Melissa Francis join the Little home on the Prairie cast in 1981. She played Cassandra Cooper Ingalls, the younger, embraced daughter the Charles “Pa” Ingalls (Michael Landon) and also 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 photograph Bank/NBCUniversal

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

Melissa Francis had actually to ‘cry top top cue’ for she ‘Little house on the Prairie’ actors audition

Francis began acting as a young child. As soon as she was 6 months old, she appeared in a Johnson & Johnson commercial. In the 1980s, she likewise appeared in Mork & Mindy and a TV movie dubbed The Ghost of flight 401.


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After booking a few jobs, Francis auditioned because that Little home on the Prairie. The actor wrote in she memoir, Lessons from The Prarie, around the audition. She claimed that, at the time, the network wanted the Ingalls family members to have actually some new faces. Once Francis arrived, the first person she saw was Landon. She described the TV star as a “force” that “filled the room.” However, her fictional dad confirmed to it is in the easiest component of Francis’s audition. She had actually to “cry ~ above cue” in front of Landon and also the show’s executives throughout her tryout. 

“I dug in as Michael review the first few lines looking in ~ my challenge to watch what I can muster. Then ns hit the gas. Ns pictured my parents rolling turn off the next of a hill in their extended wagon as the wood smashed right into splinters, the canvas shredding come ribbons, death my ma and pa and a team of equines to boot,” Francis said of she audition.

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

Melissa Francis believed Jason Bateman was ‘dreamy’

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

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Little house on the Prairie was Bateman’s big break. As soon as he joined the cast, he and also Francis operated together very closely as on-screen siblings. In she book, Francis recalled having actually a crush on the actor. She infatuation with Bateman made her excited to movie scenes where they had actually to organize each rather hands. 

“Let me just take a minute to point out that I thought I had completely hit the jackpot,” Francis said of her co-star.

“Here’s this larger boy, v shiny red hair reduced in a straight line across his forehead and dreamy freckles. We did every scene together,” she continued. “And he was practically always required to hold my hand! and occasionally hug me! Who necessary a pony? This was method better!”

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

Francis only appeared on tiny House top top the Prairie for 2 seasons. As soon as she left the present in 1982, she action in numerous films, consisting of Man, Woman, Child, and Bad Dreams. However, the acting avenues dried up when Francis came to be a teenager. Eventually, she quit acting for great and to visit Harvard University. In 1995, Francis earned her Bachelor’s level in Economics.


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

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According to Variety, Francis’s position at Fox adjusted in October 2020. She stopped appearing on she shows. Prior to her absence, she approached the company in 2020 v “claims of pay disparity based on gender discrimination.” although she hasn’t been on camera, Francis is still an employee that Fox News Media.