Award Winning Actress, Producer and Bestselling Author Presents the Keynote Address Sunday at 2:00
At the age of two, Melissa Gilbert made her on-air debut modeling baby clothes and continued with over 32 television commercials until 1973, when the nine-year-old joined the cast of “Little House on the Prairie,” continuing with the number one rated series for 10 years.
Over the years, Gilbert has continued to bring powerful stories to the small screen, starting at age fourteen with the Emmy award-winning “The Miracle Worker,”, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Splendor in the Grass,” “Family Secrets” and “Choices of the Heart”. Melissa recently appeared on Broadway in the acclaimed "My Brilliant Divorce" and also starred in the production of “A Shayna Maidel,” earning an Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Debuting Actress as well as “The Miracle Worker,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “Bus Stop” and “Love Letters” .
Having fully outgrown the “Half-Pint” image of her “Little House” youth, Melissa has proven herself a successful adult actress and director. She made her directorial debut with the critically acclaimed ABC special “Me and My Hormones,” and teamed up to produce the highly rated A & E documentary “Child Stars: Their Story,” which gave an insider’s look at the privileges and pain of child stardom. Melissa’s legacy came full circle when she starred as Ma in the national tour of “Little House on the Prairie the Musical.”
Melissa shared her story of growing up in front of the cameras, dealing with a complicated family, overcoming addictions, and how she finally learned to move on in her New York Time’s bestselling memoir, Prairie Tale.
In addition to her acting, directing and writing career, Gilbert served two terms as the President of Screen Actors Guild and has was one of Hollywood Reporter’s “Women of the Year” for three consecutive years, and most recently honored with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Melissa was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, becoming the youngest recipient of such an honor.
An avid philanthropist, Melissa is the President of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Hospice and palliative Care Coalition, and recently became the first-ever national spokesperson for The Partnership at Drugfree.org. Through her work with the Children’s Hospice, Melissa has dedicated her life to ensuring that all chronically and terminally ill children get to live and die with the gentleness, dignity and grace they deserve. As a devoted mother to her children and having had her own struggles with sobriety, Melissa’s work with Drugfree.org allows her to provide parents with help and resources to prevent intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol use by their children.
Don't Miss Melissa Gilbert Present the Keynote Address on Sunday at 2:00