Veteran TV Character Actor, Known for Long Run on ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ Dead at 89

Feb 5, 2014  •  Post A Comment

A longtime television character actor who is best remembered for his long run on "Little House on the Prairie" has died. The Associated Press reports that Richard Bull, who was known for his role as the long-suffering Nels Oleson on “Little House," died Monday at the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s hospital in the Los Angeles area. He was 89.

Bull died of natural causes after he was hospitalized with pneumonia, according to a spokeswoman for the fund.

Bull appeared in many television shows, going back to the 1950s — including early appearances on “Perry Mason” and "Highway Patrol." Other roles included "The Fugitive," "I Spy," "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," "My Three Sons," "Run for Your Life" and many other shows.

Before landing his career-defining role on "Little House," Bull had a steady role as the doctor on the Seaview on the late 1960s series "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." He was a frequent guest on major Western series, including "Bonanza," "The Virginian," "Death Valley Days" and "Gunsmoke." He also made the rounds of cop shows, including "The F.B.I.," "Columbo," "Mannix" and "The Streets of San Francisco."

He often acted with his wife, actress Barbara Collentine, to whom he was married for 65 years, the piece notes.

To many, he is best known as Nels Oleson, whom he portrayed from 1974-1983, appearing in 147 episodes of "Little House on the Prairie." The NBC series was based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novels about growing up.

"Everyone loved him so much," his “Little House" co-star Alison Arngrim told the AP. She played Nellie, his daughter. "People are posting (condolences) in six different languages on my Facebook page," she said.

Bull remained active in his career well into the 2000s, with his most recent TV appearance in an episode of “Boss” in 2011.

richard bull.pngRichard Bull

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