Melissa is a very accomplished woman and her career has included: actress, writer, and producer. She was born in Los Angeles, Calif. and comes from a family of entertainers. Her grandfather, Harry Crane, was the creator and writer of "The Honeymooners", and her father Paul Gilbert was a successful actor, comedian, and dancer.
Believe it or not, Melissa began her acting career at the age of two. She modeled baby clothing and was in more than 30 commercials. What she is best known for is her role on "Little House on the Prairie." She warmed our hearts for 10 years as she played Laura Ingalls,Wilder, second daughter of Charles Inglass, played by Michael Landon. She has been in numerous other films and shows but came full circle when she played the role of "Ma" in the national tour of "Little House on the Prairie, the Musical," in 2009.
She did not have any contact with Michael Landon after the show was finished in 1984. When she learned of his pancreatic cancer on the "Tonight Show," with Johnny Carson,, she phoned him and visited him his Malibu home. Michael died one week later. She gave birth to her second son in Oct., 1995, and in honor of Michael Landon, she named him Michael.
Helping her community is very important and she served two terms as the 23rd President of Screen Actors Guild, as Vice President for the California Labor Federation, and as a commissioner on the California Film Commission.
Charity work is also important and she is President of the Board of Directors for the Children's Hospice and palliative Care Coalition and recently became spokesperson for the Partnership at Drugfree.org. She has battled alcoholism and drug abuse, which she wrote about in her 2009 autobiography
Melissa has four sons and they are all proud to see their mom perform on Dancing with the Stars
. I am looking forward to it too. She is partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy
and I think it will be a dynamic duo!