Melissa Joan Hart

Melissa Joan Hart

Melissa Joan Hart
Hart in August 2011
Born (1976-04-18) April 18, 1976
Smithtown, New York, U.S.
Residence Westport, Connecticut
Occupation Actress, director, producer
Years active 1985–present
Spouse(s) Mark Wilkerson (m. 2003)
Children 3

Melissa Joan Hart (born April 18, 1976) is an American actress, television director, and television producer.[1] She is known for her title roles in the television series Clarissa Explains It All (1991–94),[2] Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996–2003),[2] and Melissa & Joey (2010–15).

Hart has been married to musician Mark Wilkerson since July 19, 2003; together, they have three children.

Early life

Melissa Joan Hart was born in Smithtown, New York, on Long Island on April 18, 1976, the first child of Paula, a producer and talent manager, and William Hart, a carpenter, shellfish purveyor, clam hatchery worker, and entrepreneur.[2] Her maternal grandfather Stanley John Voje was a Navy Veteran and Catholic.[3][4] Melissa grew up in nearby Sayville. Her parents had four other children after Melissa: Trisha, Elizabeth, Brian, and Emily, who are all in acting. Her parents were divorced in the early 1990s, and she moved with her mother and siblings to New York City. In 1994 her mother married television executive Leslie Gilliams, and her father remarried also.

Hart was named after the Allman Brothers song "Melissa", while her middle name, Joan, came from her maternal grandmother. She chose Catherine as her confirmation name when she was in the eighth grade,[2] but does not use it professionally.

Hart has two more half-sisters, Alexandra Gilliams and Samantha Gilliams, who also acted. Her youngest half-sister Mackenzie Hart is not in show business.[2]


Hart's career began at age four when she made a television commercial for a bathtub doll called Splashy.[2] 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[5] in 1986, and a starring role alongside Katherine Helmond in the Emmy Award-winning TV movie Christmas Snow,[2] also in 1986. She made a cameo guest appearance on the April 22, 1986 episode of the NBC daytime soap opera Another World. She also auditioned for the lead role Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, losing the role to Danielle Harris.

In 1989, she became an understudy in a Broadway production of The Crucible starring Martin Sheen.[6]

1991–1994: Clarissa Explains It All

In 1991 Hart landed the starring role on the Nickelodeon series Clarissa Explains It All, a comedy about a teen girl in everyday situations, which was successful during its four-year run.[7][8] The show brought her four consecutive Young Artist Award nominations, winning three.[9] Her role in the series also led to her starring in the FMV video game Nickelodeon's Director's Lab as a tour guide who takes the player around a movie studio. In 1992, she and Clarissa cast member Jason Zimbler appeared on the game show Nick Arcade as contestants.

Initially, after first being recognized on the streets, Hart felt embarrassed to perform on a children's show while being a teenager. Nevertheless, she was enthusiastic about the role, and "all [she] hoped for that [she] would get to do it for a while."[10]

Hart also recorded two albums as Clarissa, This Is What 'Na Na' Means[11] and a recording of Peter and the Wolf.[12]

In 1995, a year after the end of Clarissa Explains It All, Hart filmed a pilot episode for a spin-off show featuring a college-aged Clarissa explaining it all about her foray into the professional world as an intern at a newspaper. As its musical theme, the show featured a slow, jazz version of its predecessor's theme song, and also starred Robert Klein as her boss.[13]

Hart appeared on Nickelodeon's anthology show Are You Afraid of the Dark? Season 2 episode "The Tale of the Frozen Ghost" in 1991.[14]

1996–2003: Sabrina, The Teenage Witch

After the television series ended, Hart attended New York University.[15] However, she did not complete her degree, because she earned the title role for the 1996 TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch,[16] which was followed by the television series of the same name which lasted seven seasons on ABC and The WB.[17][18] She later collaborated on an animated version that featured Hart voicing the two aunts Hilda and Zelda, and Hart's younger sister Emily Hart starring in the title role.[19] In between times, she also guest-starred on the series Touched by an Angel and starred in several TV movies.

In 1998, Hart had a small role in film Can't Hardly Wait,[20] shortly afterwards Hart began working on a theatrical film project titled Next to You, in which she alongside Adrian Grenier.[21] Hart asked her then-friend Britney Spears to do a remix of her song "(You Drive Me) Crazy" for the movie's soundtrack. This remix, the Stop Remix was released as a single. To capitalize off its success as a top-ten hit,[22] the name of the movie was changed to Drive Me Crazy. To promote the film, both Hart and Grenier appeared in the song's music video.[23] Around the same time, Spears made a guest appearance as herself on Sabrina, in the season four episode "No Place Like Home".

Coinciding around the time of the release of Drive Me Crazy, Hart appeared wearing lingerie on the cover of Maxim magazine's October 1999 issue, as well as in a series of photographs and an accompanying article. [24] Hart maintained her acting career in the 2000s, starring in the film Rent Control,[25] which aired in 2005 on the ABC Family cable network. Hart also continued to star on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch until 2003.[18] In addition, Hart was also a primary voice-actress as a voice actress on Sabrina: The Animated Series which ran 65 episodes from 1999 through 2000 on ABC and UPN. The series produced by Hart's production company Hartbreak Films as well as Archie Comics, Savage Studios, and DIC Entertainment. In addition, Hart's younger sister Emily Hart was the series lead voice-actress.

In 1999, Hart made her directorial debut in an episode of Disney Channel's So Weird called "Snapshot" which guest-starred her sister Emily. Hart directed an episode of Nickelodeon's Taina in 2001. In 2001 and 2002, she directed six episodes of Sabrina.

2004–2010: Post-Sabrina

After the end of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Hart directed her first movie, a 15-minute live-action short film called Mute (2005), 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 statutory rape.[26] In late 2007, she 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.[27] Hart followed this with another ABC movie with a similar premise, My Fake Fiancé, in 2009.

It was announced on August 17, 2009 that she would compete in season nine of Dancing with the Stars.[28] Hart was paired up with two-time reigning champion, Mark Ballas but she was eliminated from the competition in week six out of a possible ten.[29] Then in 2010, Hart starred as Kelley in a horror thriller film entitled Nine Dead.[30]

2010–present: Melissa & Joey

In 2010, Hart returned to a new weekly television series, starring with Joey Lawrence in the sitcom Melissa & Joey.[31][32] In the series Hart plays a woman who hires Lawrence as a nanny to help care for her incarcerated sister's children.[33] In the second season, she occupied the director's chair for an episode, for the first time since Sabrina.[34]

Hart joined the cast of an off-Broadway production of 'Love, Loss, and What I Wore' for a four-week run that started in March 2010 and ended April 25, 2010.[35][36]

In March 2010, Hart took part in an ad campaign for Gain detergent with former Sabrina, the Teenage Witch co-star Soleil Moon Frye.[37]

On November 22, 2010, Hart participated as a presenter in the International Emmy Awards.[38]

In June 2012, St. Martin's Press announced that it had made a deal with Hart to publish her memoir Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life in the fall of 2013. In the memoir, Hart wrote about growing up, being a child actor and her rise to fame, her rebellious teen years, and her efforts to balance a career as an adult with motherhood and family life.[39]

In 2013, Hart attempted to use crowdfunding (via Kickstarter) to fund a romantic comedy movie to be entitled Darci's Walk of Shame, but was only able to garner US$51,605, or just 2.6% of the expected US$2 million goal. Ultimately, the idea was scrapped and the pledged money was returned.[40]

Business venture

Hart at her Sweet Harts Candy Shop opening day, May 30, 2009

In May 2009, Hart opened a candy shop called SweetHarts in Sherman Oaks, California.[41] Hart commented that it had been her "childhood dream" to own a candy shop.[42] SweetHarts closed in December 2011 due to a lawsuit by a former employee alleging wrongful termination and racial discrimination, as well as other issues, and has since been reopened and operated under the same name by new owners.[43][44][45]

Personal life


On July 19, 2003, Hart married musician Mark Wilkerson.[46] The preparations for the ceremony, which took place in Florence, Italy, were documented in a TV miniseries titled Tying the Knot, produced by Hart's production company, Hartbreak Films.[46] Hart and Wilkerson have three sons: Mason Walter Wilkerson, born in January 11, 2006, Braydon "Brady" Hart Wilkerson, born in March 12,2008,[47][48] and Tucker McFadden Wilkerson,[49] born September 18,2012.[50]

Hart and Wilkerson were featured in People magazine's April 7, 2008 issue, introducing Braydon to the world.[51] Hart wrote a diary, including video entries, to document potty training her son, Mason, for Pull-Ups brand diapers.[2] Hart and her family live in Westport, Connecticut.[52]

Hart and her family are Christians. In an interview, she stated that they attend church every Sunday and pray every night and before every meal.[53]

Political interest

Hart has expressed her support for the Republican Party.[54] On November 5, 2012, the day before Election Day, she sent out a tweet saying that she was endorsing Mitt Romney for president, which spurred backlash from the political left.[55][56] Her endorsement of Romney became a trending topic and gained Hart 15,000 new Twitter followers.[57]


Television series

List of television performances
Year Title Role Notes
1985 ABC Weekend Special Cindy Episode: "The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn"
1985 Kane & Abel Florentyna Rosnovski (age 7) Credited as Melissa Hart
1986 Equalizer, TheThe Equalizer Laura Moore Episode: "Torn" (credited as Melissa Hart)
1986 Another World Roller-Skater Episode dated April 22
1991–1994 Clarissa Explains It All Clarissa Darling Lead role (65 episodes)
1992 Nick Arcade Herself
1993 Are You Afraid of the Dark? Daphne Episode: "The Tale of the Frozen Ghost"
1995 Clarissa Clarissa Darling Only one episode produced
1995 Touched by an Angel Claire Latham Episode: "Angels on the Air"
1996 Weinerville Herself /
Subway Passenger
Episodes: "The Weinerville Election Special"[58]
"The Weinerville New Years Special: Lost In The Big Apple"
1996–2003 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Sabrina Spellman Lead role (163 episodes); Also producer, director
1997 Clueless Episode: Mr. Wright
1997 Boy Meets World Episode: "The Witches of Pennbrook"
1997 You Wish Episode: "Genie Without a Cause"
1997 Teen Angel Episode: "One Dog Night"
1998 Superman: The Animated Series Saturn Girl / Irma Ardeen Voice
1999 That '70s Show Mary Episode: "Eric gets Suspended"
1999–2000 Sabrina: The Animated Series Aunt Hilda Spellman and Aunt Zelda Spellman Voice
2000 Just Shoot Me! Krissy Episode: "Fast Times at Finchmont High"
2003 The Jamie Kennedy Experiment Herself Episode dated March 20
2004 North Shore Herself Episode: "Secret Service"
2005, 2012 Robot Chicken Emily the Spy, Hilda Spellman, and Sabrina Spellman (voice) Episodes: "Operation Rich in Spirit", "Executed by the State"
2006 Justice League Unlimited Delia & Deidre Dennis / Dee Dee Voice
2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sarah Trent Episode: "Impulsive"
2009 Dancing With the Stars Herself
2010–2015 Melissa & Joey Mel Burke Lead Role
Also executive producer
2010 When I Was 17 [59] Herself
2014 Motor City Masters Herself/guest judge Episode: "The Mother of All Design Challenges"
2015 The Mysteries of Laura K.C. Moss Episode: "The Mystery of the Deceased Documentarian"


List of feature and made-for-TV film performances
Year Title Role Notes
1986 Christmas Snow Amy TV (credited as Melissa Hart)
1995 Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare Samantha TV
1996 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Sabrina Sawyer[60] Pilot movie for TV series
1996 Twisted Desire Jennifer Stanton TV
1997 Right Connections, TheThe Right Connections Melanie Cambridge TV (credited as Melissa Hart)
1997 Two Came Back Susan Clarkson TV
1998 Silencing Mary Mary Stuartson TV
1998 Can't Hardly Wait Vicki, Yearbook Girl Uncredited[61][62]
1998 Sabrina Goes to Rome Sabrina Spellman / Sophia TV
1999 Drive Me Crazy Nicole Maris
1999 Love, American Style Annabelle TV; segment "Love In The Old South"
1999 Sabrina, Down Under Sabrina Spellman TV
2000 Santa Mouse and the Ratdeer Molly Voice
2000 Specials, TheThe Specials Sunlight Grrrll
2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Delia & Deidre Dennis / Dee Dee Voice
2001 Backflash C.J. Direct-to-video
2001 Recess: School's Out Becky Detweiller Voice
2001 The Voyage to Atlantis: The Lost Empire Herself Short; spinoff of Atlantis: The Lost Empire
2001 Not Another Teen Movie Slow Clapper's Instructor/Herself Uncredited
2002 Rent Control Holly Washburn TV
2002 Hold On Herself Short film
2006 Dirtbags Kate TV
2006 Jesus, Mary and Joey Jackie
2007 Holiday in Handcuffs Trudie Chandler TV
2008 Whispers and Lies AKA Secrets of Pine Cove Jill Roperson TV
2009 Nine Dead Kelly Murphy
2009 My Fake Fiancé Jennifer TV
2011 Satin Lauren Wells
2014 Santa Con Rose DeMarco

Music Videos

List of music video appearances
Year Title Artist Notes
1999 "(You Drive Me) Crazy" Britney Spears Song was featured on Drive Me Crazy Soundtrack
2008 "Anger Cage" Course of Nature Hart also has co-director credit


Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
1992 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actress Starring in an Off-Prime Time or Cable Series Clarissa Explains It All Won [63]
1993 Best Young Actress Starring in a Cable Series Clarissa Explains It All Won [64]
1994 Best Youth Actress Leading Role in a Television Series Clarissa Explains It All Nominated [65]
1995 Best Youth Comedienne in a TV Show Clarissa Explains It All Won [66]
1997 Saturn Awards Best Genre TV Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Comedy: Leading Young Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Won [67]
YoungStar Awards Best Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated [68]
1998 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Won [69]
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Leading Young Performer Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Won [70]
Best Performance in a TV Movie or Feature Film: Young Ensemble The Right Connections Won
1999 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
2000 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Drive Me Crazy Won [69]
Favorite Television Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
2001 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
2002 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
2003 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
2013 Young Artist Awards Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award Clarissa Explains It All &
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Honored [71]


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  12. ^ Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf – Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals – Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, on iTunes
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  31. ^ OK Weekly Issue #19 July 19, 2010 Page 27
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  35. ^ US Weekly Issue 791 April 12, 2010 Page 47
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  42. ^ Whilburg, Ursula "Melissa Joan Hart Opens a Candy Store", People Magazine, accessed October 21, 2009
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  57. ^ Melissa Joan Hart Tweets Romney Support, Twitter’s Childhood Dies. The Inquisitr. November 6, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
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External links