Childhood & Early Life
Melora Diane Hardin was born on June 29, 1967 in Houston, Texas, USA, to Diane Hardin, an acting coach/manager and former actress, and Jerry Hardin, an actor. She has a brother named Shawn Hardin. At the age of four, she moved to San Francisco, California.
Melora started her acting career in 1977 as a young girl in the TV series ‘Thunder’. After this, she had guest roles in the drama series ‘The Love Boat’ and ‘Quincy, M.E.’.
In the year 1979, she made her film debut by appearing as Carmel in the comedy-crime flick ‘The North Avenue Irregulars’. The following year, the actress was cast in the regular role of Micki Carroll in the soap opera ‘Secrets of Midland Heights’. This soap opera was aimed at the teen audience and highlighted the love lives of teenagers.
She studied at Patrick Henry Junior High School and later attended Ulysses S. Grant High School. Afterwards, she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College.
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Melora Hardin played the character of Tess Benjamin in NBC’s ‘The Family Tree’ in 1983. She was featured in an episode of ‘Mama Malone’ the following year. In 1985, she joined the cast of ‘The Best Times’ as Joy Villafranco. The show focused on issues such as pre-marital sex and drugs.
In 1986, the actress appeared in the American-Canadian action film ‘Iron Eagle’ in which she played the role of Katie. The same year, she also appeared as Whitney Dunbar in the comedy movie ‘Soul Man’.
From 1988 to 1989, she portrayed the character of Frances "Baby" Kellerman in the comedy-drama series ‘Dirty Dancing’. In 1990, Hardin played Sandy Thomas in ‘Lambada’, a dramatic film also starring Adolfo Quinones, J. Eddie Peck, Dennis Burkley, Ricky Paull Goldin and Keene Curtis.
She played a nightclub singer in the superhero movie ‘The Rocketeer’ in 1991. Hardin also showcased her vocal skills in the movie by performing the song "Begin the Beguine".
In the early 1990s, she played guest roles in many television programs, most notably in ‘Quantum Leap’ and ‘Friends’. The talented actress appeared as Christy Sullivan in ‘Absolute Power’ (1997), an American political thriller directed by, produced by, and starring Clint Eastwood.
Melora Hardin played a major role in the television film ‘Tower of Terror’ (1997) where she also sang "Boy of My Dreams”. In the late 1990s, she appeared in the movies ‘Erasable You’ and ‘Seven Girlfriends.’
She then got the opportunity to play the main role of Barbara Arno in the comedy-drama series ‘Cover Me’ in 2000. In 2003, she got featured as Former Petty Officer Erin Toner in the episode "The Curse" of the series ‘NCIS.’
She played the recurring role of Trudy Monk in ‘Monk’ from 2004-09. Although this comedy-drama detective mystery TV series was basically a police procedural series, it also exhibited dramatic and comedic tones in its exploration of the chief characters' personal lives.
In the year 2005, Hardin began playing Jan Levinson in the sitcom ‘The Office’. Four years later, she played Robby Ray's love interest in ‘Hannah Montana: The Movie.’ She directed and produced the drama flick ‘You’ in 2009.
The actress played the recurring role of Claire Sax in NBC’s legal drama series ‘Outlaw’ in 2010. After portraying a minor role in the romantic movie ‘I Melt with You’, she began playing one of the lead roles in the TV series ‘Wedding Band,’ a story of four pals, who, despite the challenges in their lives, spend their leisure time performing in a wedding band.
From 2014 to 2015, Melora Hardin appeared as Tammy in ‘Transparent’. Her performance in the TV series earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for ‘Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series’. During this time period, she also did the film ‘Self/less’ as well as a direct-to-video movie titled ‘An American Girl: Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight’.
In 2018, she featured as Grace in the feature film ‘Cruel Hearts.’ At present, she is portraying the character of Jacqueline Carlyle in the TV series, ‘The Bold Type.’
In 2017, Melora Hardin was cast in a main role in ‘The Bold Type’. This American comedy-drama series is inspired by the life of Joanna Coles, a former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief. It focuses on three friends, Kat, Sutton, and Jane, who all work for the global women's magazine ‘Scarlet.’ Hardin, who plays Jacqueline Carlyle, the editor-in-chief of ‘Scarlet,’ won appreciation for her performance in the series.
As a singer, Hardin performed the national anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ at the season’s opening of hockey games for the teams Anaheim Ducks and the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010.
Family & Personal Life
Melora Hardin has been married to actor/writer Gildart Jackson since 1997. The two met in a party, instantly clicked, and started dating. As of now, the couple has two daughters: Piper and Rory.
Melora has a niece whose name is Cleo Elizabeth Hardin. She is the sister-in-law of actress and producer Kara Meyers, who is known for appearing in the projects ‘The Venice Project,’ ‘The Debtors,’ and ‘The Perfect Party.’