Mel Harris, born Mary Ellen Harris on July 12, 1956 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is an American television, film, and stage actress. She is the daughter of Mary Michael "Mike" Harris, a high school science teacher, and Warren Harris, a university football coach. The nickname 'Mel' came from her sister's pronunciation of 'Mary Ellen' when she was very young, and the nickname stuck. Harris grew up in North Brunswick, New Jersey and was voted "Most School Spirit" by New Brunswick High School's Class of 1974.
Before finding success as an actress, Harris appeared as a contestant on two incarnations of the game show Pyramid in 1979 and in 1985, both hosted by Dick Clark. She later appeared as a celebrity during the third week of The $100,000 Pyramid hosted by John Davidson in 1991.
Harris is perhaps best known for her role as the winsome and whiny Hope Murdoch Steadman on the popular 1980s television show thirtysomething that ran from 1987-91. Later, she co-starred with Jere Burns on the TV sitcom Something So Right from 1996-98. Harris had a recurring role as Oma Desala on Stargate SG-1 from 2002-05, and a regular role as Sylvia Capshaw on the MyNetworkTV telenovela Saints & Sinners in 2007.
Harris had a starring role in the 1988 horror film Cameron's Closet. In 1989, Harper's Bazaar named her one of "American's 10 Most Beautiful Women." That same year she appeared in the Jim Belushi opus K-9. In addtion, she has appeared in a number of other television programs, mini-series, and telefilms.
In her personal life, Harris has been married five times: to David Silbergeld (1978-79), to Brian Kilcommons (1980-82), to Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly (1983-88), to actor Cotter Smith (1988-96), and to investment banker Michael Toomey (2001-06). She has two children: Byron Kennerly, born in 1984, during her third marriage, and Madeline Michael Smith, born in 1990, during her fourth marriage.