|Born||Melissa Ann Francis
December 2, 1972
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||television journalist, anchor for the Fox Business Network|
Melissa Ann Francis (December 12, 1972) is an American television journalist for the Fox Business Network. She is also a former child actress. She occasionally appears as a fill-in host for FBN's Cashin' In program, which is part of the network's The Cost of Freedom program block.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Francis graduated from Harvard University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and served as executive editor of The Harvard College Economist magazine. She was also the captain of the Harvard Polo Team.
Francis started her acting career on television before her first birthday, first appearing in a Johnson & Johnson shampoo commercial at 6 months of age. She was best known for her role as Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, for two seasons. Other television appearances include two series regular roles: Morningstar/Eveningstar and Joe’s World, and three films including Man, Woman and Child, where she played Paula Beckwith. She has also had appearances in the television series St. Elsewhere in 1986 and the 1988 film Bad Dreams, where she played young Cynthia. Melissa appeared in nearly 100 commercials during her acting career. She is reportedly the inspiration for the fictional character Avery Jessup (conceived of and played by Elizabeth Banks) in the show 30 Rock, although Banks herself has denied this.
Television journalist 
In November 2012, Francis authored a book, Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter: A Memoir, concerning the trials, tribulations and joys of having an overbearing mother.
- Jon Friedman (2007-09-19). "CNBC's Melissa Francis isn't over the hill". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
- "Missy Francis Biography". TV.com. 2009. Retrieved 2009.
- "Which CNBC Anchor Was The Basis For 30 Rock's Avery Jessup?". 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "Elizabeth Banks Slams Page Six For "30 Rock" Story". The Huffington Post. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "Sightings, TVNewswer". Mediabistro. 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Francis, Melissa (2002-04-12). "Perspective: Where's my all-in-one device?". CNET. Retrieved 2002-04-12.
- "Diary of a Stagemother's Daughter: A Memoir"