MELISSA JOAN HART Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » melissa joan hart


Name: Melissa Joan Hart                                                                 
Born: 18 April 1976 Smithtown, Long Island, New York, United States                     
Melissa Joan Hart (born April 18, 1976) is an American actress and director who         
is perhaps best known for playing the title roles in two successful television         
series, Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.                       
Hart was born in Smithtown, New York, on Long Island, the daughter of Paula, a         
producer and talent manager, and William Hart, a clam hatchery worker,                 
entrepreneur, and shellfish purveyor. Hart grew up in Sayville, New York. Her           
stepfather (since 1994) is television executive Leslie Gilliams, and her               
stepmother is Lisa Hart. Hart was named after the Allman Brothers song "Melissa",       
while her middle name, Joan, came from her maternal grandmother. Hart chose             
Catherine as her confirmation name when she was in eighth grade.                       
Hart has three sisters, three half-sisters and one brother, all younger than she       
is. Her oldest sister, Trisha Hart, has worked as a producer. Sisters Elizabeth         
and Emily, brother Brian, and half-sisters Alexandra Hart-Gilliams and Samantha         
Hart-Gilliams have all acted. Her youngest half-sister is not in show business.         
Hart's career began when as a three-year-old she made a television commercial           
for a bathtub toy 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           
In 1989, she auditioned for a Broadway production of The Crucible starring             
Martin Sheen, becoming an understudy to three of the young girls in the play.           
This paved the way for her to land the title role in the TV show Clarissa               
Explains It All. The Nickelodeon series, a comedy about a teen girl in everyday         
situations, became a big hit during its four-year run. The show made her a             
household name among American teenagers and brought her four consecutive Young         
Artist Award nominations, of which she won three.                                       
Hart also recorded two albums as Clarissa, This is What 'Na Na' Means and a             
recording of Peter and the Wolf (Sony Classical SK 64079). The former, a rock/pop       
album in the style of a garage band, was mostly a novelty product and did not           
receive much attention from critics or the public. The latter album won a               
Parents' Choice award.                                                                 
After the television series was canceled, Hart attended New York University. She       
did not complete her degree, however, since she soon resumed her acting career         
when she got the lead role for the 1995 TV movie Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.           
This was followed by the television series of the same name which lasted seven         
seasons; she later collaborated on an animated version that featured Melissa           
voicing the two aunts Hilda and Zelda while sister Emily Hart starred in the           
title role. In between, 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             
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 also did a guest         
role, playing herself, on an episode of Sabrina.                                       
Hart appeared in lingerie in a series of photographs and accompanying article           
featured in the October 1999 issue of the men's magazine Maxim. Hart continued         
her acting career in the 2000s. Her work included the film Rent Control, which         
was produced in 2002 and later 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 2000. In 2001-2002, she directed 6 episodes       
of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, including the season finale. In 2005, Hart               
directed her first movie, a 15-minute live-action short called Mute, 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 raping one of her students (played     
by Kyle Gallner). In late 2007, Melissa 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.