Born on April 18, 1976, in Sayville, Long Island, New York, Melissa Joan Catherine Hart began her stint as an actress early on, when she did a bubble bath commercial for Splashy Bath. By the age of five, Melissa had already completed over 25 commercials.
Melissa grew up with her TV Executive mom Paula Hart, her dad William Hart, her six younger sisters, Trisha, Elizabeth, Emily, Alexandra, Samantha, and Mackenzie, and one younger brother, Brian. Unfortunately, Melissa's parents opted to go their separate ways, and her mom, Paula, soon remarried TV Executive, Leslie Gilliams. And to add to her already quite large family, Melissa had the pleasure of welcoming two more younger half-sisters, Alexandra and Samantha, into her household.
Her mom became her agent from the get go and Melissa began acting in TV shows, but her first acting gig was actually an appearance on the wildly popular night time show Saturday Night Live. Between 1985 and 1986, she made several more appearances on the live comedy show.
Before her SNL turn came to an end, Melissa had already been making appearances elsewhere, including on popular shows such as The Equalizer, Christmas Snow, as well as a bit part in the mini-series Kane And Abel.
By the time the late '80s rolled around, Melissa delved into the world of theater and even starred opposite Martin Sheen in The Crucible that ran on Broadway, which for a teenage girl, is quite an accomplishment. After giving her turn as a theater actress a rest, Melissa auditioned and got the role of Clarissa, the star character of Clarissa Explains It All.
After her role as Clarissa came to an end, Melissa graduated from high school and enrolled herself into New York University. Fearing that acting may only be a temporary outlet for a given time, Melissa decided that higher education would be necessary. But as fate would have it, she got the role of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch in the TV movie. Sure enough, Melissa soon had no time to do anything but act.
But she has managed to attend NYU through correspondence courses since January 1994. And although she decided to pursue a BA in Arts & Literature, her newly busy filming schedule forced her to put her studies on hold for a year.
Whilst starring in the TV movie, Melissa also guest starred on Roma Downey's dramatic series, Touched By An Angel, and also assumed the role of a teenage girl who conspires to kill her parents in Twisted Desire.
After the success of the Sabrina movie, Melissa was asked to star in the television series of the same name. Although the show got its start on ABC and was a hit, at the end of the fourth season, the TV network decided that it wanted to change its time slots on Fridays and thus dismissed the show. Luckily, the WB came along and scooped up Sabrina and her magical delights for its fifth season, and the show is a huge success among teenage girls and adults alike.
In 1999, Melissa created a boatload of controversy by opting to pose seductively on the cover of Maxim magazine. Although the owner of Archie Comics (who also owns the rights to her Sabrina character) demanded an apology for smearing the character's persona through her actions, Melissa never fulfilled the request.
Along with her mom, Melissa co-owns her own production company, Hartbreak Films, which produces her TV show and a host of other television movies. And since the company recently acquired the rights to child star Shirley Temple's life story, you can be sure that Melissa, who collects the retired actress' memorabilia, was quite eager to produce the movie about her life (which will air some time this year).
As for movies, after a bit part in Can't Hardly Wait, which stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Melissa starred in the romantic movie Drive Me Crazy, for which Britney Spears had a hit single of the same name. This year, Melissa can be seen in the upcoming movie Backflash, starring opposite Jennifer Esposito.
Presently residing in LA, Melissa plays an active role in many charities that benefit children and hopes to have a positive effect on their lives. Keep your eye out for this blonde beauty -- her magic is spreading from television onto the big screen.