1. Melissa Joan Hart (born April 18, 1976) is an American actress, director, producer, singer, fashion designer, and business woman.
2. Hart has been married to musician Mark Wilkerson since July 19, 2003; together, they have three children.
3. Hart was born in Smithtown, New York, on Long Island, the first child of Paula, a producer and talent manager, and William Hart, a carpenter, shellfish purveyor, clam hatchery worker, and entrepreneur. Melissa grew up in nearby Sayville.
4. Her parents had four other children after Melissa: Trisha, Elizabeth, Brian, and Emily, who are all in acting.
5. Her parents were divorced in the early 1990s, and she moved with her mother and siblings to New York City.
6. Hart was named after the Allman Brothers song “Melissa”, while her middle name, Joan, came from her maternal grandmother.
7. She chose Catherine as her confirmation name when she was in the eighth grade, but does not use it professionally.
8. Hart has two more half-sisters, Alexandra Gilliams and Samantha Gilliams, who also acted.
9. 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.
10. 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 also in 1986.
11. She made a cameo guest appearance on the April 22, 1986 episode of the NBC daytime soap opera Another World.
12. She also auditioned for the lead role Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, losing the role to Danielle Harris.
13. In 1989, she became an understudy in a Broadway production of The Crucible starring Martin Sheen.
14. 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. 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.
15. In 1992, she and Clarissa cast member Jason Zimbler appeared on the game show Nick Arcade as contestants.
16. Initially, after first being recognized on the streets, Hart felt embarrassed to perform on a children’s show while being a teenager.
17. Hart also recorded two albums as Clarissa, This Is What ‘Na Na’ Means
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. Hart appeared on Nickelodeon’s anthology show Are You Afraid of the Dark?
21. In 1998, Hart had a small role in film Can’t Hardly Wait, Hart asked her then-friend Britney Spears to do a remix of her song “(You Drive Me) Crazy” for the movie’s soundtrack.