Melissa Gilbert Net Worth

How much is Melissa Gilbert worth?

Net Worth:$3 Million
Profession:Professional Actress
Date of Birth:May 8, 1964 (age 58)
Country:United States of America
5 ft 2 in (1.6 m)

About Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Ellen Gilbert is an American film and television actress, director, and producer who began her career as a child actress in the 1960s. She has appeared in various commercials and television series, with the most notable being the NBC series Little House on the Prairie. As well as the films The Miracle Worker and Anne Frank’s Diary. In the early 2000s, Melissa served as the president of the Screen Actor Guilds.

She was born in Los Angeles, California to David Darlington and Kathy Wood. She was given to adoption immediately after her birth and was adopted just a day later by Paul Gilbert and Barbara Crane. Paul was an actor and comedian that had major roles in the likes of So This Is Paris, Sylvia, and Cat Ballou. Melissa was sent to The Buckley School and earned her diploma in 1982.

American actress, television director, producer and politician Melissa Gilbert has an estimated net worth of $3 million dollars, as of 2023. Gilbert began her career as a child actress in the late 1960s, appearing in numerous commercials and guest starring roles on television.

She began her career as a child actress appearing in numerous commercials for both foods and children’s clothes. In 1967, she landed her very first role on the big screen in the film The Reluctant Astronaut. One year later, she made her television debut in The Dean Martin Comedy Hour as one of the girls on Santa’s lap. After failing to secure a role on another project, she finally won the auditions for roles in Gunsmoke, Emergence, and Tenafly in the early 1790s.

In 1974, she began working on the above-mentioned show, playing the main character of Laura Ingalls. She remained on the show for its entirety, from September 1974 to March 1983, and was able to appear in all of its 9 seasons and 204 episodes.

After gaining some momentum with her role in the NBC hit series, Melissa landed a few leading roles in major television films that further boosted her wealth and popularity. Among some of the most memorable are The Heart’s Choices, and The Miracle Workers.

Before and after the Little House on the Prairie had ended, NBC revealed that several television films will be produced to follow up the show. She went on to reprise her role of Laura Ingalls in all four of them – Little House Years, Look Back to Yesterday, The Last Farewell, and Bless All Children.

In 2001, the film and television actress began serving as the president of the prestigious Screen Actors Guild, however, that didn’t stop her from working as a full-time actress. Among some of her most memorable and leading roles on television film and series are in Stand By Your Men, Batman: The Animations, Sweet Justice, and Lies and Secrets.

Over the past three decades, besides praise for her incredible work and performances, she has also received many awards and nominations for the likes of Primetime Emmys, Golden Globes, and Young Artist Awards.

Her directing debut came in the late 1990s on an ABC Afterschool Special named Me and My Hormones. A few years later, she directed the documentary Child Stars and Their Stories. As a producer, Gilbert has been in charge of the creation of the short and television movies One Smart Fellow, Tenure, and Guest Artists.

Gilbert’s Total Net Worth

Her first major role on television was Little House on the Prairie when she was just 10 years old. It earned her $75,000 per week in the mid-1970s and she is still working today. Outside of her 80 acting credits, she has also more recently been producing. Including producing the 2019 film, Guest Artist. While she has worked steadily over the last 55 years (1967-2022) she has not been a very mainstream actress since the mid-80s, despite seeing rejuvenation in her career in the mid-90s.

If the reported salaries for Gilbert are accurate, it puts her lifetime career earnings at around $10 million dollars. She earned $7 million for her role and association with Little House on the Prairie alone.

Over the years that she has been active, tax rates have changed dramatically. While she was appearing in Little House on the Prairie her $75,000 per week salary would have been taxed at as high as 70% federally, not including her state tax. Over the years, Melissa Gilbert will have been taxed at around 65% of her earnings. That means, after deducting her business costs, her $10 million, became $8.5 million and, after tax, it became $2.97 million!

So when people are wondering why Melissa Gilbert doesn’t have hardly any money, partly it is because she was not very rich in the first place. Not when inflation begins to set in, anyway. While not much is known about what Gilbert did do with the money that she earned, what is known is that in 2013 she reportedly owed $112,000 in federal income taxes.

Not to be uncouth, but had she invested $1 million dollars of her earnings from Little House on the Prairie into the American stock market and held on to it while reinvesting all of the proceeds, including dividends, she could have realized investment returns of some $60 million. The S&P500 which includes the top companies in America, have made those returns between 1983 and 2022. In fact, it would have actually been $66 million that she would have gotten back from a $1 million dollar investment.

The reality is though, owing money in unpaid taxes does not automatically confirm that Gilbert was broke. However, in 2012, after appearing on Dancing With the Stars she has made statements that she found it difficult to find new jobs and that, there was a lack of opportunity and also her divorce from Boxleitner also cost her, as well.

Melissa Gilbert has been married three times and divorced twice. It seems that as she has been the wealthier party, alimony payments for spousal support, as well as child support, has fallen on herself.

In her personal life Gilbert has likely spent $1.5-2.5 million dollars of her career earnings but also probably possesses assets valued at around $550,000, not including investment assets. In her investments, she may have earned investment returns of $1-2 million dollars, despite her likely having invested very little of her earnings stocks have performed very well in that time. Therefore, it is estimated that Melissa Gilbert has a net worth of about $3 million dollars.


When it comes to television stars that excelled in the late years of the 20th century, Melissa Gilbert is certainly among them. The actress began her career when she was just a child and quickly entered the spotlight thanks to her acclaimed role of Laura Ingalls (Wilder) in Little House on the Prairie television series and films. Apart from acting, directing, producing, and serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild, from 2001 to 2005, she is also an author that has written several books. In recent years, she also became a politician that ran for a U.S. Congress in the 8th congressional district of Michigan.

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