Melissa Joan Hart Biography

Director, Writer, Actress (1976–)
American actress Melissa Joan Hart starred on the television shows Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and began performing on the TV series Melissa & Joey in 2010.


Actress Melissa Joan Hart was born on April 18, 1976 in Smithtown, New York. Hart found early success as a teenager, with parts on the television shows Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She currently stars on the TV series Melissa & Joey. Hart has also appeared on stage, competed on Dancing with the Stars, directed television episodes and written her own memoir.

Early Life

Melissa Joan Catherine Hart, best known as Melissa Joan Hart, was born on April 18, 1976 in Smithtown, Long Island, New York, to carpenter Billy Hart and his wife, Paula Hart. The oldest of five siblings, Hart grew up in Sayville, New York. From a young age, her mother began taking her into New York City for commercial auditions. Hart proved to be extremely talented, booking the first four commercials she auditioned for. In 1986, at just 10 years old, she earned her first television role in the film Christmas Show. ??Hart worked hard to maintain a balance between show business and regular life. When she wasn't commuting into New York City, she attended public school and enjoyed extracurriculars such as playing the flute and participating in Girl Scouts.

As Hart gained momentum and began gaining success in her early career, her family life became more difficult: Her parents divorced, and Hart’s mother moved with the children to New York City and began working as a casting director in the entertainment industry. At the same time, her father also began a new career, working as a shellfish wholesaler.

Commercial Success

Hart auditioned for the Nickelodeon television show Clarissa Explains it All in 1989. She landed the title role, which would change her life forever. She relocated temporarily to Orlando, Florida, and went on to film 65 episodes over the course of five seasons. While filming, Hart did not attend traditional high school. Instead, she worked with tutors on set to complete her education. Clarissa ended in 1994, and Hart moved back to New York City to be close to her family, as well as attend New York University.

Two years after wrapping Clarissa, Hart once again found herself in the spotlight, landing the role of Sabrina Spellman on the ABC TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch (later on The CW Television Network). Once again, Hart's acting career uprooted her family: They relocated to Los Angeles, and Hart continued to attend NYU through the school's study-abroad program. She also took small roles in many television movies and sitcoms. Sabrina was enormously successful; Hart filmed 160 episodes over seven seasons.

Hart took time off after Sabrina to start a family, but returned to television in 2009 to compete on the ninth season of ABC's reality-dance competition show Dancing with the Stars, partnering with two-time reigning champion Mark Ballas. Hart and Ballas were eliminated from the show in the sixth week.

In 2010, Hart returned to TV full-time, co-starring on the ABC Family sitcom Melissa & Joey alongside Joey Lawrence. She even tried her hand at directing an episode during the program's second season.

Outside of her TV work, Hart has been seen on stage in the off-Broadway production Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and has written a memoir, Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!