Birth Date: April 18, 1976 / Age: 39
Birth Place: Smithtown, Long Island, New York, USA
Biography: Melissa Joan Hart (born April 18, 1976) is an American actress who is 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, and grew up in Sayville, New York. Her full name is Melissa Joan Catherine Hart, Catherine being the name she chose for her confirmation in eighth grade.
Her immediate family includes her father, William Hart, her mother Paula Hart, her stepfather, television executive Leslie Gilliams, eight sisters (three of them stepsisters) and one brother. Most of her siblings have acted, among them Elizabeth Hart, Brian Hart, Emily Hart, and Alexandra Hart-Gilliams. Sister Trisha Hart has worked as a producer. Her stepmother is the former Lisa Hunt of Sayville.
Hart's career began early on. When she was still a baby, she made her first TV 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 TV 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.
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 and aired for five seasons. The show brought her four consecutive Young Artist Award nominations, of which she won three, and made her a household name among American teenagers.
After the series was canceled, she attended New York University. She did not complete her degree as she resumed her acting career in 1994 when she got the lead role for the TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which eventually led to her also starring as Sabrina in a television series which lasted seven seasons. In between, she also worked on the series Touched by an Angel and starred in several TV movies.
In 1999, Melissa landed a small part in a movie named Can't Hardly Wait, and then starred in Drive Me Crazy, a movie that includes "(You Drive Me) Crazy", a number-one hit by Britney Spears, on its soundtrack. Hart also appeared in the music video for this song. She has appeared in other movies since Drive Me Crazy, but none has brought her as much recognition.
In 2003, Hart and her production company, Hartbreak Films, produced a miniseries entitled Tying the Knot, documenting her wedding to musician Mark Wilkerson, a member of the band Course of Nature.