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Melissa Joan Hart

Melissa Joan Hart

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My Fake Fiance DVD Pretending to be in love is a piece of (wedding) cake for two broke strangers... more info $6.95was $6.95 Buy Now

Holiday In Handcuffs DVD This ABC Family movie stars Melissa Joan Hart as a quirky waitress unlucky in... more info $6.95was $6.95 Buy Now

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Clarissa Explains It All: Season 1... Clarissa Explains It All: Season One DVD more info $19.99was $19.99 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 18, 1976 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Smithtown, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A performer on television since her pre-school years, Melissa Joan Hart was the star of two hit series - "Clarissa Explains It All" (Nickelodeon, 1991-94) and "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch" (ABC/The WB, 1996-2003). Her perky, gently comedic screen persona made her a huge favorite with the shows' pre-teen and teen audiences, as well as with parents who approved of their family-friendly messages. Hart occasionally struggled to find equal success after both programs ran their course, but eventually settled into a regular string of well-regarded TV movies for ABC Family and other networks, which helped to preserve her image as one of TV's most likable and watchable performers.Born in Smithtown, NY on April 16, 1976 and raised in Sayville, Melissa Joan Hart was the eldest of eight children - seven of whom followed her into the entertainment business - born to William and Paula Hart. Named after the Allman Brothers Band hit of the same name, she began her acting career in television commercials at the age of three, and would shoot more than 20 additional spots before she was five. Inspired by her her s, Shirley Temple and Audrey Hepburn, she began landing small roles in television movies and episodic series,...

A performer on television since her pre-school years, Melissa Joan Hart was the star of two hit series - "Clarissa Explains It All" (Nickelodeon, 1991-94) and "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch" (ABC/The WB, 1996-2003). Her perky, gently comedic screen persona made her a huge favorite with the shows' pre-teen and teen audiences, as well as with parents who approved of their family-friendly messages. Hart occasionally struggled to find equal success after both programs ran their course, but eventually settled into a regular string of well-regarded TV movies for ABC Family and other networks, which helped to preserve her image as one of TV's most likable and watchable performers.

Born in Smithtown, NY on April 16, 1976 and raised in Sayville, Melissa Joan Hart was the eldest of eight children - seven of whom followed her into the entertainment business - born to William and Paula Hart. Named after the Allman Brothers Band hit of the same name, she began her acting career in television commercials at the age of three, and would shoot more than 20 additional spots before she was five. Inspired by her her s, Shirley Temple and Audrey Hepburn, she began landing small roles in television movies and episodic series, including the Emmy-winning "Christmas Snow" (NBC) in 1986. Hart's mother served as her agent for these earlier turns, and remained in that position well into her daughter's adult years.

She broke into theater in the late 1980s as a member of the Circle Repertory Lab Company; as its youngest member, she appeared in "Beside Herself" opposite William Hurt and Lois Smith before making the transition to Broadway as an understudy in the National Actors Theatre's production of "The Crucible" (1991), starring Martin Sheen. The play coincided with her first big break on television as Clarissa Darling on "Clarissa Explains It All."

A bubbly sitcom about the ups and downs of a teenage girl's life, "Clarissa" benefitted greatly from Hart's finely tuned performance, which made the character's frequent asides to the audience seem more hip and charming than precocious. Clarissa's fresh attitude and the show's buoyant humor and drive made it a hit with younger viewers of both genders, and helped to bring the 'tween market to the attention of producers and advertisers. Hart won three Young Artists Awards before the show was brought to an end in 1994. A pilot for a proposed follow-up series, "Clarissa Now," which brought the character into her teenage years and a career as a newspaper journalist, was filmed in 1996 but was not picked up.

Hart briefly attended New York University, but was unable to complete her studies due to her next TV project - the title role in a television movie based on the venerable Archie Comics character, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The film closely followed the comic's story arc - half-mortal Sabrina Spellman (called Sawyer in the TV movie) juggles her witchcraft studies with everyday life as a normal teenager - and spawned a wildly popular television series of the same name. Hart essayed Sabrina throughout the show's run, which saw her graduate from high school, move out of her eccentric aunts' home, and study journalism at college while still doing her best to get the hang of her supernatural powers. Hart eventually directed several episodes of the series, and with her mother, oversaw production beginning in 1999 through their shingle, Hartbreak Films, which generated several "Sabrina" TV movies and a cartoon version, "Sabrina the Animated Series" (ABC/UPN, 1999-2001), which featured younger sister Emily Hart as the voice of Sabrina and Hart herself as Aunt Hilda. The title also generated brisk business in tie-in books, CDs (featuring Hart's own singing voice) and DVDs.

Though television was booming for Hart, feature films proved more difficult for her to establish a beachhead. A bit part as a graduating student dead set on getting her yearbook signed in "Can't Hardly Wait" (1998) preceded her first feature lead in the teen comedy "Drive Me Crazy" (1990). The feature, which paired her with Adrian Grenier as two polar opposite teens who pretend to date in order to land the boy and girl of their dreams, was only a modest hit, despite a hit title track by Britney Spears. Hart's eye-raising layout for the U.S. men's magazine Maxim, for which she posed in lingerie, proved to be the biggest item of interest in that year.

As "Sabrina" wound down its lengthy network run, Hart remained exceptionally active in TV movies and guest appearances, as well as voice-over work for animation. There were attempts to break away from her teen-friendly image, like a turn on "Law and Order: SVU" (NBC, 1999- ) as a teacher accused of the statutory rape of one of her students, but for the most part, she remained faithful to her former "Sabrina" fans and their families. Several of these projects were exceptionally popular, such as "Holiday in Handcuffs" (ABC Family, 2007), which earned the network's highest ratings to date. Hart's personal life also served as the basis for a popular series; "Tying the Knot" (ABC Family, 2003) was a six-episode reality program that covered her wedding to musician Mark Wilkerson. Hart also wrote and shot several video diaries for Pull-Ups diapers' web site that documented the potty training of the couple's second son, Braydon. In 2009, she was announced as one of the celebrity contestants for the ninth season of "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Nine Dead (2010)
2.
 Satin (2010)
3.
 My Fake Fiance (2009)
4.
5.
6.
7.
 Recess: School's Out (2001) Voice Of Becky
8.
 Backflash (2001)
10.
 Specials, The (2000) Sunlight Grrrl
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1980:
First appeared on TV in a doll commercial at age four
1985:
Made TV movie debut, as Florentyna, on "Kane and Abel" (CBS)
1989:
Acted onstage with New York's Circle Rep company
1991:
Starred on popular Nickelodeon series, "Clarissa Explains It All"
1996:
Made dramatic acting debut in the TV movie, "Twisted Desire" (NBC)
1996:
Created role of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" in a Showtime movie
1996:
Starred in the sitcom "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC, 1996-2000); retitled "Sabrina" when moved to The WB in fall 2000
1997:
Provided the story for and starred in the NBC drama, "Surviving Mary"
1999:
Played the lead role in the teen comedy, "Drive Me Crazy"
2000:
Made TV directorial debut with a January episode of "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"; went on to direct additional episodes
2000:
Played Sunlight Grrrl in the superhero comedy, "The Specials"
2001:
Co-producing debut (with mother), the ABC biopic "Child Star: The Story of Shirley Temple"; Hart's younger sister Emily Ann played the title role as a teenager
2002:
Starred in the straight-to-video crime drama, "Backflash"
2003:
Marriage to musician Mark Wilkerson was documented in a TV special titled "Tying the Knot"; produced by Hart's production company, Hartbreak Films
2005:
Helmed the 15-minute short, "Mute"; starred her younger sister, Emily
2007:
Directed the "Anger Cage" video for her husband Mark Wilkerson's band Course of Nature
2007:
Starred in the ABC Family Original Movie, "Holiday in Handcuffs," opposite Mario Lopez
2009:
Co-starred with Joey Lawrence in the TV movie, "My Fake Fiance" on ABC's Family Channel
2009:
Joined the ninth season of ABC's reality series "Dancing with the Stars" as a contestant
2010:
Re-teamed with Lawrence to star in the ABC Family series "Melissa & Joey"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

New York University: New York , New York - 1995

Notes

Hart and her mother are partners in the production company Hartbreak Films

"With 'Clarissa' I just kind of went into it and did it. I felt like I was just saying the lines, although I don't think it came across that way. When people laughed, I was, like, oh, that's funny? The innocence of not really knowing, it played off well. Now I concentrate more on the jokes, timing and acting." --Melissa Joan Hart quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 5, 1996.

"Growing up in show business wasn't normal, but it's what I know. The only thing I missed out on was learning to relate to people my age. I felt I missed out on a social life, going to dances and things like that." --Melissa Joan Hart quoted in USA Today, April 4, 1996.

"Girs today need strong role models who are not disrespectful and crass. I don't like a lot of what's on TV today with kids using bad language and being disrespectful to their parents and teachers. We would not have 'Roseanne's kids' mouths on our show." --mother/producer Paula Hart quoted in TV Guide, October 19, 1996.

"There's no way I'd say I belonged in the room with Denise Richards or Catherine Zeta-Jones, but Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who get offered many more things than I do--why not?" --Hart to Movieline, August 1999.

"I'm a pretty open person. ...Like, If I have good sex, then the next day I'm going to tell everyone I know about it. Everyone." - Hart Moveline November 2002

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
James Fields. Actor. Together from c. 1993 to 1998; born c. 1974.
companion:
Adrian Grenier. Actor. Had relationship during filming of "Drive Me Crazy" in 1998.
companion:
Bryan Kirkwood. Actor. Born c. 1975; dating since c. October 1999; acted opposite Hart on "Sabrina".
companion:
Mark Wilkerson. Guitarist. Dating as of 2002; engaged as of December 2002.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Hart. Shell fish supplier. Divorced from Hart's mother.
mother:
Paula Hart. Agent, TV producer. Divorced from Hart's father; remarried; partner in Hartbreak Films.
step-father:
Leslie Gilliams. TV executive.
sister:
Trisha Hart. Younger.
sister:
Elizabeth Hart. Born c. 1980.
brother:
Brian Hart. Born c. 1984.
sister:
Emily Hart. Born c. 1986.
half-sister:
Alexandra Hart-Gilliams. Born c. 1993.
half-sister:
Samantha Gilliams. Born on November 13, 1996.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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