Richard Bull, who played long-suffering shopkeeper Nels Oleson on the hit NBC series "Little House on the Prairie," died Monday at the age of 89.
The actor starred on the show for its entire run, which lasted from 1974-1983. Former co-stars Melissa Sue Anderson, Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim commented on his passing.
In an exclusive statement to Closer, Anderson, who played eldest Ingalls child Mary, says of Bull, "He was a lovely man and an excellent actor. He made it look easy - you could never catch him 'acting.'
"He was great fun to work with, and he never saw himself as a celebrity," Anderson continues. "He preferred to think of himself as fortunate to be a steadily employed actor. Everyone loved Richard. He will be missed."
"Goodbye Richard working with you was such a joy but nearly as joyful as being your friend," wrote Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls on the long-running family drama.
Arngrim, who played Bull's daughter Nellie Oleson, tweeted:
Goodnight Pa. pic.twitter.com/5M47tbi9y6— Arngrim (@Arngrim) February 4, 2014
Goodnight Pa. pic.twitter.com/5M47tbi9y6
I just want to say, I am truly very touched by the overwhelming - and world wide - outpouring of love for Richard Bull. Thank you. Merci.— Arngrim (@Arngrim) February 4, 2014
I just want to say, I am truly very touched by the overwhelming - and world wide - outpouring of love for Richard Bull. Thank you. Merci.
Bull was born in 1924 and began working on television in the late '50s. He also had roles on the series "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and "Highway to Heaven," which costarred his "Prairie" castmate, Michael Landon.
He had guest appearances on shows such as "Streets of San Francisco," "Gomer Pyle" and "Hill Street Blues."
But his most famous role was Nels, who was often portrayed as the tolerant and kind general store owner, a contrast to his sharp-tongued wife Harriet (Katherine MacGregor) and his spoiled children Nellie (Alison Arngrim) and Willie (Jonathan Gilbert).
Though Nels' marriage wasn't idyllic, Bull was happily married to wife Barbara Collentine since 1948. Collentine, an actress herself, survives her husband of 65 years.
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