‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Details Brain Tumor Diagnosis in New Book

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE -- Pictured: (l-r) Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls, Michael Landon as Charles Philip Ingalls, Brenda/Wendi Turnbaugh as Grace Ingalls, Karen Grassle as Caroline Quiner Holbrook Ingalls, Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall, Lindsay/Sidney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls
NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

You may remember Baby Grace Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie with her adorable blonde hair, played by twins Wendi and Brenda Turnbaugh. Wendi, now Wendi Lou Lee, is 45 years old and opening up about her life including her recent recovery from brain tumor surgery in her new memoir called Red Tail Feathers: Dare to Discover the Beauty of Grace. Lee shares that in 2015, she started getting horrible headaches and experiencing dizziness that was not easy to explain by doctors.

After weeks of visiting different doctors, they finally discovered that she had a brain tumor. It was growing and surgery had to be done right away. Despite being anxious about surgery, Lee said that she was relieved because she had finally received a diagnosis after months of pain and discomfort. Of course, she was also scared as she had a family of young children. Luckily, everything worked out and surgery was successful, although she had a long way to full recovery. After recovering, she felt called to write a book about her experiences.

wendi lou lee memoir


“This book was like a big therapy session after brain surgery,” Lee shared. “I felt like I had to look back on my life through a different lens. And I saw grace in a different way. I defined it in a different way. And I felt God changed my perspective.” The recovery also inspired her to reach out more to fans of Little House on the Prairie.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Wendi Lou Lee (@wendiloulee)

She added, “It’s my whole life now. I hang out with fans and talk about episodes and pray for them, and they pray for me. I have a group where you read through the whole Bible together. It’s incredible. I also do a weekly live video with them, and we have tons of events planned for this fall. They’re fans, but they’re also friends.”

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE -- Season 8 -- Pictured: (l-r) Brenda Turnbaugh, Wendi Turnbaugh as Grace Ingalls

NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Lee and her twin sister were cast in Little House on the Prairie when they were just 8 months old. They ended up getting cast because their grandparents were good friends with the casting director and only remembers that time fondly. As the twins grew up, she said about the cast, “Michael Landon was amazing. He was so warm, so kind and so patient. [Co-star] Melissa Gilbert was just so fun. She would sneak off set to play with us. … Michael had so much charisma. He loved kids and just lit up around them. [Co-star] Karen [Grassle] was just like the natural mother to everyone. We were so content in her arms. … [The cast] was so much like their characters.”

Pre-order her memoir here.

Favorite TV Families
Want More?

Favorite TV Families

April 2019

Celebrate the best of the best of TV families!

Buy This Issue