Melissa Joan Hart
- Category : Actress
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (16)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 1
Melissa Joan Catherine Hart (born April 18, 1976) is an American actress, writer, television director, television producer, singer and businesswoman. Hart is best known for her title roles in the television series Clarissa Explains It All (1991–94), the live action version of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996–2003), and Melissa & Joey (2010–present).
Hart has been married to musician Mark Wilkerson since July 19, 2003; together, they have three children.
Hart was born April 18, 1976 in Smithtown, New York, on Long Island, the first child of Paula, a producer and talent manager, and William Hart, a carpenter, shellfish purveyor, clam hatchery worker, and entrepreneur. She grew up in nearby Sayville. Her parents had four other children after Melissa: Trisha, Elizabeth, Brian, and Emily. Her parents were divorced in the early 1990s, and she moved with her mother and siblings to New York City. In 1994 her mother married television executive Leslie Gilliams, and her father remarried also (Lisa Hart).
Melissa Hart was named after the Allman Brothers song "Melissa", while her middle name, Joan, came from her maternal grandmother. She chose Catherine as her confirmation name when she was in the eighth grade.
Hart is the eldest of eight children with six sisters, and one brother. Sisters Trisha, Elizabeth and Emily Hart, brother Brian, and half-sisters Alexandra Gilliams and Samantha Gilliams have all acted. Her youngest half-sister Mackenzie Hart is not in show business.
Hart's career began at age four when she made a television commercial for a bathtub doll called Splashy. From then on, she appeared regularly in commercials, making 25 of them before the age of five. Other early television work included a small role in the miniseries Kane & Abel in 1985, a guest-starring role in an episode of The Equalizer in 1986, and a starring role alongside Katherine Helmond in the Emmy Award-winning TV movie Christmas Snow, also in 1986. She made a cameo guest appearance on the April 22, 1986 episode of the NBC daytime soap opera Another World. She also auditioned for the lead role Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, losing the role to American actress Danielle Harris.
In 1989, she became the understudy for a Broadway production of The Crucible starring Martin Sheen.
1991–1994: Clarissa Explains It All
In 1991 Hart landed the starring role on the Nickelodeon series Clarissa Explains It All, a comedy about a teen girl in everyday situations, which was successful during its four-year run. The show brought her four consecutive Young Artist Award nominations, winning three. Her role in the series also led to her starring in the FMV video game Nickelodeon's Director's Lab as a tour guide who takes the player around a movie studio. In 1992, she and Clarissa cast member Jason Zimbler appeared on the game show Nick Arcade as contestants, she is one of the few people who played the beta version of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 on the Video Challenge.
Initially, after first being recognized on the streets, Hart felt embarrassed to perform on a kids show while being a teenager. Nevertheless, she was enthusiastic about the role, and "all she hoped for that she would get to do it for a while."
Hart also recorded two albums as Clarissa, This Is What 'Na Na' Means and a recording of Peter and the Wolf.
In 1995, a year after the end of Clarissa Explains It All, Hart filmed an unaired sequel called "Clarissa," a pilot for CBS starring a college-aged Clarissa, this time, explaining it all about her foray into the professional world as an intern at a newspaper. The show featured a slow, jazz version of her original theme song, and also starred Robert Klein as her boss.
Hart appeared on Nickelodeon's anthology show Are You Afraid of the Dark? Season 2 episode "The Tale of the Frozen Ghost" in 1991.
1996–2003: Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
After the television series ended, Hart attended New York University. However, she did not complete her degree, because she earned the title role for the 1996 TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch. This was followed by the television series of the same name which lasted seven seasons on ABC and The WB. She later collaborated on an animated version that featured Hart voicing the two aunts Hilda and Zelda, and Hart's younger sister Emily Hart starring in the title role. In between times, she also guest-starred on the series Touched by an Angel and starred in several TV movies.
In 1998, Hart landed a small part in the movie Can't Hardly Wait, and then started filming Next to You, starring alongside Adrian Grenier. Hart asked her friend Britney Spears to do a remix of her song "(You Drive Me) Crazy" and add it to the movie's soundtrack. To capitalize on the song's success as a top-ten hit, the title of the movie was changed to Drive Me Crazy and Hart joined Spears in the music video for that song. Around the same time, Spears was given a guest role in an episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch where she played herself.
Hart appeared in lingerie in a series of photographs and an accompanying article in the October 1999 issue of the men's magazine Maxim. Hart maintained her acting career in the 2000s including working on the film Rent Control, which aired in 2005 on the ABC Family cable network. Hart continued her role on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, which finished in 2003, and also performed several voice-over roles for animation.
In 1999, Hart made her directorial debut in an episode of Disney Channel's So Weird called "Snapshot" which starred her sister, Emily Hart. She later directed an episode of Nickelodeon's Taina in 2001. In 2001–2002, she directed 6 episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, including the season 6 finale.
Hart and fellow Sabrina, the Teenage Witch actress Lindsay Sloane made a joint appearance in That 70s Show in the episode Eric Gets Suspended.
2004–present: Post-Sabrina and Melissa & Joey
After the end of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Hart directed her first movie, a 15-minute live-action short film called Mute (2005), starring her sister Emily. Hart guest-starred on an episode of Law & Order: SVU that aired on October 9, 2007 titled "Impulsive" as a teacher accused of statutory rape. In late 2007, she directed the "Anger Cage" video for her husband Mark Wilkerson's band Course of Nature. She also starred in the ABC Family Original Movie Holiday in Handcuffs, opposite Mario Lopez. The movie premiered on December 9, 2007, and was the highest rated program in the history of the network, with 6.7 million viewers. Hart followed this with another ABC movie with a similar premise, My Fake Fiancé, in 2009.
In May 2009, Hart opened a candy shop called SweetHarts in Sherman Oaks, California. Hart commented that it had been her "childhood dream" to own a candy shop. SweetHarts closed in December 2011 due to a lawsuit from a former employee as well as other issues, and has since been reopened and operated under the same name by new owners.
It was announced on August 17, 2009 that she would compete in season 9 of Dancing with the Stars. Hart was paired up with two-time reigning champion, Mark Ballas but she was eliminated from the competition in week six out of a possible ten. Then in 2010, Hart starred as Kelley in a horror thriller film entitled Nine Dead.
In 2010, Hart returned to a new weekly television series, starring with Joey Lawrence in the sitcom Melissa & Joey. In the series Hart plays a woman who hires Lawrence as a nanny to help care for her incarcerated sister's children. In the second season, she occupied the director's chair for an episode, for the first time since Sabrina.
Hart joined the cast of an off-Broadway production of 'Love, Loss, and What I Wore' for a four-week run that started in March 2010 and ended April 25, 2010.
In March 2010, Hart took part in an ad campaign for Gain detergent with former Sabrina, the Teenage Witch co-star Soleil Moon Frye.
On November 22, 2010, Hart participated as a presenter in the International Emmy Awards.
In June 2012, St. Martin's Press announced that it had made a deal with Hart to publish her memoir Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life in the fall of 2013. In the memoir, Hart will write about growing up, being a child actor and her rise to fame, her rebellious teen years, and her efforts to balance a career as an adult with motherhood and family life.
On July 19, 2003, Hart married musician Mark Wilkerson. The preparations for the ceremony, which took place in Florence, Italy, were documented in a TV miniseries titled Tying the Knot, produced by Hart's production company, Hartbreak Films. Hart and Wilkerson have three sons: Mason Walter Wilkerson, born in January 2006, Braydon "Brady" Hart Wilkerson, born in March 2008, and Tucker McFadden, born September 2012.
Hart and Wilkerson were featured in People magazine's April 7, 2008 issue, introducing Braydon to the world. Hart wrote a diary, including video entries, to document potty training her son, Mason, for Pull-Ups brand diapers. Hart and her family live in Westport, Connecticut.
Hart had revealed before that she is a Republican, but on November 5, 2012, the day before Election Day, when she sent out a tweet saying that she was endorsing Mitt Romney for president, it spurred a considerable number of attacks from liberal users who supported President Barack Obama. It became a trending topic, while at the same time, gaining Hart 15,000 new Twitter followers.