Melissa Francis joined the Little house on the Prairie cast in 1981. She play Cassandra Cooper Ingalls, the younger, embraced daughter that Charles “Pa” Ingalls (Michael Landon) and also Caroline “Ma” Ingalls (Karen Grassle).

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ason Bateman together James Cooper Ingalls, Michael Landon as Charles Philip Ingalls, Melissa Francis as Cassandra Cooper| NBCU picture Bank/NBCUniversal

During her time top top the show, the journalist additionally worked with Jason Bateman. The NBC collection was the Ozark star’s large break.

Melissa Francis had to ‘cry ~ above cue’ for she ‘Little residence on the Prairie’ actors audition

Francis started acting together a young child. When she was six months old, she appeared in a Johnson & Johnson commercial. In the 1980s, she also appeared in Mork & Mindy and also a TV movie dubbed The Ghost of trip 401.


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After booking a few jobs, Francis auditioned because that Little residence on the Prairie. The actor wrote in she memoir, Lessons native The Prarie, about the audition. She stated that, in ~ the time, the network want the Ingalls family members to have some new faces. Once Francis arrived, the very first person she observed was Landon. She described the TV star as a “force” that “filled the room.” However, her fictional dad proved to be the easiest component of Francis’s audition. She had to “cry top top cue” in former of Landon and also the show’s executives throughout her tryout. 

“I dug in as Michael review the first couple of lines looking at my challenge to see what I can muster. Then ns hit the gas. I pictured my parental rolling off the side of a hill in their spanned wagon together the timber smashed right into splinters, the canvas shredding come ribbons, killing my ma and pa and also a team of horses to boot,” Francis claimed of she audition.

Fortunately, the boy actor landing the component of Cassandra. However, the wasn’t till shooting started that she met her on-screen brother, Bateman.

Melissa Francis assumed Jason Bateman was ‘dreamy’

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Jason Bateman as James Cooper Ingalls, Melissa Francis together Cassandra Cooper Ingalls |NBCU photograph Bank/NBCUniversal

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Little home on the Prairie was Bateman’s large break. As soon as he join the cast, he and Francis operated together closely as on-screen siblings. In she book, Francis recalled having actually a like on the actor. Her infatuation with Bateman made her excited to film scenes whereby they had to organize each rather hands. 

“Let me just take a minute to cite that I believed I had fully hit the jackpot,” Francis claimed of she co-star.

“Here’s this larger boy, with shiny red hair reduced in a straight line throughout his forehead and dreamy freckles. Us did every scene together,” she continued. “And the was almost always compelled to hold my hand! and also occasionally hug me! Who necessary a pony? This was way better!”

Melissa Francis’ life ~ ‘Little house on the Prairie’

Francis only appeared on tiny House ~ above the Prairie for 2 seasons. When she left the present in 1982, she action in numerous films, including Man, Woman, Child, and Bad Dreams. However, the acting methods dried up as soon as Francis became a teenager. Eventually, she quit acting for great and attended Harvard University. In 1995, Francis earned she Bachelor’s degree in Economics.


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After college, she started working in transfer journalism. In 2012, she booked a spot on Fox organization Network. Throughout her time in ~ Fox, Francis co-anchored Outnumbered and was an anchor ~ above the network’s afternoon show, After The Bell.

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According come Variety, Francis’s place at Fox changed in October 2020. She stopped appearing on she shows. Before her absence, she approached the company in 2020 through “claims of salary disparity based on gender discrimination.” although she hasn’t been on camera, Francis is still an employee that Fox News Media.