Hersha Parady, Actress Known for Playing Alice Garvey on ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ Dies at 78

Hersha Parady, who played schoolteacher Alice Garvey on the beloved show “Little House on the Prairie,” has died after a long struggle with a brain tumor. She was 78.

The actress’ death was first confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by her son, Jonathan Peverall, who did not immediately respond to messages sent Thursday. Peverall had started a GoFundMe page to help with her medical expenses.

“Hersha, who has always been an active and outgoing woman, is battling a tough medical condition – a brain tumor known as meningioma,” he wrote in July.”This illness has robbed her of her strength, her memory, and sadly, her vibrant personality. She has become largely bedridden, and it is very difficult to see my Mom, who was once full of life and energy, now struggling with basic daily activities.”

Parady played Walnut Grove schoolteacher Mrs. Garvey from 1977-1980, and the Garveys (Merlin Olsen played Jonathan Garvey) were close to the Ingalls family. When a devastating fire began to ravage the Walnut Grove School for the Blind, Teacher Alice was attempting to save a baby but perished, along with several children.

Teacher Alice from "Little House on the Prairie."
Teacher Alice from “Little House on the Prairie.”

Her character’s on-screen death was something Parady herself was OK with, but the scene spurred one of Hollywood’s lasting legends: Teacher Alice is seen trying to break out through a window that, according to legend, wasn’t made of breakaway glass, causing some to remark that she appeared to use the (prosthetic) infant as a “battering ram” – perhaps the result of an intentional prank by series star Michael Landon.

Parady grew up in Ohio and got her acting start in episodes of “Bearcats!” “The Waltons” and a “Gunsmoke” spin-off pilot. She had auditioned for the role of Caroline Ingalls on “Little House,” but the part went to Karen Grassle. She would instead first appear in show’s third season – but as a different character, Charles Ingalls’ sister-in-law.

Her post-“Little House” credits included mid-’90s films “The Break” and “Raw Courage.” She was married to Oscar-winning “Deer Hunter” producer John Pervall.

The post Hersha Parady, Actress Known for Playing Alice Garvey on ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ Dies at 78 appeared first on TheWrap.