12 Things You Didn’t Know About Melissa Joan Hart

  
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10. Early Life

Melissa Joan Hart was born on April 18, 1976, to Paula and William Hart in Smithtown, New York. Her mother was a producer and talent manager while her father worked as a carpenter, shellfish purveyor, and oyster hatchery worker. Melissa was the eldest child of five that her parents had together: Trisha, Elizabeth, Brian, and Emily. In the early ’90s, her parents divorced and she and her siblings moved with their mother to New York City where her mother married television executive Leslie Gilliams. From that relationship, Hart has three half-sisters Alexandra, Samantha, and Mackenzie. After entering the entertainment industry at a young age, Hart didn’t have a conventional education, often working with tutors on-set, but in 1995 she enrolled in New York University; however, she never finished her degree because she earned the lead role in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch in 1996.

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9. Becoming an Actress

Hart’s on-screen career began at just the age of four when she was cast in a television commercial for a bathtub toy called Splashy. She was quickly cast in additional commercials and appeared in 25 before the time she turned five. Despite her continued success, she never knew her first commercial for Splashy’s didn’t actually go so well. Her mother ended up never telling her young daughter that only Hart’s hands were used in the final cut while a different little girl was used for any facial shots. Until she found out, Hart would tell all interviewers and potential employers about her big commercial break at such a young age. By nine years old she began landing small roles on TV but her big break came at the age of 14 when she landed the starring role in Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All which went on for four seasons.

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