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Melissa Francis

Melissa Francis

Former child actress, television business news anchor and journalist
Melissa Francis
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Former child actress, television business news anchor and journalist
A.K.A. Missy Francis, Melissa Ann Francis
Is Actor Journalist Television actor
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Journalism
Gender female
Birth 12 December 1972, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.A.
Age 48 years
Star sign Sagittarius
The details


Melissa Ann Francis (born December 12, 1972) is an American actress and current television journalist for the Fox Business Network (FBN) and Fox News Channel (FNC).

After beginning her national journalism career at CNBC, she moved to FBN in 2012 and is currently the co-host of After The Bell weekday afternoons with David Asman. She is also a periodic anchor of FNC's America's News HQ newscasts, and a semi-regular panelist on FNC's afternoon talk show Outnumbered.


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Francis graduated from Harvard University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and served as executive editor of The Harvard College Economist magazine. She was also the captain of the Harvard Polo Team.



Francis started her acting career on television before her first birthday, first appearing in a Johnson & Johnson shampoo commercial at 6 months of age. She was known for her role as Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, for two seasons. Other television appearances include two series regular roles: Morningstar/Eveningstar and Joe’s World, and three films including Man, Woman and Child, where she played Paula Beckwith. She has also had appearances in the television series St. Elsewhere in 1986 and the 1988 film Bad Dreams, where she played young Cynthia. Melissa appeared in nearly 100 commercials during her acting career. She is reportedly the inspiration for the fictional character Avery Jessup (conceived of and played by Elizabeth Banks) in the show 30 Rock, although Banks herself has denied this.

Television journalist

In January 2012, Francis became a financial news reporter and anchor for Fox Business Network.

Previously, she was a financial news reporter and anchor for CNBC. She originally provided live hourly reports from the New York Mercantile Exchange on trading in crude oil futures contracts.

Prior to CNBC, Francis was a correspondent for CNET's broadcast unit, where she covered finance, technology and consumer products.

In 2014, Francis became a recurring co-host of Fox News Channel's talk and news commentary program, Outnumbered. In addition, she also periodically anchors FNC's America's News Headquarters newscasts


Francis authored a book in November 2012, Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter: A Memoir, concerning the trials, tribulations and joys of having an overbearing mother; and in April 2017, published Lessons from the Prairie, relating childhood experiences from the show as applied to her adult life.

She has also written two vampire novels aimed at teens, Bite me! and its sequel, Love Sucks!



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Scavenger Hunt Jennifer Motley
1983 Man, Woman and Child Paula Beckwith
1988 Bad Dreams Young Cynthia
2009 Race to Witch Mountain TV reporter Uncredited
2012 Dictator, TheThe Dictator Local News Reporter


Year Title Role Notes
1974 Ghost of Flight 401, TheThe Ghost of Flight 401 Kid TV film
1979 Champions: A Love Story Sally TV film
1979 Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love Thea TV film
1979–80 Joe's World Linda Wabash Main role (11 episodes)
1980 Mork & Mindy Little Mindy Episode: "A Mommy for Mindy"
1980 Galactica 1980 Little Girl Episode: "Galactica Discovers Earth Part II And III"
1980 When the Whistle Blows Deenie Episode: "Love Is a Four-Letter Word"
1981 Midnight Lace Cathy, age 11 TV film
1981 Gun in the House, AA Gun in the House Diana Cates TV film
1981–82 Little House on the Prairie Cassandra Cooper Ingalls Main role (21 episodes)
1984 Something About Amelia Beth Bennett TV film
1985 Hotel Jodi Abbott Episode: "Rallying Cry"
1985 CBS Schoolbreak Special Tina Episode: "The War Between the Classes"
1986 St. Elsewhere Cynthia Episode: "Family Affair"
1986 Morningstar/Eveningstar Sarah Bishop Main role (7 episodes)
1988 Year in the Life, AA Year in the Life Eunice Episode: "Common Ground"
1989 ALF Miss Williams Episode: "Baby, Come Back"
1990 Hardball Episode: "A Death in the Family"
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