5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
Charlotte Stewart is famous for portraying the beloved Miss Beadle on Little House on the Prairie. She has also worked with filmmaker David Lynch in his classic film Eraserhead and television show Twin Peaks. Stewart has a recently released autobiography titled Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me. The book is a no-holds barred, heartbreaking, and ultimately joyful account of her life and career.
SD: Why write such a personal memoir?
CS: I never had any intentions of ever writing a book, because I didn’t think anyone would be interested in my story. Then I ran into a friend and we were trading stories and he said I should write one. From start to finish, it took about 3 years to complete. I penned the book with help from Andy Demsky. The more I trusted him, the more personal I got with my story. In my book, I talk about the death of a spouse, my batter with cancer, and my drug addiction. From the beginning, I didn’t want this book to be a puff piece, I wanted it to be something that may help others.
SD: Your most iconic roles, Miss Beadle in Little House on the Prairie, Mary X in “Eraserhead,” and the Betty Briggs in “Twin Peaks” are so diverse. What was your attraction to them?
CS: I was just really lucky! As an actor, sometimes you don’t get a choice. When you are offered a role you take it because you want the work. For me, each of these roles have been wonderful. “Eraserhead” is one of those movies that many don’t understand or know what it is really about. While we were filming it, David Lynch never really explained it to us either. It is like when you go into a museum and look at art you never ask what that is about. You just stare at it and let is affect you emotionally. As for playing Miss Beadle, I do not have children of my own, so I used my 10 nieces and nephews for inspiration. I watched how wonderfully my siblings were raising their children and just created my character around that.
SD: Why has “Little House on the Prairie” remained so popular all these years?
CS: It because we don’t have that kind of life anymore. This is a terrible time in the world right now. There is so much violence and unrest in our country. Life was so much simpler back then. Back when Little House was on, parents did not have to worry about sex, gore, or language. We always knew that Pa will come to the rescue and that Ma was kind, resourceful, and giving. I think so many in our society today long for a gentler time.
SD: What was the experience like filming Twin Peaks again?
CS: It was both glorious and sad at the same time. It was so great to see so many friends and sad, because we have lost so many cast members. I wish I could say more about the show, but I can’t because I’m under contract and we have to keep hush about it until it airs. I will say that in the negations Showtime was not going to give David Lynch the budget he needed to film, so he told them he would not direct the show and when the cast found out we rallied around him in support. I am so glad it all worked out in the end.
SD: Most will most of the readers be surprised to learn about you?
CS: That I was no miss goody two-shoes. I was kind of wild in my younger days. As a young women in Hollywood, I was having affairs with the men I worked with. In my book, I do name some of them. I was never with someone I didn’t want to be with. It was a really a fun adventure. My life now has become very normal and I love it.
For more information on Charlotte and to purchase her new book visit www.charlottestewartbook.com