Here's How Much Melora Hardin Is Really Worth

If you're a fan of "The Office," you know Melora Hardin very well as Jan Levinson, the no-nonsense Vice President of Sales at Dunder Mifflin, who also takes a romantic turn with Steve Carell's character, Michael Scott. Of course, that's not her first and only credit; she's been working in Hollywood ever since she was a little kid. That longevity in the entertainment industry has allowed her to earn a sizable income as an actor. From TV roles to Broadway, Hardin truly is a triple threat, and that is reflected in the diversity of projects she takes on and where she might pop up next in Hollywood. 

Her approach to show business has been a smart one — she understands that there is a balance between the executives behind the desks and the artists who bring them to life. "This is a business, and you have to give the businessmen something to grab onto: that labeling is not for the artist, it's for the businessmen; they're not creative thinkers, they don't think the way we think, they can't be whimsical the way we can be, they need concreteness," she explained to The Creative Mind. By understanding both sides of the entertainment industry, she's reportedly been able to generate a net worth of $4 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. And with her turn on "Dancing with the Stars," she may see that number skyrocket even more. Let's take a look at how Melora Hardin accumulated her wealth.

An early start in Hollywood

As the daughter of showbiz veterans, Melora Hardin started working in elementary school. "My parents are both actors and my mom and dad would go into their commercial agents and take in new headshots and things like that," she shared with Hobo Trash Can. "One day, I went with my father, I was about five, and his agent said, 'Oh, aren't you cute? Do you want to do this?' and that put the idea into my head." Hardin's parents had a secret plan to allow her to go on "10 auditions" and if she didn't book anything, they move on to another activity for her. Of course, she nailed her first audition and "their plan was promptly ruined."

She made appearances on classic TV shows like "Little House on the Prairie," "The Love Boat" and "Dirty Dancing" (yes, it was a short-lived television series), and her early film credits include "The Jeweller's Shop," "Soul Man," and "The North Avenue Irregulars." Most notably, she was cast as Marty McFly's girlfriend in "Back to the Future" with Eric Stoltz. When Stoltz was axed, so was Hardin; she was too tall for Michael J. Fox. Hardin often gets asked about getting hired and fired for that "Back to the Future" role. "Ultimately, it would have been great I'm sure," the actor told Wired. "At the same time, my path has been pretty great and everything you do alters what comes next." And boy, was there a lot in store for her. 

She might have sold you a pain reliever or two

In between TV and film roles, Melora Hardin has dabbled in acting in commercials. You can go back and watch some of her TV spots, including a 1980 commercial for Crispy Wheats 'n Raisins, which has a 13-year-old Hardin proclaiming confidently, "Hey, this is Crispy Wheats 'n Raisin" to the actors playing her parents. (And the late radio legend Casey Kasem narrates the commercial, too.)

In a 1986 advert, the then-19-year-old star continued on her path to success with a Kodak spot talking about their 35mm camera (a relic of the past). She adorably says, "I can shoot with a 35mm camera. This one," which at the time, was high-tech equipment. And don't miss Hardin's 1997 ad for Vicks 44 cough syrup, where she plays a businesswoman stuck in an economy seat on a red-eye flight, who has a terrible cough. The good news is that she brought along her trusty Vicks product, unlike the fancy woman in first-class who brought the wrong cold medicine. The commercial world sure sounds like a terrif-Vicks way to make a few bucks. 

Jan Levinson made her a household name

Melora Hardin's big break came in 2005 when she was cast as Jan Levinson in "The Office." The show ran until 2013 and turned her into a household name, thanks to classic episodes like the fourth season favorite, "Dinner Party." Surprisingly, she often felt like an outsider looking in because her character didn't always interact with the Dunder Mifflin crew, most of her scenes were with Steve Carell. "I felt, even as time went on, there was a sense of not belonging there," Hardin revealed to former "Office" co-star Brian Baumgarner on his podcast, "An Oral History of The Office." "Really, I don't think I ever felt like I belonged."

Yet that notoriety also gave her the opportunity to star in films like "Thank You for Smoking," "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and "17 Again." And it also led to more television work, including "Transparent" and "The Bold Type," which ran for five seasons on FreeForm. All of these roles are the icing on the cake because a juggernaut like "The Office" rarely comes around in an actor's career. Despite her mixed feelings about truly being a part of the cast, Hardin is grateful for the opportunity it granted her. "It's so exciting how people just love this show and continue to love it," she said on "Today." "And because of the internet, we have, you know, shows that continue on and on and on."

She has a music career, too

Besides earning her fortune from TV and film, Melora Hardin has also used her vocal talents to bring in the dough. As she told Musings on Music, she became a fan of vocal powerhouses like Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand at an early age, and would try to sing "all those big, 'belty' songs" like her heroes would. Thanks to her gift, she booked roles in movies like "The Rocketeer" and gigs like singing the national anthem sporting events — but her dream was to record her own album. That opportunity came true in 2008. 

Working in the realm of adult contemporary, standards, and vocal pop, Hardin self-released her first pair of albums in 2008 with "Purr" and "The Meloradrama."  By 2010, she really felt like she had nailed her sound down, so Hardin released her third album, "All the Way to Mars." Chatting with Smashing Interviews about the record, she called the collection of songs "a journey" because she had discovered "a warmth and a maturity" as a musician. "I think it's just sort of where I am now musically," she explained. Even though most fans only know her as an actor, singing has been a big part of her success along the way. 

Melora Hardin conquered Broadway

2008 was a very big year for Melora Hardin. Not only did her self-published albums come out, but she played the role of Fantine in the Hollywood Bowl's concert of "Les Misérables," per Playbill. That December, "The Office" star made her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in the revival of "Chicago: The Musical" opposite Amra-Faye Wright. "I've wanted to do Broadway all my life," Hardin told Playbill. Consider the dream realized.

The show also allowed her to utilize the dance training she had in her background — yes, Hardin is a true triple threat. "I've been dancing all my life: I started dancing when I was five. I was a very serious ballerina and went to Joffrey on scholarship when I was 13." she shared with Playbill. "I knew that there was going to come a time in my life when I was going to be able to really utilize all those skills, and it's so exciting. It makes me feel so alive to use them all at once." These dancing talents wouldn't go to waste because she would get another chance to show off her skills on the ballroom floor, but it would take another 12 years to see that come true. 

Making real estate moves

Melora Hardin has been investing in real estate for a long time. She bought her first home in the Hollywood Hills before she married her husband, Gildart Jackson, per Haute Living. When she and Jackson needed more space, when they were expecting their second daughter, Piper, in 2005, they headed to a Glendale, California, home. The Spanish Revival house, a style that Hardin called "very homey and inviting," boasted mountain views, a beautiful backyard and gorgeous vaulted ceilings. They stayed at the property until 2016 when, as the Los Angeles Times noted, they sold it for $855,000, clearing a $100,000 profit.    

After offloading their Glendale home, the couple went east and bought a new home in Altadena for an undisclosed price, but the "Transparent" star loved tackling the design and decor of the property, calling the living room her favorite place in the house. "It feels so warm and friendly to me, with such history and stories to tell," she shared with Modern Home and Living (via iHaveNet). "I love that kind of personality in a home." While real estate is always a solid part of a celebrity's fortune, Hardin also decided to invest in herself — in a very modern, social way.

She's a social media influencer

Like many other public figures, Melora Hardin has thrown her hat in the influencer ring. The former child star has taken advantage of her fame by partnering up with companies like Fab Fit Fun and So Delicious, which generates income from her social media accounts. She loves to share the latest goodies in the monthly subscription fitness box, telling her followers, "Hey guys, so excited to be a #fabfitfunpartner and team up with #fabfitfun this fall! There are so many cool products in my @fabfitfun box that I'm excited about using!" And of course, no one minds hearing about So Delicious vegan frozen mousse, which she calls "amazingly yummy" while enjoying flavors like peanut butter swirl and salted caramel swirl.

Just as some of her fellow "Office" stars have done, she also stared up a Cameo account. (Co-star Brian Baumgartner earned over $1 million on Cameo in 2020, per The Hollywood Reporter.) Hardin charges $499 for a personal video or $9,999 for a business video — that's not a bad side hustle at all. She knows how to keep the money flowing. 

Dollar signs and Dancing With the Stars

In 2021, Melora Hardin joined the 30th season of "Dancing with the Stars" and partnered with the previous season's mirrorball trophy winner, Artem Chigvintsev. Just by doing the show, she stands to make a pretty significant salary if she makes it all 10 weeks. How significant, you ask? Well, in 2019, Variety reported that contestants could make over $125,000 for the first few weeks, and if they stick around until the end, they reportedly could bring in over twice that amount. Not a bad way for the actor to substantially add to her net worth. 

She has loved the experience so far, describing it to her Instagram followers as "so much fun and a lot of hard work each week" but she adores her "awesome and talented partner." The one thing she wasn't prepared for was the "emotional toll" of doing "Dancing with the Stars." She explained to Us Weekly, "I can't sleep very well because I'm doing the dance in my head every night. It's difficult to try to figure out the pace. ... Right about the time you get it, you gotta learn something new that you've never had before." Hopefully, the decent paycheck for waltzing across the ballroom floor more than makes up for the long days and sweat from doing the show. 

Melora Hardin's laidback feelings about money

Melora Hardin has always had a relaxed mindset when it comes to her financial picture, telling Bank Rate she's "never worried about money in my life, even when I wasn't particularly working." While it might be hard for some to imagine having that outlook when it comes to money, she feels like it works best for her. "I don't have to be the richest person in the world to be happy; I just need to feel I can do the things that I want to do," she explained. "And I feel that I can."

Hardin and her husband, Gilbert Jackson, utilize the services of a business manager, who, as she said in Bank Rate, helps the couple "gather those pockets of financial stability." And the former child star is fortunate her parents handled her earnings well when she was working. She was able to use that trust that was turned over to her at the age of 18 and put herself through Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York. But don't worry, Hardin has splurged from time to time, buying "a brand new Mazda RX-7" when she was 17 years old — quite a fancy car at the time.

Giving back is important to Melora Hardin

Melora Hardin isn't one to just sit around and not give back. Per Look to the Stars, she happens to be a big supporter of well-known charities, including Make-A-Wish Foundation, Clothes Off Our Back, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Hardin even stepped up to help teachers heading back to the classroom for the first time after the pandemic forced them to teach virtually. "I hope you know how important what you're doing is — especially right now, it's so particularly challenging for you guys," Hardin advised in a Zoom call to five lucky teachers as a part of a Cameo Cares and Baby2Baby joint campaign (via People). "I would just say use your instincts and know you're such an important part of good feelings for kids right now in this really weird time."

And that's not all. Hardin did more Zoom charity events during the pandemic, like the auction she participated in to benefit Chris Evert Charities, which "provides prevention and intervention programs to eliminate drug abuse and child neglect," per Charitybuzz. The Zoom auction even promised that "she could serenade you" — that is definitely a fun treat for someone like Hardin who loves to put all of her talents together to benefit a great cause. 

A fortune is nice, but family is everything

Melora Hardin isn't enjoying her $4 million net worth alone. In addition to her husband, Gildart Jackson, the couple has two daughters, Rory and Piper — and the entire family has acted on-screen together in the 2009 film "You." Speaking to HuffPost what that feature means to their family, Jackson said, "Our kids will always have 'You' — our movie — to watch, to show their friends as they grow up, to remember what it was like when our family set sail on the high seas." While the kids prefer to keep a low profile, Hardin has acted more than once with her husband — most recently, on "The Bold Type," where they played husband and wife (what a stretch). Chatting with Pop Culturalist about their time on the show together, she called the experience "great" and "a lot of fun" because they "support each other and love each other a lot."

Their healthy partnership is what matters most to Hardin at the end of the day. Sure, money is nice, but it's about the balance of love, family and a fulfilling career. "Every woman I know, including myself, who's at a wonderful place in their career is balancing many things — children, careers, friendships, hobbies," she summed up to MEAWW. "I think that's more the norm, the way it actually works. And it's not true that you can't have it all."