Melissa Gilbert pens Prairie autobiography

Ken Beck

Dear Ken: What is Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie,” been doing?

Gilbert, 45, recently released her autobiography, “Prairie Tale: A Memoir.” And from mid-September to mid-October, she portrayed Ma in the musical adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novel, “Little House on the Prairie, the Musical,” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J. The play is touring nationally. She has been married to actor Bruce Boxleitner since 1995 and has two sons and two stepsons. You might enjoy her Web site,

Dear Ken: Who were some of the Hollywood stars that served in the military during World War II?

The following list is far from all of the actors who served. Among them were:Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Lee Marvin, James Arness, Eddie Albert, Charles Durning, Charlton Heston, Jack Palance, Art Carney, Glenn Ford, Jason Robards and Rod Steiger.

Dear Ken: How did Rod Serling of “Twilight Zone” fame die? What else did he do?

The 5-foot-4 Serling died at the age of 50 in 1974 after complications from a coronary bypass operation. He was a superb script writer of the Golden Age of Television, turning out the pages for “Patterns” and “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” both of which later became feature films. And he wrote the screenplays for the movies “Seven Days in May” and “Planet of the Apes.” He was also host of TV’s “Night Gallery” in the early 1970s. A U.S. paratrooper during WWII, he was seriously wounded in combat and awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Dear Ken: Whatever happened to the 1960s group The Association? What were their biggest hits?

This sunshine pop group out of California began in 1965 and was at its height through the end of the ’60s. The band with great vocal harmony continues to perform across the U.S. One of the founders was Chattanooga native Jules Alexander. Among their greatest hits are “Along Comes Mary,” “Cherish,” “Never My Love” and “Windy.”

If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck via where you can also find classic films and TV shows on DVD or visit Sherlock’s Book Emporium in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Ask Ken Beck

Journalist Ken Beck, a longtime resident of Wilson  County, has recently become a contributing writer for Main Street Media and its local newspaper, "The Wilson Post."

Earlier this year Beck concluded a 31-year career with "The Tennessean" where he edited the Nashville paper’s “Sunday Showcase” entertainment magazine for 25 years. Besides interviewing stars of film and television, Beck wrote Tennessee travel and feature stories and a popular Q&A entertainment column.