One of the biggest claims is that talent for acting is a skill that you have to be born with, maybe even inherit, and that it is extremely difficult to learn. What, then, can be said about Jonathan Gilbert, an adopted son and sibling in a family of major Hollywood actors, who also became a child actor?
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Early life and education
Jonathan Ross Gilbert was born on April 28, 1967 in Los Angeles, California, USA. There is no information about his biological parents, so his parentage remains unknown. He was adopted by his surrogate parents, Hollywood actors Paul Gilbert and Barbara Crane.
He has an older sister, Melissa Gilbert, and a younger half-sister, Sara Gilbert. His adopted grandfather was Harry Crane, a famous American comedy writer.
When he was a child, his adoptive parents divorced and on his ninth birthday he lost his father, Paul Gilbert. According to Melissa Gilbert’s autobiography, titled “Prairie Tale,” his father did not just die, but committed suicide after a lifelong battle with depression and chronic pain. Some time later, Barbara Crane tied the knot with Harold Abeles. They had a daughter, Sara, who, surprisingly, later adopted Gilbert as her surname, despite not being related by blood to Paul, who even died several years before she was born.
It is not revealed where Jonathan went to high school, but it is known from Melissa’s autobiography that in his early twenties he moved to New York and stayed away from his family for a long time due to his education. He graduated from Hamilton College in New York City, with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and then earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in finance after graduating from Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College , also based in New York.
Jonathan made his acting debut when he was just seven years old. He appeared in the critically acclaimed 1974 NBC drama television series ‘Little House on the Prairie’ playing the role of Willie Oleson.
His co-stars included big names such as Michael Landon, Katherine MacGregor, Kevin Hagen, Richard Bull, Dabbs Greer and even his adoptive sister, Melissa Gilbert. The audience was so surprised by his acting skills that they decided to keep him on the show for almost 10 years, until 1983. This created a large fan base and brought him to the limelight at a very young age. In later years, he appeared in the television movies based on “Little House on the Prairie”, including “Little House and Miracle Worker” in 1979, “Little House: Looking Back to Yesterday” (1983) and “Little House: The Last Farewell” (1984), while still playing the character of Willie Oleson, however, after the series ended, he never returned to acting.
He also had a brief appearance in Paul Aaron’s TV movie “The Miracle Worker” about the hard life of Hellen Keller, the deaf, blind, and mute author and teacher, and her teacher Annie Sullivan, in which Jonathan played the character of Jimmy.
Jonathan Gilbert has one of the longest marriages among American celebrities to date. He married his long-term girlfriend, actress Keren Gilbert, at 31st August 1996. Keren is an actress, famous for acting in such titles as “Pledge This!” and “Beer League” from 2006, which also specialized in nutrition. The couple welcomed their first child in 2000.
In addition to being a Hollywood actress, she went to work at United Cerebral Palsy where she helped prepare meal plans for sick patients. After the birth of their second son, she moved to a pediatric practice in Glen Cove, where she continued her counseling. She starred in several movies before she got pregnant again, and that’s when she quit her job and opened the “Decision Nutrition” web page where she started making nutrition plans, and soon she started touring and guesting in many kitchen shows. It didn’t take long for her fame to skyrocket.
“It was like a bunch of billboards running around town,” Jonathan said about his wife, whom he always supported ‘You look great, what are you doing? Oh, it’s my nutritionist in Great Neck.’
Since retiring from acting, Jonathan has been trying to keep most of his life private, and information about his life comes from his sister’s memoirs. Not much is known about what he does outside of the red carpet events. It is not even known what gender his children are, or when they were born! In 2003, Jonathan decided to invest his business school knowledge in a job as a stockbroker associated with the biggest names on the stock market in New York, where he still lives. Through his wife, Keren, he was also involved in a number of charitable projects.
Posted by Jonathan Gilbert (Willie Oleson) On Friday April 13, 2012
He also did some work for a theater company in California, USA. Both his sisters are actresses. Melissa Gilbert is known for roles in movies like “Guest Artist” and “Little House: Bless All the Dear Children”, while Sara Gilbert acted in titles like “Poison Ivy” and “Riding in Cars with Boys”, as well as landing a recurring role of Leslie Winkle on the hit TV sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”. Through his older sister’s marriage, he is the brother-in-law of actor and director Timothy Bustfield. His former brothers-in-law were Bruce Boxleitner and Bo Brinkman.
As of March 2020, Jonathan is not active on any social media including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. As stated in Melissa Gilbert’s autobiography, Jonathan is not too close to any of his siblings, and they do not communicate often, having drifted apart through their lives.
Considering Jonathan’s plethora of Hollywood appearances and his successful career as a stockbroker, his net worth is estimated to be over $2.4 million as of early 2020.
Jonathan is a tall and slender white man whose exact height and weight have not been disclosed. His hair is brown and his eyes are dark. As a child his hair was a bit longer, but he was always an athletic, somewhat thin boy.