Melissa Ellen Gilbert (born May 8, 1964) is an American actress, television director, producer, politician and former president of the Screen Actors Guild. Melissa Gilbert was given up for adoption as soon as she was born, and adopted by actors Barbara Crane and Paul Gilbert. Gilbert began her career as a child actress in the late 1960s, appearing in numerous commercials and guest starring roles on television. From 1974 to 1984, she starred as Laura Ingalls Wilder, the second oldest daughter of Charles Ingalls (played by Michael Landon) on the NBC series Little House on the Prairie. During the run of Little House, In 2009, her autobiography Prairie Tale: A Memoir, was released. In 2014, she wrote a short story for children, called Daisy and Josephine as well as My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours.