Little House actor Richard Bull dies at 89

By: CBS
By: CBS
Actor Richard Bull, best known as long-suffering storekeeper  Nels Oleson on "Little House on the Prairie," has died. He was 89.

Richard Bull, The shopkeeper in Little House On The Prairie.

Calabasas, CA, (CBS) - Actor Richard Bull, best known as long-suffering storekeeper Nels Oleson on "Little House on the Prairie," has died. He was 89.

Bull died Monday in Calabasas, Calif., according to his TV daughter Alison Arngrim.

"Goodbye Pa," tweeted Arngrim, who played nasty Nellie Oleson on the show, which ran from 1973-1984.

Born in Zion, Ill., Bull had roles in the 1968 movie “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “The Andromeda Strain” (1971) and “High Plains Drifter” (1973).

He was a regular on the 1960s TV series "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and appeared in several other shows, including "Peyton Place," "The Andy Griffith Show," "Family Affair," "Barnaby Jones," "Mission: Impossible" and "Hill Street Blues."

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But Bull was best known as Nels Oleson, the mild-mannered mercantile owner on "Little House." Poor Mr. Nelson was hectored by his arrogant, greedy wife Harriet (played by Katherine "Scottie" MacGregor) and spoiled children Nellie (Arngrim) and Willie (Jonathan Gilbert).

In real life, Bull was happily married to Barbara Collentine for more than 65 years.

"I sometimes feel sorry for Nels Oleson," Bull told United Press International in a 1979 article that Arngrim tweeted. "I couldn't take some of the things he does. Barbara and I share everything and try to be a burden to each other."

After "Little House" ended, Bull appeared with Michael Landon and and Victor French on a few episodes of "Highway to Heaven."

Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on "Little House," was among his former cast mates tweeting tributes.

Bull is survived by his wife. They had no children.


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