Meet ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Sue Anderson’s Lookalike Daughter Piper

Melissa Sue Anderson, better known for her childhood role as Mary Ingalls on the NBC drama series "Little House on the Prairie," is now the proud mother of two grown-up children.

Her daughter, Piper Sloan, has become a beautiful lady with a knack for helping others.

Melissa Sue Anderson appears on NBC News' "Today" show in 2010 | Photo: GettyImages

Melissa Sue Anderson appears on NBC News' "Today" show in 2010 | Photo: GettyImages

An Emmy Award-nominated child star

Melissa Anderson was only 7 when she moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles with her parents and her sister Maureen.

As a child, Anderson was a talented and passionate dancer. When her dance instructor saw her potential, she advised little Melissa’s parents to hire an agent and get her into showbiz.

It didn’t take long for Melissa to make her debut on television in commercials for brands like Sears and Mattel, and soon after, she started to get bit parts on TV series like “Bewitched,” “The Brady Bunch” and “Shaft.”

 Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls on the television series "Little House on the Prairie" | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls on the television series "Little House on the Prairie" | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

She was 11 when Michael Landon cast her as Mary Ingalls, the eldest sister of Laura and Carrie, on “Little House of the Prairie.”

Anderson was the only member of the cast to receive an Emmy nomination for her performance, becoming the youngest person to be nominated in the Leading Actress category at the time.

It was the actress’s performance as a blind person—when Mary lost her sight in the show’s fourth season—that captured the fans and critics’ hearts.

Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie" | Photo: GettyImages

Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie" | Photo: GettyImages

Anderson recalled on her preparation for the challenge:

“I went to the Foundation for the Junior Blind, for specific instructions on how a young person adjusts to recent blindness."

She added that, since it was the first time on TV history that a regular character went blind and didn’t get their sight back, the challenge was even bigger and exciting.

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, Sydney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls, Melisssa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie"  | Photo: GettyImages

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls, Sydney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls, Melisssa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie" | Photo: GettyImages

An ambitious actress

However, Mary’s blindness soon came in the way of her character development in the series, and Melissa was not happy about it.

“As far as what Mary could do, my character became limited because she couldn’t see,” Anderson told Albany Daily News. Ultimately, that was the reason why she decided not to stay with the show.

Anderson run with Mary Ingalls came to an end in 1981, when she appeared on the last two episodes of the show’s eighth season.

While filming Prairie, Anderson had taken other jobs to build a strong resume. She appeared in the series “The Love Boat,” “CHiPs,” and “Fantasy Island,” and was personally cast by Michael Landon as Nancy Rizzi in his 1976 autobiographical film, “The Loneliest Runner.”

In 1979, she won an Emmy Award for her performance on the “Which Mother is Mine?” episode of ABC Afterschool Special, and also starred on “Survival of Dana.”

Talking to People magazine in 1981, Melissa described herself as “calculating, self-sufficient, and reserved,” adding that she had asked her agent to get her more serious roles, as she recalled:

“I told him no teen roles, no posters. I don’t want what Shaun Cassidy gets. I am a serious actress. I’ve already played a 22-year-old. Why go backward?”

Life after Prairie

Through the ‘80s, Anderson appeared in TV series like “The Equalizer,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and “Murder, She Wrote,” and films like “Happy Birthday to Me” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

She married writer and producer Michael Sloan in March 1990 and went on to have two kids: son Griffin and daughter Piper.

After that, Anderson disappeared from the spotlight to raise her kids away from showbiz.

The family moved to Montreal in 2002 and became naturalized Canadian citizens.

Meet Piper Sloan

Piper Sloan Harmon is the 28-year-old look-alike daughter of Melissa.

She married Jeb Harmon in 2016, and they don’t have children yet.

Piper, a graduate from the American University with a Master of Arts in International Communication from the same university, seems to have a calling for helping others and helping raise awareness about causes close to her heart.

She worked for with Save the Children for a year and is now a Senior Manager at the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

Piper has helped raise money for different causes and leads a private life away from the cameras, just like her mom has been doing for the past years.

Melissa’s last TV appearance was in the 2018 film “The Con is On.”  

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