Melissa Gilbert is one hands-on lady! The actress, 56, who is best remembered as Laura Ingalls Wilder in the beloved Little House on the Prairie series, opened up exclusively to Us Weekly with 25 things you might not know about her — including her latest DIY projects, a long lost half-sister she’s on the lookout for and her secret talents. Read on to learn more facts about the Guest Artist producer.
1. During the pandemic, my hubby [Timothy Busfield] and I DIY’d our raised planters, garden enclosure, chicken coop and electric fence.
2. I’ve single-handedly assembled everything from toys to tricycles, stereo systems to Ikea cabinets — even table saws!
3. I’m horribly allergic to bees, even though my name means honeybee in Greek. [But] I love anything honey-flavored or scented.
4. I start every morning with a bowl-size cup of PG Tips tea with honey and half-and-half, which my sweet husband makes for me. Then I read the news while listening to soundtracks.
5. I once drove to a nature center with a chipmunk I’d rescued biting my index finger.
6. I’m a trained 11th Hour pediatric-hospice volunteer.
7. My all-time favorite animals are otters. I cry when I see them.
8. I’ve broken several bones, including [in] my back, and have had 12 non-cosmetic surgeries.
9. I can only sleep well in a very cold room.
10. Not only did I produce Guest Artist with my husband and Jeff Daniels, but I secured our locations, oversaw production design and raised the money to cover our budget.
11. My first crush was Adam West’s Batman.
12. I did my first musical [Little House on the Prairie, the Musical] at the age of 45.
13. My grandfather, Harry Crane, created The Honeymooners. Whenever I watch it, I can absolutely hear him and my grandmother, Julia, in Ralph and Alice Kramden.
14. All of my husbands’ last names start with “B” [Busfield and exes Bo Brinkman and Bruce Boxleitner], so I’ve never had to buy new monogrammed towels.
16. I can bat left- or right-handed.
17. I absolutely cannot stand the taste of saffron.
18. I can play AC/DC’s “Back in Black” and The Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers” on the drums.
19. I gifted myself surfing lessons on my 40th birthday.
20. My first car was a beige 1980 Chrysler LeBaron station wagon.
21. My star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame isn’t very far from my father’s, Paul Gilbert. That makes mine so much sweeter.
22. I started studying ballet when I was 2 years old. I still take classes today.
23. I can drive anything from a six-up stagecoach to an 18-wheeler.
24. I can juggle.
25. I have two older half-sisters. I’ve reconnected with one, Susan Gilbert-Randal. I’ve never met and would love to find my other, Gigi Gilbert. Gigi, if you’re reading this, I’m looking for you!
Guest Artist is available to watch on digital platforms and in select theaters.