Melissa Sue Anderson

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Melissa Sue Anderson
1974 Melissa Sue Anderson Little House on the Prairie.jpg
Anderson as Mary Ingalls in
Little House on the Prairie, 1974
Born(1962-09-26) September 26, 1962 (age 52)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Years active1972–present
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Melissa Sue Anderson
1974 Melissa Sue Anderson Little House on the Prairie.jpg
Anderson as Mary Ingalls in
Little House on the Prairie, 1974
Born(1962-09-26) September 26, 1962 (age 52)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Years active1972–present

Melissa Sue Anderson (born September 26, 1962) 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.



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. Having originally auditioned for the role of Laura Ingalls, 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.


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, 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 was born in Berkeley, California. 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]



1972BewitchedGirlEpisode: "Tabitha's First Day of School"
1973Brady Bunch, TheThe Brady BunchMillicentEpisode: "Never Too Young"
1973ShaftCathy (uncredited)Episode: "The Enforcers"
1974–81Little House on the PrairieMary Ingalls163 episodes
1976Loneliest Runner, TheThe Loneliest RunnerNancy Rizzi
1977James at 15Lacey StevensEpisode: "Pilot"
1977ABC Afterschool SpecialKateEpisode: "Very Good Friends"
1978Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour, TheThe Hanna-Barbera Happy HourDirector of the musical1 episode
Love Boat, TheThe Love BoatJennifer 'Chubs' Smith / Cindy Jerome / Cathy Cummings / Dana Colton4 episodes
1979Survival of DanaDana Lee Gilbert
1979ABC Afterschool SpecialAlexandria 'Alex' BentonEpisode: "Which Mother Is Mine?"
1979New Kind of Family, AA New Kind of FamilyLisaEpisode: "The Overcharge"
1979Little House YearsMary Ingalls
1979CHiPsHerselfEpisode: "Roller Disco" (Part 2)
1980Fantasy IslandAmy MarsonEpisode: "Rogues to Riches/Stark Terror"
1980InsightMary BethEpisode: "Princess"
1981Midnight OfferingsVivian Sotherland
1981Advice to the LovelornMaureen Tyler
1982Innocent Love, AnAn Innocent LoveMolly Rush
1982/83Spider-Man and His Amazing FriendsKatherine 'Kitty' Pryde / Spryte (voice)Episodes: "The Origin of Iceman", "The X-Men Adventure"
1983First AffairToby King
1984Finder of Lost LovesNikki GatosEpisode: "Pilot"
1984Murder, She WroteEve CrystalEpisode: "Hooray for Homicide"
1984GlitterElizabethEpisode: "A Minor Miracle"
1984/85HotelCassie Ray / Anne GoldmanEpisodes: "Lifelines", "Imperfect Union"
1986Dark MansionsNoelle Drake
1987–88Equalizer, TheThe EqualizerYvette Marcel4 episodes
1988/89New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, TheThe New Alfred Hitchcock PresentsLaura Donovan / Julie FentonEpisodes: "VCR - Very Careful Rape", "Murder in Mind"
1989Memories of ManonYvette Marcel
1989Return of Sam McCloud, TheThe Return of Sam McCloudColleen McCloud
1993/94X-MenSnowbird (voice)Episodes: "Repo Man", "Phoenix Saga, Part 5: Child of Light"
1994Burke's LawMichelle RyderEpisode: "Who Killed Alexander the Great?"
1998Earthquake in New YorkDr. Marilyn Blake
1999PartnersCheryl Darrin3 episodes
2000Thin IceTanya Ferguson
200610.5: ApocalypseFirst Lady Megan Hollister
2007Marco PoloMother (voice, uncredited)


1981Happy Birthday to MeVirginia Wainwright
1984Goma-2Kukki (uncredited)
1984Chattanooga Choo ChooJennie
1988Suicide Club, TheThe Suicide ClubLaura Donovan on TV
1988Far NorthYoung Nurse
1989Looking Your Best
1990Dead Men Don't DieDulcie Niles
1994Animated Stories from the Bible: Music Video – Volume 1Snake (voice)Video
1995Killer LadyAmerican Lady
2006Crazy EightsHospital Patient (uncredited)
2010Marker 187Short film


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