Melissa Ellen Gilbert (b. May 8, 1964) is an actress, writer, and producer who is best known for playing Charles Ingalls' (Michael Landon) second daughter, Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie. Her half brother, Jonathan Gilbert also played on the show as Willie Oleson, the son of Nels and Harriet Oleson.
After Little House, Gilbert played Gerda in the Faerie Tale Theater adaption of The Snow Queen. She also has done voice work for the roles of Clara in the Nutcracker Fantasy and Barbara Gordon in Batman: The Animated Series.
From 2001 to 2005, Melissa Gilbert was also the president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Melissa Gilbert was adopted as a new-born baby by Paul Gilbert and his wife, Barbara Crane. Her parents divorced when she was eight and her adoptive father died when she was 11. Gilbert made her first appearance at the age of 3 on a television commercial. A few years later she auditioned for Little House along with 500 other young actresses, and she got the role.