'Little House on the Prairie' actress Katherine MacGregor dies at 93

Katherine MacGregor, who played the antagonist character Harriet Oleson on TV's "Little House on the Prairie," has died at age 93.

Her representative Tony Sears says MacGregor died Tuesday at the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement community in Los Angeles.

While her nasty daughter, Nellie Oleson, was the character viewers most loved to hate on the NBC show that ran from 1974 to 1983, her cruel, greedy mother Harriet was just as awful. They stood in contrast to the warm, loving members of the Ingalls family who were the show's focus, and often the Olesons' targets.

The California-born MacGregor began as a dancer in New York before shifting to acting.

Her screen career consisted of tiny film roles and TV guest spots before she landed on "Little House."

Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls Wilder on the series, was among the first to pay tribute to the late actress, who was reportedly a devout Hindu, on social media.

"She was outspoken and hilariously funny. A truly gifted actress as she was able to play a despicable character but with so much heart. Her Harriet Oleson was the woman our fans loved to hate. A perfect antagonist," she wrote on Instagram. "The thing people outside of our prairie family didn’t know, was how loving and nurturing she was with the younger cast.

"I really loved her and I find great comfort knowing that she is at peace and, per her beliefs, her soul has moved on to its next incarnation."

Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson, said Macgregor "had an extremely long and full life and is at peace ... we will all miss her."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, MacGregor attended Denver University and graduated from Northwestern. She moved to New York in 1949 to study acting and was later cast on Broadway in the late 1950s. Since the ending of "Little House," she only appeared on screen once more by way of a short film in 2014.

People notes that, prior to her time on the hit series, she had guest roles on other popular TV shows such as "Ironside" and "All in the Family."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.