The Wild Night Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe Spent With Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minelli, and Andrew McCarthy

Melissa Gilbert catapulted to stardom when she was just 9 years old as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. As a young adult, she was no stranger to L.A.’s late-night scene, where she “knew the hot restaurants, clubs, and exclusive haunts,” she writes in her memoir, Prairie Tale. At these elite establishments, Gilbert would often run into some of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time, which led to some particularly entertaining evenings. One night, Gilbert and her then-boyfriend, Rob Lowe, ended up at Sammy Davis Jr.’s in the midst of a wild night.

Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe have dinner at Spago on the Sunset Strip

The evening started out like many others. Gilbert, Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, and Lowe’s agent, Michael Black (who Gilbert calls “one of the most viciously funny men in Hollywood, and one of my favorite people”) were eating at Spago for dinner.

“At the time, Wolfgang Puck’s gourmet pizzeria on the Sunset Strip was Hollywood’s nighttime commissary,” wrote Gilbert. “Being there was like an A-list party with surprise guests.”

As Puck brought over appetizer pizzas, the group heard a loud, “Michael!”

“It was kind of amazing how the familiar voice pierced the dense hum of conversation from all the way across the restaurant,” wrote Gilbert. “I turned and saw Liza Minnelli flying over to our table. She kissed Michael, sat down between Andrew and me, ordered a greyhound, and stepped into our little party as if she’d been there from the start.”

Then Michael Jackson walked in and joined the table just as dinner was served.

“Wolfgang kept sending over food, and everyone talked—except for Michael Jackson,” wrote Gilbert. “Other than his kiss-kiss with Liza, he didn’t say a word. Nothing.”

When everyone was nearly finished with dessert, the group started discussing where they would head next. When it seemed as though everyone was out of ideas, Jackson finally spoke up with the only sentence he uttered all dinner: “You can come to my house. I got a llama.”

How Melissa Gilbert and Rob Lowe ended up at Sammy Davis Jr.’s house

But the group pivoted when Minnelli suggested they go to Sammy Davis Jr.’s house instead. They said goodbye to Jackson, who didn’t want to join, and went to Davis’ home in Beverly Hills. There, Gilbert learned he was friends with her grandfather. She also witnessed “a wigless Liza (the woman had six hairs on her head!).”

Eventually, the evening ended at Black’s apartment, where McCarthy and Minnelli started making out.

“That was it for me,” said Gilbert. Lowe wanted to call it a night as well. So they said their good-byes and drove home “laughing uncontrollably as we recounted the crazy events of the evening.”

“Life was terribly fun,” wrote Gilbert.

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