Melissa Francis

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Melissa Francis
Born Melissa Ann Francis[1]
(1972-12-12) December 12, 1972 (age 43)
Los Angeles, California
Other names Missy Francis
Occupation Television journalist, anchor, child actress
Years active 1973–present
Spouse(s) Wray Thorn (1997–present)
Children 3

Melissa Ann Francis (born December 12, 1972) is an American former child actress and current television journalist for the Fox Business Network and Fox News.  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. She received her own FBN show in January 2012 called MONEY with Melissa Francis and is currently a co-host of Fox News' commentary and talk program, Outnumbered.


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 known for her role as Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, for two seasons.[2][3] 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,[4] although Banks herself has denied this.[5]

Television journalist[edit]

In January 2012, Francis became a financial news reporter and anchor for Fox Business Network.In January 2012, Francis became a financial news reporter and anchor for Fox Business Network.[6]

Previously, she was a financial news reporter and anchor for CNBC. She originally provided live hourly reports from the New York Mercantile Exchange on trading in crude oil futures contracts.

Prior to CNBC, Francis was a correspondent for CNET's broadcast unit, where she covered finance, technology and consumer products.[7]

In 2014, Francis became a recurring co-host of Fox News Channel's talk and news commentary program, Outnumbered.[8]


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.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Scavenger Hunt Jennifer Motley
1983 Man, Woman and Child Paula Beckwith
1988 Bad Dreams Young Cynthia
2009 Race to Witch Mountain TV reporter Uncredited;[citation needed] reporting the events in television
2012 Dictator, TheThe Dictator Local News Reporter


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Ghost of Flight 401, TheThe Ghost of Flight 401 Kid TV film
1979 Champions: A Love Story Sally TV film
1979 Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love Thea TV film
1979–80 Joe's World Linda Wabash Main role (11 episodes)
1980 Mork & Mindy Little Mindy Episode: "A Mommy for Mindy"
1980 Galactica 1980 Little Girl Episode: "Galactica Discovers Earth Part II And III"
1980 When the Whistle Blows Deenie Episode: "Love Is a Four-Letter Word"
1981 Midnight Lace Cathy, age 11 TV film
1981 Gun in the House, AA Gun in the House Diana Cates TV film
1981–82 Little House on the Prairie Cassandra Cooper Ingalls Main role (21 episodes)
1984 Something About Amelia Beth Bennett TV film
1985 Hotel Jodi Abbott Episode: "Rallying Cry"
1985 CBS Schoolbreak Special Tina Episode: "The War Between the Classes"
1986 St. Elsewhere Cynthia Episode: "Family Affair"
1986 Morningstar/Eveningstar Sarah Bishop Main role (7 episodes)
1988 Year in the Life, AA Year in the Life Eunice Episode: "Common Ground"
1989 ALF Miss Williams Episode: "Baby, Come Back"
1990 Hardball Episode: "A Death in the Family"


  1. ^ "Vini M Francis, Born 12/12/1972 in California -". Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ Jon Friedman (September 19, 2007). "CNBC's Melissa Francis isn't over the hill". MarketWatch. Retrieved September 19, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Missy Francis Biography". 2009. Retrieved 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ "Which CNBC Anchor Was The Basis For 30 Rock's Avery Jessup?". February 16, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Elizabeth Banks Slams Page Six For "30 Rock" Story". The Huffington Post. April 21, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sightings, TVNewswer". Mediabistro. 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  7. ^ Francis, Melissa (April 12, 2002). "Perspective: Where's my all-in-one device?". CNET. Retrieved April 12, 2002. 
  8. ^ "Outnumbered". Fox News. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  9. ^ " stagemother's daughter". Retrieved June 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]