Little House on the Prairie Actor Richard Bull Dies

02/04/2014 at 12:35 PM EST

Little House on the Prairie Actor Richard Bull Dies
Richard Bull as Nelson "Nels" Oleson on Little House on the Prairie
Richard Bull, a character actor who played shopkeeper Nels Oleson on the 1974-83 TV favorite Little House on the Prairie, died Monday. He was 89.

"This man will be missed," the show's star, Melissa Gilbert, Tweeted. "Goodbye Richard working with you was such a joy but nearly as joyful as being your friend."

Bull was born in Zion, Ill., on June 26, 1924, and in 1948 married actress Barbara Collentine, according to a 2009 Yahoo biographical sketch.

On the NBC show about the Ingalls family in the American West of the 1800s, actress Scottie MacGregor played Bull's wife, Harriet Oleson, and Nels was known as her "long-suffering husband."

Bull's other roles included Doc on the 1964-68 ABC adventure program Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, as well as parts in 1985 and again in 1988 on Highway to Heaven, which, like Little House, starred Michael Landon.

Though in 1994 the Bulls moved from Los Angeles to Chicago – where as a young man Richard began his stage career at the Goodman Theatre – reports say he died in Calabasas, Calif.

He is survived by Collentine, whose own TV roles include those on Hotel, Newhart and St. Elsewhere – as well as a stint as the character Edna Mills on Little House.

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