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Melissa Sue Anderson (born September 26, 1962) is a Daytime Emmy- winning actress best known for playing Mary Ingalls on the NBC television series Little House on the Prairie, which aired from 1974 until 1983. She has been most recently seen as First Lady Megan Hollister in the 2006 television mini-series 10.5: Apocalypse.


Anderson was born in Berkeley, Californiamarker. Her show business career began when a dance teacher urged her parents to find an agent for her. She began doing TV commercials, and soon the staggeringly beautiful, blond, blue-eyed girl was in demand for roles. One of those included that of Millicent, the girl who kissed Bobby and induced him to see fireworks on The Brady Bunch. At age eleven, she won her role in Little House on the Prairie ahead of hundreds of competitors. She left the series in 1982. She continued acting in television shows, such as The Equalizer, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Murder, She Wrote.

She has been described as mild mannered and unpretentious, similar to her Mary Ingalls character. Her first publicly known romance was with actor Lorenzo Lamas, with whom she made an appearance in the film 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., who at the time was more than twice her age. She says, "It was fun, but never really wild. That's just not me."

She won an Emmy Award for her performance in Which Mother Is Mine?, an ABC Afterschool Special (1979), and 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. In 1976, Michael Landon asked Anderson if she would appear in his auto-biographical film,The Loneliest Runner. Anderson agreed to play Nancy Rizzi, his first girlfriend, saying she was very thrilled to have been asked. She also secured a Spanish 'TP de Oro' Award for 'Best Foreign Actress' for Little House (1980). She was the associate producer for the next to last TV project Michael Landon made before dying: Where Pigeons Go to Die (1990).

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker. In 1998, she was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahomamarker.

With husband Michael Sloan, she has two children, daughter Piper (born May 1991) and son Griffin (born 1996).


She voiced the Serpent (Satan) in "The Creation", an episode of The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible.

In the later years of Little House On The Prairie Anderson cut her hair short and wore a brown wig made from Tibetan yak hair for the episodes after that.



Year Film Role Notes
1974 Little House on the Prairie Mary Ingalls TV movie
1976 The Loneliest Runner Nancy Rizzi TV movie
1977 James at 15 Lacey Stevens TV movie
1979 Survival of Dana Dana Lee TV movie
Skatetown, U.S.A. -
1981 Midnight Offerings Vivian Sotherland TV movie
Happy Birthday to Me Virginia 'Ginny' Wainwright Nominated for a Young Artist Award
1982 An Innocent Love Molly Rush TV movie
1983 First Affair Toby King TV movie
1984 Chattanooga Choo Choo Jennie
Goma-2 Kukki Uncredited
1986 Dark Mansions Noelle Drake
1988 Memories of Manon Yvette Marcel TV movie / As Melissa Anderson
The Suicide Club Laura Donovan on TV
Far North Young Nurse As Melissa Anderson
1989 The Return of Sam McCloud Colleen McCloud TV movie / As Melissa Anderson
1990 Forbidden Nights Marie Shapiro TV movie / As Melissa Anderson
Dead Men Don't Die Dulcie Niles As Melissa Anderson
1998 Earthquake in New York Dr. Marilyn Blake TV movie / As Melissa Anderson
2000 Thin Ice Tanya Ferguson TV movie
2006 10.5: Apocalypse First Lady Megan Hollister TV miniseries / As Melissa Anderson
Crazy Eights Hospital patient Uncredited
2007 Marco Polo Mother TV miniseries / Voice / Uncredited

TV series

Year Title Role Seasons Notes
1974–81 Little House on the Prairie Mary Ingalls 1–8 Nominated for an Emmy Award


External links

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