While Melissa was growing up, her father called her "Missy-do" and "Wissy-do". She made a point of making sure that nobody else ever called her that, because she thought they were "the stupidest nicknames on the planet".
While she was growing up, Melissa had a pin-up of film star Bruce Boxleitner hanging in her locker at school, and she eventually ended up marrying him. She has joked that she's one of the very few girls in the world who actually married the picture in her locker.
Whenever Melissa reads a memoir about someone else's life, she always reads the "Acknowledgments" section first. She feels that it helps her get to know the author better.
While playing Helen Keller in a remake of The Miracle Worker, Melissa had only one speaking line in the whole production, which was simply "water". She struggled to decide how to deliver the line, and no matter how many times she tried, she didn't feel that it sounded authentic for a pre-adolescent deaf and blind girl who hadn't uttered a word since toddlerhood. Co-star Patty Duke finally told her that while she was saying the word, she should pretend that she was sitting on the toilet constipated, and Melissa says it worked like a charm.
Melissa attended the wedding of longtime friend Leslie Landon, daughter of Little House on the Prairie co-star and director Michael Landon. While at the wedding, Michael told Melissa something he had never told her before. He admitted that her audition tape was the only one that he showed to the network during the casting process for the role of Laura Ingalls. He knew she was perfect for the part, and he didn't want anyone else to even be considered for it.
Melissa found out she got the part of Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie from Michael Landon's daughter Leslie Landon, while standing in the lunch line at school. Melissa's agents hadn't even been told yet, and she was so excited, she started screaming and ran to the nearest pay phone to call her mother. Leslie ended up getting grounded for disclosing the information.
Melissa Gilbert beat out 500 child actors for the part of Laura Ingalls on Little House On The Prairie. Melissa's screen test was the only one submitted by Michael Landon to NBC Studios for consideration. Other actresses who tried out for the role of Half Pint and were passed over were, Melissa Sue Anderson, Alison Arngrim, and Tracie Savage.
Melissa Gilbert is in the process of writing her autobiography due to be published in the spring of 2009.
Melissa Gilbert says "I am writing this book to share the story of my life. Simply put, I have been very blessed but I have also been through difficult struggles and painful tragedies. My hope is that people with similar life experiences will find comfort in my story by realizing they are not alone."
According to Alison Arngrim and Lucy Lee Flippin, Melissa Gilbert has a photographic memory. She used to memorize everybody's lines and can remember every single episode, episode number, shoot date, original air date, who directed and who guest starred on LHOTP!
While starring in an NBC movie of the week, Melissa appeared in a The More You Know public service announcement. Her topic was child abuse.
Gilbert keeps in regular contact with Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson on Little House. The two remain good friends.
Is known to be an animal lover with many pets; two dogs, three cats, three birds, one rabbit, and one hamster.
Melissa and current husband Bruce Boxleitner were sued in 1999, when the buyers of the house they sold, claimed it was infested with rats and flies.
Melissa Gilbert sued the 'National Enquirer' in 1996 after they printed an interview quoting her ex-husband Bo Brinkman, claiming she was "a deadbeat mother".
Melissa has recently become involved with the Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition.
This organizations aim is to assist terminally ill children maintain their dignity and peace in a loving environment.
In December 2002, The Hollywood Reporter rated Hollywood's Top 100 Powerful Women. Melissa Gilbert, (President of the Screen Actors Guild of America) was ranked 89.
(The criteria for the Power 100 include each woman's position within her company, her force of personality and how much money she controls).
It has been reported that she was paid $75,000 per week for Little House on the Prairie.
In VH1's 100 Greatest Kid Star, Melissa Gilbert is ranked 31.
It was Kathryn Holcomb the ex-wife of Bruce Boxleitner who introduced Melissa and Bruce.
On the 21st of July, 2005 after serving two consecutive terms as President of the Screen Actors Guild, Melissa Gilbert offically announced she would not run for a third term.
November 2001 saw Melissa Gilbert become the third female President of the Screen Actors Guild.
Her Grandfather Harry Crane was a comedy writer for The Honeymooners.
Melissa made her first TV appearance at the tender age of three, in a television commercial.
Both her ex-spouse (Bo Brinkman) and current spouse (Bruce Boxleitner) played Confederate officers in Gods and Generals.
Melissa Gilbert was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Juvenile Actress in a TV Series or Special in Little House on the Prairie in 1980.
She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (USA) for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Drama in Little House on the Prairie in 1981.
Melissa Gilbert won a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Drama Series in Little House on the Prairie (this was tied with Jill Whelan for The Love Boat in 1977) in 1983.
Melissa Gilbert won a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Drama Series in Little House on the Prairie in 1984.
Melissa Gilbert: Thank God I have four sons. The mother/daughter relationship is one of mankind's great mysteries, and for womankind, it can be hellaciously complicated. My mother and I are quintessential examples of the rewards and frustrations, and the joys and infuriations it can yield.
Melissa: (about being in an airport as a child and meeting a fan) "Oh, gosh, my daughter loves you," she said. "Can I get your autograph?" I struggled to hold my sister, who was trying to wiggle out of my grasp. "I'm sorry, I can't right now," I said, wincing. "Oh, what a little brat you are," she hissed. She walked away, leaving me shattered...my first unprotected brush with my own celebrity. Later, I realized that everyone else in the airport had been able to behave in whatever way they felt like at the moment, including that woman who was so insensitive, or just oblivious, and downright mean, I had to be perfect, smiley, kind, and polite, or else I was a little brat. That's a hell of a message to give to someone who already stuffed her feelings away.
Melissa Gilbert: (about "Little House") Not a day goes by that I don't think about it and burst into tears. It's like stepping through a looking glass. There's a part of me that's always going to be Laura. I think every girl has a Laura in them.
Melissa Gilbert: (about filming "Little House on the Prairie") I was living in the 1800's every day, and that was just so much fun. We had real fires, and fire pits, and Indians, and everything was just such a remarkable adventure for me. I felt like I was at camp every day! I went in and put on these really cool, absolutely authentic clothes and laced up my boots. For a 9-year-old girl--and I had read the books--there was nothing cooler. I did not have to imagine what it might be like to be this person, in this world, at this time, going through whatever she was going through, like I have to do now. Without question, I was Laura, and Laura was me.
Melissa Gilbert: (about "Little House") It was my life. It wasn't a show. That was my childhood, for everyone to see. And every single experience that Laura was having, I was absolutely having it, as well.
Melissa Gilbert: We take pride in each other - we were meant to be together.
Melissa Gilbert: My whole life, my mother told me I would have SAG to fall back on. When I see a woman in her mid-40s or mid-50s working, I know it makes things better for me.
Melissa Gilbert: For months you've referred to me as your hero, But it's easy to be brave when I have you to come home to, and hide behind, and hold on to. I wish you the happiest birthday ever... . Let's eat!
Melissa Gilbert: Doesn't like small talk, love rainy days.