Hersha Parady, Little House On The Prairie's Alice Garvey, Dead At 78

Hersha Parady, who most famously played Alice Garvey on "Little House on the Prairie," has died at the age of 78 at her son's home in Virginia. Her son Jonathan Peverall confirmed to Today that she died of a brain tumor, and she is survived by Peverall, three grandchildren, and three siblings.

Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on "Little House on the Prairie," posted a link on Twitter to the GoFundMe page that Parady's son had created that explained the health situation she was facing in her last weeks. Peverell said Parady was diagnosed with a brain tumor called meningioma, adding, "This illness has robbed her of her strength, her memory, and sadly, her vibrant personality."

Parady was bedridden; funds were being raised to help with the move from Los Angeles to Peverell's home in Virginia and to cover the costs of surgery. The most recent update was on July 31, 2023, confirming that the surgery had gone ahead and had been successful. However, after a week of hope for a recovery, Parady developed pneumonia and had to be readmitted to the hospital.

Alice Garvey was Hersha Parady's biggest role

Hersha Parady was born Betty Sandhoff on May 25, 1945, in Ohio. She knew from a young age that she wanted to be an actor, and after graduating from Berea High School in 1963, Parady did just that. She first started working in regional productions, including at the Cleveland Play House. From there she moved to Los Angeles, where she played Stella in a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" that also featured actor Jon Voight. She had small roles in TV shows like "Bearcats!," "Mannix," and "The Waltons" before landing her most famous role as a cast member of "Little House on the Prairie."

Parady had been up for the role of Caroline Ingalls on "Little House," according to TVLine, but she ended up playing schoolteacher Alice Garvey for three seasons. Her character died tragically in a fire toward the end of season 6 in the two-hour episode "May We Make Them Proud." The character was trying to save Mary and Adam's baby, who was stuck inside Walnut Grove's School for the Blind, but both perished in the blaze.

The episode was reportedly Parady's favorite even though it was her last, saying, "At least I went out with a roar and not a whimper! Working with the special effects guys and the LA fire department was a first for me, and to be surrounded by 'controlled' fire and readied fire extinguishers, I was ready to act up a storm! I loved every minute of it!" (via Deadline).