 'I became a teacher because of Miss Beadle,'" Stewart told Smashing Interviews in 2016. "There is no greater compliment."
Aside from Little House on the Prairie, Stewart is best known for her work with director David Lynch on the movie Eraserhead and in the series Twin Peaks. Today, she's still celebrating her biggest projects at fan events around the country. Read on to find out more about her life now at 81.
She was already acting before Little House.
Stewart's movie and TV career began in the 1960s. Prior to her time on Little House on the Prairie, she appeared on the shows My Three Sons, Hawaii Five-O, Bonanza, The Waltons, and Gunsmoke. She also had a role in the 1968 Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra movie Speedway.
Her career has spanned several decades.
In addition to playing Miss Beadle, Stewart is most famous for her role as Mary X in Lynch's first feature-length movie, 1977's Eraserhead. She worked with Lynch again on the TV series Twin Peaks, which aired from 1990 to 1991. Stewart played Betty Briggs and returned to the role when Twin Peaks was revived for a third season—over 25 years after the original run—in 2017.
Her most recent role was in 2018's Livin' on a Prairie, which is about a woman who is a super-fan of Little House on the Prairie. Stewart played a bartender.
She's been married three times.
Stewart's first husband was Tim Considine, with whom she appeared on My Three Sons in the 1960s. She married again in 1992 to David Banks, and they were together until his passing in 2012. In 2015, Stewart married her current husband, Michael Santos, after a chance meeting.
"I ran into an old friend two years ago Christmas Eve," she told Smashing Interviews in 2016. "We hadn't seen each other in 30 years. We clicked, and that was that. We got married Aug. 30 of last year. I'm starting a brand new phase of my life, and I've never been busier. Things are better, better than ever!" She added, "I have a wonderful family here, a sister and brother, a zillion nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews and wonderful friends. My life is good."
She wrote a memoir.
Stewart published her memoir, Little House in the Hollywood Hills, in 2016. According to an interview with Fox News, the book includes stories of her friendship with Doors frontman Jim Morrison and chronicles of her journey to sobriety. In the interview, she credited her Little House co-star Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson, for encouraging her to write the book.
She attends fan conventions.
Both Little House on the Prairie and Twin Peaks have devoted fans, and Stewart attends fan events in support of both shows. She also makes videos for fans on Cameo. She told Smashing Interviews that she wasn't invited to fan conventions for Little House in the early days, but that Arngrim urged her to go.
"I was never invited. Then all of a sudden, Alison Arngrim said, 'You've got to go! You have to see this phenomenon,'" Stewart explained. "The first time I went, it knocked my socks off! I started crying as I walked down the aisle in a big outdoor park where there was probably 1,000 people clapping. It just overwhelmed me. I so appreciate our fanbase."