Jonathan Gilbert

Jonathan Gilbert

Jul. 10th, 1968
Born in

Jonathan Gilbert's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Little House on the Prairie (1974) TV Show
Little House on the Prairie (1974)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Gilbert is best known for his performance as Willie Oleson on the NBC TV series, Little House on the Prairie, from 1974 to 1983. He is the adopted son of actors Barbara Crane (née Barbara Cowan) and Paul Gilbert and the adopted brother of Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on the series. Barbara divorced Paul Gilbert, who died in 1976. Barbara then married Harold Abeles, and together they had Sara Abeles, who changed her name to Sara Gilbert, even though she has no blood relation to Melissa Gilbert's adopted father Paul Gilbert, who died one year and two weeks after she was born. Jonathan is also one of only six actors on Little House on the Prairie to appear throughout the entire series (from season one to the TV movie sequels), the others being: Melissa Gilbert, Katherine MacGregor, Richard Bull, Kevin Hagen,and Dabbs Greer.
In Melissa Gilbert's autobiography "Prairie Tale," she writes that when Jonathan was in his early 20s, he moved away from California and she has had no relationship with him since then, for reasons supposedly unknown to her. She writes that he's a stockbroker living in New York.

  • After leaving acting, Jonathan earned his BA from Hamilton College and an MBA in Finance from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.
  • Brother of 'Melissa Gilbert (I)' (qv) and 'Sara Gilbert' (qv).
  • Grandson of comedy writer 'Harry Crane (I)' (qv).
  • Adopted son of 'Paul Gilbert (II)' (qv) and 'Barbara Cowan' (qv).

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