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.


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


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


  • Attended University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA


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

Trending TonightSee all »

Watch This

Josh Bowman and Freddie Stroma
Josh Bowman and Freddie Stroma Play Guess That Facial Hair!

Can the Time After Time stars, who were nearly unrecognizable with facial hair, recognize other actors by only seeing their facial hair?