A ballet student since grade school, Melissa Sue Anderson was 11 years old when she career-shifted from dancer to actress in the 1974 TV pilot film Little House on The Prairie. For the next nine seasons, Melissa Sue co-starred on the Little House series proper as the Ingalls family's eldest daughter Mary. During this period, she won an Emmy for her performance in "Which Mother Is Mine?", a 1979 ABC Afternoon Special offering. To avoid confusion with Little House co-star Melissa Gilbert, Ms. Anderson was tagged with the nickname "Missy," a cognomen that has stuck to this day. As a youngster, Melissa Sue Anderson expressed a desire to become a film director; as an adult, she remained an actress, appearing in such efforts as An Innocent Love (1982), First Affair (1983) and Chattanooga Choo Choo (1984).