Fast Facts

  • Her grandfather Harry Crane wrote for the classic 1950s sitcom The Honeymooners.
  • Began appearing in TV commercials at age 3.
  • At age 9, beat out more than 500 girls for the role of Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie.
  • Met first husband, Bo Brinkman, on a blind date and married him within two months.
  • In 1985, became one of the youngest actresses to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • In 2001, became the third woman to serve as the President of the Screen Actors Guild.
  • Performed for months with a broken back while on tour for the Little House on the Prairie musical in 2010.
  • Is an honorary board member for the Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition, which provides children with life-threatening conditions access to the care and emotional support they need.


  • 1981, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: Nominee
  • 1980, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special: Nominee


  • Julia Crane — Grandmother
  • Daisy Busfield — Stepdaughter
  • Willy Busfield — Stepson
  • Bo Brinkman — Ex-husband
  • Harry Crane — Grandfather
  • Barbara Crane — Mother
  • Michael Landon Jr. — Ex-significant Other
  • Rob Lowe — Ex-fiancé
  • Timothy Busfield — Husband
  • Samuel Busfield — Stepson
  • Jonathan Gilbert — Brother
  • Charlie Brill — Godparent
  • Sara Gilbert — Half Sister
  • Dakota Paul Brinkman — Son
  • Bruce Boxleitner — Ex-husband
  • Paul Gilbert — Father
  • Michael Garrett Boxleitner — Son


  • Attended University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA


  • Birth Name: Melissa Ellen Gilbert
  • Birth Place: Los Angeles, CA
  • Profession: Actor, Director, Producer

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