Melissa Sue Anderson

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Melissa Sue Anderson
1974 Melissa Sue Anderson Little House on the Prairie.jpg
as Mary Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie, 1974.
Born (1962-09-26) September 26, 1962 (age 51)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1972–present

Melissa Sue Anderson (born September 26, 1962 in Berkeley, California) is an American-Canadian actress. She began her career as a child actress. Anderson is known for her role as Mary Ingalls on the NBC drama series Little House on the Prairie. She is also known for her film roles; Vivian in Midnight Offerings, Ginny in the cult classic slasher Happy Birthday to Me, and Alex in the ABC Afterschool Special, Which Mother Is Mine?, for which she won an Emmy Award in 1979.

Career[edit]

Acting[edit]

Her show business career began when a dance teacher urged her parents to find an agent for her. She began doing television commercials, and soon she was in demand for television roles. Her first came in a 1972 episode of Bewitched entitled "Tabitha's First Day Of School." A memorable early role of hers was of Millicent, a girl who kissed Bobby and induced him to see fireworks on The Brady Bunch.

At the age of eleven, Anderson landed the role of Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. Beating out hundreds of competitors for the role, she would go on to star on the show for eight seasons; beginning in 1974 and leaving after season seven, later appearing in two episodes of season eight in late 1981.

Anderson with Lance Kerwin in the 1977 television film, James at 15

In 1976, Michael Landon asked Anderson if she would appear in his autobiographical film,The Loneliest Runner. Anderson agreed to play Nancy Rizzi, the first girlfriend of John Curtis (based on Landon and played by Lance Kerwin), saying she was very thrilled to have been asked. In 1977, she once again co-starred as the love interest opposite Lance Kerwin in the television film James at 15.

She was nominated for a 1978 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Little House on the Prairie and won the Emmy Award for her performance in Which Mother Is Mine?, which aired as an ABC Afterschool Special in 1979. Also in 1979, she played the title role of Dana Lee Gilbert, a North Dakota transfer student to Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, California in CBS's TV movie Survival of Dana.

In 1980, Anderson earned a 'TP de Oro' Award (considered to be Spain's most prestigious award for television) for 'Best Foreign Actress' for her role Little House. This followed a successful visit to Spain in 1979 to appear as a guest on RTVE's program, 625 Lineas. In 1981, she earned a Young Artist Award nomination for her performance in the Canadian slasher film Happy Birthday to Me.[1] After leaving Little House, she continued acting in television shows like The Equalizer, Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1980s), and Murder, She Wrote, and was the associate producer for the next to last TV project Michael Landon made before dying: Where Pigeons Go to Die (1990). In 1998, she was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Author[edit]

In 2010 Anderson released her autobiography entitled The Way I See It - A Look Back at My Life on Little House. The book, which is primarily based on her life during her years as a child star on The Little House On The Prairie, sold poorly and contains behind the scenes-stories and anecdotes about the show itself, its stars, guest stars and crew members.

Methodically, Anderson takes the reader through each of the first seven seasons of the show (the seasons in which she appeared). She also tells about her pre and post Little House career and her side-projects during the Little House years. She is frank and open about her feelings about the projects in which she has been involved, and also writes about her personal life and how it was affected by her career.

Personal life[edit]

Anderson's first publicly known romance was with actor Lorenzo Lamas,[citation needed] with whom she made an appearance in the television series The Love Boat in which two friends (Lorenzo and Melissa) resist the matchmaking efforts of their parents. After this short romance, she dated Frank Sinatra, Jr.[citation needed] in the late 1970s, who, at the time, was more than twice her age.

With husband Michael Sloan, Anderson has two children, daughter Piper (born February 1991) and son Griffin (born June 1996). She has lived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada since 2002. She and her husband became naturalized Canadians in 2007.[2]

Filmography[edit]

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1972 Bewitched Girl Episode: "Tabitha's First Day of School"
1973 Brady Bunch, TheThe Brady Bunch Millicent Episode: "Never Too Young"
1973 Shaft Cathy (uncredited) Episode: "The Enforcers"
1974–81 Little House on the Prairie Mary Ingalls 163 episodes
1976 Loneliest Runner, TheThe Loneliest Runner Nancy Rizzi
1977 James at 15 Lacey Stevens Episode: "Pilot"
1977 ABC Afterschool Special Kate Episode: "Very Good Friends"
1978 Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour, TheThe Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour Director of the musical 1 episode
1978–80,
1986
Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Jennifer 'Chubs' Smith / Cindy Jerome / Cathy Cummings / Dana Colton 4 episodes
1979 Survival of Dana Dana Lee Gilbert
1979 ABC Afterschool Special Alexandria 'Alex' Benton Episode: "Which Mother Is Mine?"
1979 New Kind of Family, AA New Kind of Family Lisa Episode: "The Overcharge"
1979 Little House Years Mary Ingalls
1979 CHiPs Herself Episode: "Roller Disco" (Part 2)
1980 Fantasy Island Amy Marson Episode: "Rogues to Riches/Stark Terror"
1980 Insight Mary Beth Episode: "Princess"
1981 Midnight Offerings Vivian Sotherland
1981 Advice to the Lovelorn Maureen Tyler
1982 Innocent Love, AnAn Innocent Love Molly Rush
1982/83 Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Katherine 'Kitty' Pryde / Spryte (voice) Episodes: "The Origin of Iceman", "The X-Men Adventure"
1983 First Affair Toby King
1984 Finder of Lost Loves Nikki Gatos Episode: "Pilot"
1984 Murder, She Wrote Eve Crystal Episode: "Hooray for Homicide"
1984 Glitter Elizabeth Episode: "A Minor Miracle"
1984/85 Hotel Cassie Ray / Anne Goldman Episodes: "Lifelines", "Imperfect Union"
1986 Dark Mansions Noelle Drake
1987–88 Equalizer, TheThe Equalizer Yvette Marcel 4 episodes
1988/89 New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, TheThe New Alfred Hitchcock Presents Laura Donovan / Julie Fenton Episodes: "VCR - Very Careful Rape", "Murder in Mind"
1989 Memories of Manon Yvette Marcel
1989 Return of Sam McCloud, TheThe Return of Sam McCloud Colleen McCloud
1993/94 X-Men Snowbird (voice) Episodes: "Repo Man", "Phoenix Saga, Part 5: Child of Light"
1994 Burke's Law Michelle Ryder Episode: "Who Killed Alexander the Great?"
1998 Earthquake in New York Dr. Marilyn Blake
1999 Partners Cheryl Darrin 3 episodes
2000 Thin Ice Tanya Ferguson
2006 10.5: Apocalypse First Lady Megan Hollister
2007 Marco Polo Mother (voice, uncredited)
Film
Year Title Role Notes
1981 Happy Birthday to Me Virginia Wainwright
1984 Goma-2 Kukki (uncredited)
1984 Chattanooga Choo Choo Jennie
1988 Suicide Club, TheThe Suicide Club Laura Donovan on TV
1988 Far North Young Nurse
1989 Looking Your Best
1990 Dead Men Don't Die Dulcie Niles
1991 Manuel
1994 Animated Stories from the Bible: Music Video – Volume 1 Snake (voice) Video
1995 Killer Lady American Lady
2006 Crazy Eights Hospital Patient (uncredited)
2010 Marker 187 Short film

References[edit]

External links[edit]