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

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

During she time on the show, the journalist also worked v Jason Bateman. The NBC collection was the Ozark star’s huge break.

Melissa Francis had actually to ‘cry ~ above cue’ for her ‘Little house on the Prairie’ actors audition

Francis started acting as a young child. As soon as she was six months old, she appeared in a Johnson & Johnson commercial. In the 1980s, she additionally appeared in Mork & Mindy and a TV movie referred to as The Ghost of flight 401.


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After booking a couple of jobs, Francis auditioned because that Little residence on the Prairie. The actor composed in her memoir, Lessons indigenous The Prarie, about the audition. She claimed that, at the time, the network want the Ingalls household to have actually some fresh faces. As soon as Francis arrived, the first person she saw was Landon. She defined the TV star together a “force” who “filled the room.” However, her fictitious 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 together Michael review the first couple of lines looking at my face to check out what I can muster. Then ns hit the gas. I pictured my parental rolling turn off the side of a hill in their extended wagon together the lumber smashed into splinters, the canvas shredding come ribbons, killing my ma and also pa and also a team of equines to boot,” Francis said of her audition.

Fortunately, the kid actor landed the component of Cassandra. However, it wasn’t until shooting started that she met her on-screen brother, Bateman.

Melissa Francis believed Jason Bateman to be ‘dreamy’

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

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Little house on the Prairie was Bateman’s huge break. As soon as he joined the cast, he and also Francis worked together carefully as on-screen siblings. In her book, Francis recalled having actually a to like on the actor. Her infatuation with Bateman made she excited to movie scenes where they had to hold each rather hands. 

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

“Here’s this larger boy, with shiny red hair reduced in a directly line across his forehead and dreamy freckles. We did every step together,” she continued. “And he was nearly always forced to organize my hand! and occasionally hug me! Who needed a pony? This was method better!”

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

Francis only appeared on tiny House on the Prairie for two seasons. Once she left the display in 1982, she action in several films, consisting of Man, Woman, Child, and Bad Dreams. However, the acting opportunities dried up when Francis became a teenager. Eventually, she quit acting for an excellent and attend Harvard University. In 1995, Francis earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics.


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After college, she started working in transfer journalism. In 2012, she booked a point out on Fox service Network. During her time at Fox, Francis co-anchored Outnumbered and was an anchor top top the network’s afternoon show, After The Bell.

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According come Variety, Francis’s position at Fox adjusted in October 2020. She stopped showing up on she shows. Before her absence, she approached the company in 2020 v “claims of salary disparity based upon gender discrimination.” back she hasn’t been on camera, Francis is quiet an employee the Fox News Media.