Melissa Joan Hart

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Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Hart (36726572364) (cropped and rotated).jpg
Hart in September 2017
Born (1976-04-18) April 18, 1976 (age 47)
Alma materSayville High School
  • Actress
  • producer
  • director
Years active1985–present
(m. 2003)
ParentPaula Hart (mother)
RelativesEmily Hart (sister)

Melissa Joan Hart (born April 18, 1976)[1] is an American actress, producer, and director. She had starring roles as the title characters in the sitcoms Clarissa Explains It All (1991–1994), Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996–2003), and Melissa & Joey (2010–2015). She appeared as Liz in No Good Nick (2019). She has also appeared in the films Drive Me Crazy (1999), Nine Dead (2009), and God's Not Dead 2 (2016). On October 17, 2021, she became the first celebrity to win the $1 million top prize for her charity, Youth Villages, on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and the fourth overall million dollar winner on Wheel of Fortune.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hart was born in Smithtown, New York, the first child of Paula Hart (née Voje), a producer and talent manager, and William Hart, a carpenter, shellfish purveyor, oyster hatchery worker, and entrepreneur.[3][1] Her maternal grandfather, Stanley John Voje, was a Navy veteran and Catholic.[4] Hart grew up in Sayville, New York.

Hart's parents had four other children after Melissa: Trisha, Elizabeth, Brian, and Emily, who are all in acting. Her parents divorced in the early 1990s, and she moved with her mother and siblings to New York City. In 1994, her mother married television executive Leslie Gilliams, who is best known for his appearance on Season 5 of MasterChef in 2014, when he finished in 3rd place. Hart has three half-sisters: Alexandra, Samantha, and Mackenzie.[1]

Hart was named after the Allman Brothers song "Melissa", while her middle name, Joan, came from her maternal grandmother. She chose Catherine as her confirmation name when she was in the eighth grade,[1] but does not use it professionally.


Early career[edit]

Hart's career began at age four when she made a television commercial for a bathtub doll called Splashy.[1] From then on, she appeared regularly in commercials, making 25 of them before the age of five. 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[5] in 1986, and a starring role alongside Katherine Helmond in the Emmy Award-winning TV movie Christmas Snow,[1] also in 1986. She appeared on the April 22, 1986 episode of the NBC daytime soap opera Another World. She also auditioned for the lead role Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, losing the role to Danielle Harris.

In 1989, she became an understudy in a Broadway production of The Crucible starring Martin Sheen.[6] That same year, she appeared in an off-Broadway production of Beside Herself with William Hurt and Calista Flockhart.[7]

1991–1994: Clarissa Explains It All[edit]

Hart on the set of Clarissa Explains It All at Nickelodeon Studios in 1991

In 1991 Hart landed the starring role on the Nickelodeon series Clarissa Explains It All, a comedy about a teenaged girl in everyday situations, which was successful during its four-year run.[8][9] The show brought her four consecutive Young Artist Award nominations, winning three.[10] 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.[citation needed]

Initially, after first being recognized in public, Hart felt embarrassed to be acting in a children's show while being a teenager. Nevertheless, she was enthusiastic about the role, and "all [she] hoped for that [she] would get to do it for a while."[11]

Hart also recorded two albums as Clarissa: This Is What 'Na Na' Means[12] and a recording of Peter and the Wolf.[13]

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. 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.[14]

Hart appeared on Nickelodeon's anthology show Are You Afraid of the Dark?, in the Season 2 episode "The Tale of the Frozen Ghost" (1993).[15]

1996–2003: Sabrina the Teenage Witch[edit]

After the television series ended, Hart attended New York University.[16] However, she dropped out after she earned the title role for the 1996 TV film Sabrina the Teenage Witch,[17] which was followed by the television series of the same name, which lasted seven seasons on ABC and The WB.[18] She later collaborated on an animated version that featured Hart voicing the two aunts Hilda and Zelda, and Hart's younger sister Emily starring in the title role. She also guest-starred on the series Touched by an Angel and starred in several TV movies. She guest starred on the Boy Meets World episode "Witches of Pennbrook" as her character Sabrina Spellman; the episode also guest starred Hart's closest friend Candace Cameron-Bure as a witch named Millie.

Hart participates in a March of Dimes event with her Melissa & Joey co-stars Joey Lawrence and Taylor Spreitler.

In 1998, Hart had a small role in the film Can't Hardly Wait;[19] shortly afterwards Hart began working on a theatrical film project titled Next to You, in which she acted alongside Adrian Grenier.[20] Britney Spears released a remix of her song "(You Drive Me) Crazy" to promote the movie's soundtrack. To capitalize on the song's success as a top-ten hit,[21] the name of the movie was changed to Drive Me Crazy. To promote the film, both Hart and Grenier appeared in the song's music video.[22] Around the same time, Spears made a guest appearance as herself on Sabrina, in the season four episode "No Place Like Home".[23]

Coinciding with the release of Drive Me Crazy, Hart appeared wearing lingerie on the cover of Maxim magazine's October 1999 issue, as well as in a photo shoot and an accompanying article,[24] which resulted in an attempt by the publisher of the Sabrina comic book series to sue her for breach of contract.[25] Hart continued her acting career, starring in the film Rent Control,[26] which aired in 2005 on the ABC Family cable network. Hart also continued to star on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch until 2003. Hart was also a primary voice-actress on Sabrina: The Animated Series, which ran for 65 episodes in 1999 on ABC and UPN.

In 1999, Hart made her directorial debut in an episode of Disney Channel's So Weird called "Snapshot" which guest-starred her sister Emily. Hart directed an episode of Nickelodeon's Taina in 2001. In 2001 and 2002, she directed six episodes of Sabrina.[citation needed]

2004–2010: Post-Sabrina[edit]

After Sabrina ended in 2003 after 7 seasons, Hart directed her first film, a 15-minute live-action short film called Mute (2005), starring her sister Emily. In 2007, Hart guest-starred on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit titled "Impulsive" as a teacher accused of statutory rape.[27] In late 2007, she directed the "Anger Cage" video for her husband Mark Wilkerson's band Course of Nature. She also starred in the ABC Family film Holiday in Handcuffs, opposite Mario Lopez. The film premiered on December 9, 2007, and was the highest rated program in the history of the network, with 6.7 million viewers.[28] Hart followed this with another ABC film with a similar premise, My Fake Fiancé, in 2009.

It was announced on August 17, 2009, that she would compete in season nine of Dancing with the Stars.[29] Hart was paired up with two-time reigning champion, Mark Ballas. She was eliminated from the competition in week six out of a possible ten.[30] In 2010, Hart starred as Kelley in the horror thriller film Nine Dead.[31]

2010–2015: Melissa & Joey[edit]

In 2010, Hart returned to a new weekly television series, starring with Joey Lawrence in the ABC Family sitcom Melissa & Joey.[1][32][33] In the series Hart plays a woman who hires Lawrence as a nanny to help care for her incarcerated sister's children.[34] In the second season, she occupied the director's chair for an episode, for the first time since Sabrina.[35]

Hart (center) with her mother (right) and moderator Damian Holbrook (left) promoting The Watcher in the Woods at the 2017 New York Comic Con

Hart joined the cast of an off-Broadway production of Love, Loss, and What I Wore for a four-week run that started in March 2010 and ended April 25, 2010.[36][37]

In March 2010, Hart took part in an ad campaign for Gain detergent with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch co-star and friend Soleil Moon Frye.[38]

On November 22, 2010, Hart participated as a presenter in the International Emmy Awards.[39]

In June 2012, St. Martin's Press announced that it had made a deal with Hart to publish her memoir Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life in the fall of 2013. In the memoir, Hart wrote about growing up, being a child actor and her rise to fame, her rebellious teen years, and her efforts to balance a career as an adult with motherhood and family life.[40]

In 2013, Hart attempted to use crowdfunding (via Kickstarter) to fund a romantic comedy movie to be titled Darci's Walk of Shame, but was only able to garner $51,605, or just 2.6% of the expected $2 million goal. Ultimately, the idea was scrapped.[41]

Melissa & Joey concluded in August 2015 after 4 seasons and 104 episodes.

2016–present: Recent work[edit]

In 2016, Hart starred as the lead, Grace Wesley, in the film God's Not Dead 2.

In 2018, Hart was cast as Liz in the Netflix comedy series No Good Nick. The series premiered on April 15, 2019.[42] She directed one episode from The Goldbergs, "Hail Barry" and the Young Sheldon episode "Cowboy Aerobics and 473 Grease-Free Bolts".[43] Hart also made her return to Nickelodeon 25 years after the end of Clarissa Explains It All when she joined the voice cast of The Casagrandes, a spinoff of The Loud House, portraying Becca Chang opposite of Ken Jeong as Stanley Chang.[44]

In 2022, Hart starred in the Lifetime film Dirty Little Secret as part of its "Ripped from the Headlines" feature film where it was inspired by true events and the book Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omolulu.[45]

In 2023, Hart competed in season nine of The Masked Singer as "Lamp". She was eliminated in "Masked Singer in Space" alongside Alicia Witt as "Dandelion".

Business ventures[edit]

Hart at her SweetHarts Candy Shop opening day, May 30, 2009

In May 2009, Hart opened a candy shop called SweetHarts in Sherman Oaks, California.[46] Hart commented that it had been her "childhood dream" to own a candy shop.[47] SweetHarts closed in December 2011 due to a lawsuit by a former employee alleging wrongful termination and racial discrimination, as well as other issues. Hart denied all of the employee's claims, and the case was dismissed in 2012.[48] SweetHarts later reopened with new owners before closing permanently in 2015.[49][50][51]

In 2015, Hart and her husband started their own fashion line called King of Harts.[52]

Personal life[edit]

On July 19, 2003, Hart married musician Mark Wilkerson, having met at the Kentucky Derby in May 2002.[53] The preparations for the ceremony, which took place in Florence, Italy, were documented in a TV miniseries titled Tying the Knot, produced by Hart's production company Hartbreak Films and aired on ABC Family. Hart and Wilkerson have three sons, Mason (born January 2006),[54] Braydon (b. March 2008),[55] and Tucker (b. September 2012).[56] They lived in Westport, Connecticut,[57] until 2019, when they moved to Lake Tahoe[58] and then in 2020, they moved to Nashville.[59]

Hart and Wilkerson were featured in People magazine's April 7, 2008, issue, introducing Braydon, their second child.[60] Hart wrote a diary, including video entries, to document potty training her son, Mason, for Huggies Pull-Ups brand diapers.[1]

Hart and her family are Presbyterians.[61] In an interview, she stated that they attend church every Sunday and pray every night and before every meal.[62]

Hart was near The Covenant School in Nashville when a mass shooting occurred there in March 2023 and helped escort some of the fleeing children to safety.[63][64] She later recounted the experience on NewsNation and her social media accounts, while noting that she and her children were also in proximity to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.[63]

Hart has expressed her support for some Republican candidates, such as voting for Bob Dole during the 1996 election.[65] On November 5, 2012, the day before that year's Election Day, she tweeted that she was endorsing Mitt Romney for president.[66][67][68] Hart has expressed support for increased gun control, marching in a Moms Demand Action demonstration in Brooklyn in May 2016.[69] On August 16, 2016, in the run-up to that year's presidential election, she donated to Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson's campaign.[70] On August 28, 2016, she joined Johnson's campaign as its Connecticut chairperson.[71]


TV series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1985 ABC Weekend Special Cindy Episode: "The Adventures of Con Sawyer and Hucklemary Finn"
Kane & Abel Florentyna Rosnovski (age 7) Credited as Melissa Hart
1986 The Equalizer Laura Moore Episode: "Torn" (credited as Melissa Hart)
Another World Roller-Skater Episode dated April 22
1991–1994 Clarissa Explains It All Clarissa Darling Lead role
1992 Nick Arcade Herself Episode: "Clarissa Explains It All Celebrity Special"
1993 Are You Afraid of the Dark? Daphne Episode: "The Tale of the Frozen Ghost"
1995 Clarissa Clarissa Darling Unsold pilot (also known as Clarissa Now). Shown during Nickelodeon's Big Help-A-Thon.
Touched by an Angel Claire Latham Episode: "Angels on the Air"
1996 Weinerville Herself
Subway Passenger
Episodes: "The Weinerville Election Special"[72]
"The Weinerville New Years Special: Lost In The Big Apple"
1996–2003 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Sabrina Spellman Lead role; Also producer, director
1997 Clueless Episode: "Mr. Wright"
Boy Meets World Episode: "The Witches of Pennbrook"
You Wish Episode: "Genie Without a Cause"
Teen Angel Episode: "One Dog Night"
1998 Superman: The Animated Series Saturn Girl Voice, episode: "New Kids in Town"
1997–1998 Moesha Haley Dillard Recurring role, later recast to Dru Mouser
1998 The Zig and Zag Show[73] Herself 1 episode
1999 That '70s Show Mary Episode: "Eric Gets Suspended"
1999 Sabrina: The Animated Series Hilda Spellman, Zelda Spellman Voice, main role
2000 Just Shoot Me! Krissy Episode: "Fast Times at Finchmont High"
2003 The Jamie Kennedy Experiment Herself Episode dated March 20
2004 North Shore Episode: "Secret Service"
2005, 2012 Robot Chicken Emily the Spy, Hilda Spellman, Sabrina Spellman 2 episodes
2006 Justice League Unlimited Delia and Deidre Dennis / Dee Dee Voice, episode: "The Once and Future Thing Part II: Time, Warped"
2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sarah Trent Episode: "Impulsive"
2009 Dancing With the Stars Herself
2010–2015 Melissa & Joey Mel Burke Lead Role (104 episodes)
Also executive producer, director
2010 When I Was 17[74] Herself
2014 Motor City Masters Herself/guest judge Episode: "The Mother of All Design Challenges"
2015 The Mysteries of Laura K.C. Moss Episode: "The Mystery of the Deceased Documentarian"
2016 Celebrity Family Feud Herself Episode: "Melissa Joan Hart vs. Paul Sorvino"
2017–2018 Pickle and Peanut 2 episodes
2018 Bobcat Goldthwait's Misfits & Monsters Mom Episode: "The Goatman Cometh"
2019 No Good Nick Liz Main role[42]
The Loud House Becca Chang Voice, 3 episodes
The Goldbergs Elaine stewardess / 1 episode
2019–2022 The Casagrandes Becca Chang Voice, recurring role
2021 Hell's Kitchen Herself Chef's table guest diner for the red team; Episode: "More Than a Sticky Situation"
Celebrity Wheel of Fortune Episode: "Melissa Joan Hart, Tituss Burgess and Lacey Chabert"

Won $1,000,000 for Youth Villages


Feature and made-for-TV film roles
Year Title Role Notes
1986 Christmas Snow Amy Television film
1995 Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare Samantha Television film
1996 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Sabrina Sawyer[75] Pilot film for TV series
Twisted Desire Jennifer Stanton Television film
1997 The Right Connections Melanie Cambridge Television film (credited as Melissa Hart)
Two Came Back Susan Clarkson Television film
1998 Silencing Mary Mary Stuartson
Can't Hardly Wait Vicki, Yearbook Girl Uncredited[76][77]
Sabrina Goes to Rome Sabrina Spellman / Sophia Television film
The Emperor's New Clothes: An All-Star Illustrated Retelling of the Classic Fairy Tale The Imperial Princess Voice
1999 Drive Me Crazy Nicole Maris
Love, American Style Annabelle Television film
Sabrina Down Under Sabrina Spellman Television film
2000 Santa Mouse and the Ratdeer Molly Voice
The Specials Sunlight Grrrll
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Delia & Deidre Dennis / Dee Dee Voice
2001 Backflash C.J. Direct-to-video
Recess: School's Out Becky Detweiller Voice
The Voyage to Atlantis: The Lost Empire Herself Short; spinoff of Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Not Another Teen Movie Slow Clapper's Instructor/Herself Uncredited
2002 Rent Control Holly Washburn Television film
Hold On Herself Short film
2006 Dirtbags Kate Television film
Jesus, Mary and Joey Jackie
2007 Holiday in Handcuffs Trudie Chandler Television film
2008 Whispers and Lies AKA Secrets of Pine Cove Jill Roperson Television film
2009 Nine Dead Kelly Murphy
My Fake Fiancé Jennifer Television film
2011 Satin Lauren Wells
2014 Santa Con Rose DeMarco
2016 God's Not Dead 2 Grace Wesley
Broadcasting Christmas Emily Morgan Television film
2017 A Very Merry Toy Store Connie Forester Television film
CarGo Cabigail Voice
The Watcher in the Woods Director Television film
2018 A Very Nutty Christmas Kate Holliday
2019 Christmas Reservations Holly Anderson


2020 Dear Christmas Natalie
2021 Mistletoe in Montana Merry
2022 Dirty Little Secret Joanna
Santa Bootcamp Director

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

Week# Dance / Song Judge's scores Result Ref
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Viennese Waltz / "The Time of My Life"

Cha-Cha-Cha Relay / "Centerfold"







2 Jive / "Long Tall Sally" 7 6 6 Safe
3 Samba / "Turn Me On" 6 6 7 Safe
4 Charleston / "Charleston" 9 9 10 Safe
5 Argentine Tango / "Tango Barbaro"

Group Hustle Dance / "The Hustle"

6 Waltz / "Only One Road"
Mambo Marathon / "Ran Kan Kan"


Year Title Note(s)
2000–2003 Sabrina the Teenage Witch 9 episodes
2000 So Weird Episode: "Snapshot"
2002 Taina Episode: "Bad Review"
2005 Mute Short
2012–2015 Melissa & Joey 6 episodes
2014 The Santa Con TV movie
2017 The Watcher in the Woods
2018–2019 The Goldbergs 3 episodes
2020–2022 Young Sheldon 5 episodes
2020 The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia Episode: "Hasta La Vista, Baby"
Schooled Episode: "Lainey's Mom"
The Big Show Show / Game On!: A Netflix Crossover Event Episode: "The Big Games"
Feliz NaviDAD TV movie
2022 iCarly 2 episodes
Santa Bootcamp TV movie

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Notes
1999 "(You Drive Me) Crazy" Britney Spears Song was featured on Drive Me Crazy Soundtrack
2008 "Anger Cage" Course of Nature Hart also has co-director credit


  • 2013: Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life (read by the author), Macmillan Audio, ISBN 978-1427232991

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
1992 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress Starring in an Off-Prime Time or Cable Series Clarissa Explains It All Won [79]
1993 Best Young Actress Starring in a Cable Series [80]
1994 Best Youth Actress Leading Role in a Television Series Nominated [81]
1995 Best Youth Comedienne in a TV Show Won [82]
1997 Saturn Awards Best Genre TV Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy: Leading Young Actress Won [83]
YoungStar Awards Best Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series Nominated [84]
1998 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Won [85]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Leading Young Performer [86]
Best Performance in a TV Movie or Feature Film: Young Ensemble The Right Connections
1999 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress
2000 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Drive Me Crazy Won [85]
Favorite Television Actress Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Nominated
2001 Favorite Television Actress
2002 Favorite Television Actress
2003 Favorite Television Actress
2013 Young Artist Award Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award Clarissa Explains It All &
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Honored [87]
2015 Women's Image Network Awards Outstanding Actress Comedy Series Melissa & Joey (episode: "Be The Bigger Person") Nominated
Outstanding Film Directed by a Woman Santa Con


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