welcomes as our guest, film and television actress and now author of her memoir,  Little House in the Hollywood Hillls: A Bad Girl's Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me.

Charlotte Stewart is known by millions of fans worldwide for her role as the beloved teacher Miss Beadle on the iconic TV show Little House on the Prairie, currently broadcast in syndication in more than100 countries around the world.

According to IMDb, Charlotte has more than seventy film credits and has worked with controversial filmmaker David Lynch on two occasions, in the cult classic Eraserhead (1977) and the TV series Twin Peaks (1990).

Norm:  Good day Charlotte and thanks for participating in our interview

Charlotte Thank you. I’m always happy to make new friends.

Norm:  How did you get involved in acting and where did you learn to act?

Charlotte:  I think I was always a bit of a dreamer and a showoff – my grades were a bit short of college entrance. I saw an ad for the Pasadena Playhouse in 1958 and applied without talking to my parents.

When I was accepted I told my dad (he was always easier) and I guess it turned out well because I got my first SAG job at the end of my second year for The Loretta Young Show.

Norm: Could you tell our audience a time where you had difficulty turning yourself into a character. What was the character and why was it challenging?

Charlotte:  Most of the roles I got in TV and films were very close to my own age and personality, such as young teen, ingénue, healthy, etc. My portrayal of “Mary X” in the cult classic Eraserhead was the exact opposite…sickly, shy, emotionally abused, totally unprepared for adult life with a child (if that is what it was!). I actually made my own wardrobe as Mary would have done – ill-fitting and unattractive by my standard although I believe she was quite happy with it.

Norm: What is the most extreme change in your personality, hair, body, weight etc. etc. that you have done to land a role?

Charlotte:  I have never attempted to change my appearance for an audition. I’ve always been available to discuss what they are looking for but I don’t show up in costume. In fact, when I arrived to Paramount to meet with Michael Landon for Little House on the Prairie all I asked was to be able to sit behind the producer’s desk to read the scene dressed in my every day clothes at the time – bellbottom jeans and a light top.

Norm: What was the biggest challenge about taking this role?

Charlotte:  Probably playing Miss Beadle on Little House, at least at first. I’d never worked with child actors and had no children of my own so I had no idea how that would go – nearly all my scenes were with kids.

Of course everyone tells you to avoid acting with children if possible because they’re such scene stealers and can be, I’m told, a real pain.

Turns out they were all great and I’m still friends with all of them. I really loved Miss Beadle! She was smart, calm, and happy with her life. Since there is only one description of her in Laura Wilder’s books all I had to go one was she was beautiful and smelled good. Who doesn’t want to play that?

Norm:  Is Miss Beadle like you or different?

Charlotte:  I actually based her character on my sister Barbara Jean who had seven children almost all of them two years apart. I marveled at her patience with all those healthy, active kids. She baked bread, read books, took them to church, and she was so smart.

Norm: What did you love about this character and what did you hate?

Charlotte:  I loved how patient and kind she was. As a kid who had struggled in school, I valued her empathy with her students – I wanted her to be the teacher I never had. Many people have said to me over the years “I’m a teacher today because of Miss Beadle.” I didn’t hate anything about Eva Beadle.

Norm:  If you had a magic wand, what part would you like to play on the screen or stage and why?

Charlotte:  I love fantasy – maybe Queen of the Fairies or a really evil character. I have only played one mean character and that was on the TV show Life Goes On in the mid-1990s. I had a heated match with Patti LePone. THAT was fun!!!

Norm: Could you tell our readers about your memoir,  Little House in the Hollywood Hillls: A Bad Girl's Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me.

Charlotte: Let me answer this way … the first show business job I ever got at the Pasadena Playhouse was playing the first walk-around character of Alice in Wonderland at Disneyland.

And in a way my story is a bit like Alice’s. I was a pretty normal girl who fell down the rabbit hole and found myself in Hollywood.

I met heroes of mine, like Jimmy Stewart and Gene Kelly in those early years. I befriended Neal Young and Joni Mitchell. I had flings with guys like Jon Voight and Jim Morrison.

I had dinner with the Rolling Stones – which all sounds great but these were also the years when I suffered through divorces, the death of my parents, abortion, and alcoholism.

When taking my first steps into the book, I knew I wanted it to be the truth but initially I held back because we think we are alone with our problems, with the kinds of choices we’ve made, the kinds of things we want to keep hidden from others, but that’s not true.

We’re all human. Finally I really just gave in and told it all, which turned out to be easier and I’m happy to have it out there.

Norm: What would you say is the best reason to recommend to someone to read the book? As a follow up…what purpose do you believe your memoirs serve and what mattered to you about your story?

Charlotte I am just an ordinary person who fell into some extraordinary circumstances. I made some bad choices but was lucky enough to live through it all. I’ve had remarkable men in my life and I’ve loved some of them and some not at all.

The only regrets I have are the people may have hurt along the way.

Norm: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your memoirs?

Charlotte: At first I thought I had nothing to say, but my writing partner Andy Demsky showed me I had a lot of stories to tell. I learned to trust myself along the way.

Norm: What are your upcoming projects?

Charlotte:  David Lynch asked me to re-visit my Twin Peaks role of Betty Briggs, which I was happy to do.

Betty is the eternal optimist who wore a smiley face button to Laura Palmer’s funeral. The Twin Peaks reboot will be on Showtime in 2017, I’m told. I am thrilled that this summer and fall, I’ll be promoting the book across the country and in even in France – I look forward to reconnecting with fans and making lots of new friends. Beyond that, gosh, I never know what’s ahead for me but at 75 I’m ready and willing for whatever is next!

Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your memoirs?  

Charlotte:  Our WEBSITE


Norm:  As our interview comes to an end, what question do you wish that someone would ask about your life and/or your book that no one has?

Charlotte:  “Was it hard to be so honest?”

Norm Thanks again and good luck with all your future endeavors.

Charlotte:  Back attcha!