Melissa Gilbert

On May 8, 1964, Melissa Ellen Gilbert was born in Los Angeles, California. Adopted when she was only one day old, she was an irrepressible light of energy since infancy, getting her start in show business by walking uninvited on stage and stealing the show from one of her parent's productions with her singing and acting, blowing kisses at the audience that she wasn't afraid of, assuming a star position even before her fifth birthday.
Her parents, concerned and cautious, did not want to stop Melissa's opportunities to share her talent with the world. Her mother let her go out on auditions for commercials only, as a bonus for her and her brother, Jonathan (who would later play nemesis Willy Oleson on Little House on the Prairie). The two were allowed to go out on auditions for commercials as an extra as long as they behaved and kept their schoolwork up.
That kind of down-to-earth approach to show business seems to have stayed with Melissa to this day. Her father, who died when she was only eleven, was also helpful in her young career. He advised her when she lost a part on "Miracle on 34th Street," that something better would come along. True to his words of fate, she landed the role of a lifetime of Laura Ingalls within two weeks. As it turned out, although she missed that role of a Natalie Wood remake, she would later get the much meatier role of Deenie in a remake of "Splendor In The Grass," which was Natalie Wood's most loved movie.
The first time she learned she had gotten the part of Laura Ingalls happened when she was in her school cafeteria. Leslie Landon (Michael Landon's daughter) broke the news, and Melissa jumped up screaming in excitement. She never let that enthusiasm for her role go. When many child stars become angry at being trapped inside a stereotype, Melissa embraced the way people saw her and changed it through good performances, never being locked into one particular type of role. She has played it all.
As she grew up right along with Laura Ingalls, she maintained a somewhat normal life, grounded by the support of people on Little House history by being the youngest person to get a Hollywood star, being the most successful television actress of her time, and touching the hearts of millions, a pattern which continues to this day.
As Little House wound down its run, Laura eased into many other roles, gaining acclaim as someone who could do material as varied from Laura as she could get. She experienced her 'college years' hanging out with the so-called Brat Pack that included her When she moved to Manhattan to strike out on her own in the 1980s, she met and fell in love with Bo Brinkman. They were married within eight weeks of knowing each other. They had a son, Dakota, but divorced after only a few years of marriage. The two remain friends for the sake of their son.
Melissa is now married to Bruce Boxleitner, they have a son named Michael Garrett (after both Michael Landon and a friend's son that died). They have a happy life, and a blended family that is happy and loving. With her happiest times being the down time with her husband and kids, one can't help but admire that Melissa is not lost in the limelight of Hollywood.

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