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Melissa Joan Hart Bio
Melissa Joan Hart (born April 18, 1976) is an American actress, television director, and television producer. Hart is known for her title roles in the television series Clarissa Explains It All (1991–94), Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996–2003), and Melissa & Joey (2010–15).
Hart has been married to musician Mark Wilkerson since July 19, 2003; together, they have three children.
Hart’s career began at age four when she made a television commercial for a bathtub doll called Splashy. 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 in 1986, and a starring role alongside Katherine Helmond in the Emmy Award-winning TV movie Christmas Snow, 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.
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. The show brought her four consecutive Young Artist Award nominations, winning three. 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.”
Hart also recorded two albums as Clarissa, This Is What ‘Na Na’ Means and a recording of Peter and the Wolf.
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.
Hart appeared on Nickelodeon’s anthology show Are You Afraid of the Dark? Season 2 episode “The Tale of the Frozen Ghost” in 1991.
1996–2003: Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
After the television series ended, Hart attended New York University. However, she did not complete her degree, because she earned the title role for the 1996 TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which was followed by the television series of the same name which lasted seven seasons on ABC and The WB. 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. 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, shortly afterwards Hart began working on a theatrical film project titled Next to You, in which she alongside Adrian Grenier. 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, 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. 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. Hart maintained her acting career in the 2000s, starring in the film Rent Control, which aired in 2005 on the ABC Family cable network. Hart also continued to star on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch until 2003. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. Then in 2010, Hart starred as Kelley in a horror thriller film entitled Nine Dead.
2010-2015: Melissa & Joey
In 2010, Hart returned to a new weekly television series, starring with Joey Lawrence in the sitcom Melissa & Joey. In the series Hart plays a woman who hires Lawrence as a nanny to help care for her incarcerated sister’s children. In the second season, she occupied the director’s chair for an episode, for the first time since Sabrina.
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.
On November 22, 2010, Hart participated as a presenter in the International Emmy Awards.
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.
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.
On February 9, 2015, ABC Family decided that it will end Melissa & Joey after its fourth season concluded.
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