Richard Bull, who famously played the part of Nels Oleson, the shopkeeper, on Little House of the Prairie (1974-1983) died Monday, Feb. 3, at the age of 89.

Bull, a character actor who was last seen in an 2011 episode of Boss, played Nels for almost a decade and was a prolific TV actor, reportedly appearing in over 100 different shows, including Hawaii Five-O and Bewitched.

Bull died of complications due to a pneumonia in Calabasas and he is survived by his wife Barbara Collentine.

'Little House' Co-Stars React

Little House on the Prairie co-star, Melissa Gilbert, confirmed the news on her Twitter account. Gilbert wrote her co-star of ten years a sweet goodbye and accompanied the post with a photo of Bull.


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Another Little House on the Prairie actress, Alison Arngrim, who played Nels’ daughter on the show, also released a statement following Bull’s death:

“Today we lost my TV ‘Pa,’ the wonderful Richard Bull. In real life, he was just as kind, intelligent, thoughtful and reasonable as you’d expect Nels Oleson to be. I am so grateful that I was able to spend time with him and his wife Bobbie over the last year. I am truly very touched by the overwhelming – and world wide – outpouring of love for Richard Bull.”

Arngrim has also been very active on Twitter following Bull’s death. She has reached out to fans and praised Bull’s 65-year marriage to Barbara Collentine, an actress herself. She also thanked fans for their support.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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