Melissa Joan Hart is an American actress best known for her roles in television. She gained popularity through her roles in comedy TV shows such as 'Clarissa Explains It All' and 'Melissa & Joey.' Born in Smithtown, New York, Hart started appearing in TV commercials from the age of four. Over the next few years, she played small roles in TV shows such as 'Kane & Abel', a TV miniseries and the soap opera 'Another World.' She gained popularity after she starred in the lead role in the TV comedy series 'Clarissa Explains It All'. The series was nominated for an Emmy. Hart's performance won her multiple Young Artist Awards. She also directed, produced as well as played the lead role in 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch'. The series was a huge success. Other works on television that gained her prominence include her role in the comedy television series 'Melissa & Joey'. Hart has acted in a few films as well. She played the lead role in the Christian film 'God's Not Dead 2'. The film was a commercial success. Other than acting, she also owns a fashion line 'King of Harts', which she started along with her husband. She had also opened a Candy shop named Sweetharts. It was closed down after allegations of wrongful termination and racial discrimination.
Childhood & Early Life
Melissa Joan Hart was born on 18 April 1976 in Smithtown, New York. Her father, William Hart, was a carpenter and an entrepreneur, and her mother, Paula Hart, was a talent manager. She is the eldest of five siblings. All her siblings are in the acting profession.
She started appearing in TV commercials from the age of four. She proved to be extremely talented, and earned her first role in a TV movie ‘Christmas Show’ at the age of ten.
Hart’s parents divorced when she was a teenager. Along with her siblings and mother, she then moved to New York City. Her mother got married for a second time, to Leslie Gilliams.
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Melissa Hart played her first significant role in the comedy TV series ‘Clarissa Explains It All’. The series aired from 1991 to 1994. The show was a success and earned an Emmy nomination. Hart also earned multiple awards for her performance.
In 1995, she played the lead role in the TV film ‘Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare’. Hart also did guest roles in TV shows such as ‘Touched by An Angel’, and ‘Weinerville’.
She next played a lead role in the TV series ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’. The series aired from 1996 to 2003. Hart was the director and producer of the series as well. The show was a huge success.
In the year 2000, she played a supporting role in the superhero comedy film ‘The Specials’. Directed by Craig Mazin, the film was about a group of ordinary superheroes taking a day off. The film was a commercial failure.
Hart voiced the main character in the animated TV show ‘Sabrina: The Animated Series’. It aired from 1999 to 2000. The show was an animated version of ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’.
Over the next few years, she played guest roles in several other TV shows such as ‘Just Shoot Me!’, ‘The Jamie Kennedy Experiment’, and ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’. In 2009, she competed on the ninth season of ABC’s reality show ‘Dancing with the Stars’. The same year, she also played the lead role in the horror film ‘Nine Dead’.
Her next significant role on TV was in the series ‘Melissa & Joey’. It aired from 2010 to 2015. The series won multiple awards and nominations. She also played the lead role in the 2016 Christian movie ‘God’s Not Dead 2’.
Melissa Hart’s role in the comedy series ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ can be regarded as one of the most significant works in her career. She directed and produced the series, as well as starred in the lead role. The story revolves around an American teenager who, after her sixteenth birthday, discovers that she has superpowers. The series was a huge success, and earned huge popularity worldwide.
‘Melissa & Joey’, another of Hart’s successful works, was an American comedy TV series that aired from 2010 to 2015. The story revolves around the misadventures that follow after Melissa, a local politician, hires Joey in order to look after her nephew and niece. The show, which was created by David Kendall and Bob Young, earned huge popularity. It was also broadcast in other countries such as India and the UK.
Hart played the lead role in the 2016 Christian film ‘God’s Not Dead 2’. Directed by Harold Cronk, the film was a sequel to the 2014 film ‘Gods’ Not Dead’. It was a commercial success. However, it was criticized for resembling a religious sermon.
Awards & Achievements
Melissa Hart’s role in the TV series ‘Clarissa Explains it All’, earned her three ‘Young Artist Awards’ in 1992, 1993, and 1994 respectively.
She won two ‘Young Artist Awards’ and one ‘Kids Choice Award’ for her role in ‘Sabrina: The Teenage Witch’ in 1997 and 1998.
Her role in the TV movie ‘The Right Connection’ earned her another ‘Young Artist Award’ in 1998. She won a ‘Kids Choice Award’ for her role in the TV movie ‘Driving Me Crazy’ in 2000.
Melissa Hart is married to musician Mark Wilkerson; they wed on July 19, 2003 in Italy. The couple has three children, Mason, Braydon and Tucker.