Alyssa Jayne Milano is an American actress, producer and political activist. She is known for her roles as Samantha Micelli in Who's the Boss?, Jennifer Mancini in Melrose Place, Phoebe Halliwell in Charmed, Billie Cunningham in My Name is Earl, Savannah "Savi" Davis in Mistresses, Renata Murphy in and Coralee Armstrong in Insatiable.
Early lifeMilano was born on December 19, 1972, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, the daughter of fashion designer and talent manager Lin Milano and film-music editor Thomas M. Milano. She and her brother, Cory, who is a decade her junior, are of Italian ancestry. She was raised Roman Catholic.
1980–1996Milano began her career at age 7, when her babysitter, without notifying Milano's parents, took her to an audition for one of the four principal parts in a national touring company of Annie. Milano was one of four selected from more than 1,500 girls. During the course of her work in the play, Milano and her mother were on the road for 18 months. After returning to New York, Milano appeared in television commercials and performed several roles in off-Broadway productions, including the first American musical adaptation of Jane Eyre. When accompanying a friend from the Annie production to the office of a New York agent, Milano was introduced to the agent, who began representing her. She does not feel that growing up in front of the camera harmed her childhood and has said: "I love my family very much – they've really backed my career. I consider myself to be normal: I've got to clean my room, and help in the kitchen."
In August 1984, Milano made her film debut in the coming-of-age drama Old Enough, which she recalled as a "great" way for "starting out". The film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won First Prize.
Milano auditioned as Tony Danza's daughter on the sitcom Who's the Boss? After winning the part, she and her family moved to Los Angeles, where the show was produced. It premiered on ABC on September 20, 1984. Throughout Who's the Boss?, Milano developed a close relationship with co-star Danza. Commenting on their early years together, Danza observed: "She was just the sweetest little girl of all time... She became much like my daughter." The series established Milano as a teen idol, and provided her opportunities for other roles. Her education was split between school and an on-set tutor with whom Milano would work for three hours a day.
At age 12, Milano co-starred in Commando as Jenny Matrix, the daughter of John Matrix.
On stage, she starred in Tender Offer, a one-act play written by Wendy Wasserstein, All Night Long by American playwright John O'Keefe, and the first American musical adaptation of Jane Eyre. She returned to the theater in 1991, producing and starring in a Los Angeles production of Butterflies Are Free from December 26, 1991, to January 19, 1992.
A few years later this film was shown in Japan, prompting a producer to offer Milano a five-album record deal. Milano's albums, which she described as "bubblegum pop", scored platinum in the country, though she later criticised their musical quality. Subsequently, she starred in the children's film The Canterville Ghost, which did not achieve much praise or attention and Variety magazine noted in its review: "Milano as the catalyzing daughter Jennifer adapts to the ghostly Sir Simon without a qualm; that, of course, is the true charm of the story, but Milano doesn't exhibit enough presence to match the droll, charming Gielgud".
and Representatives of International Council of Shopping Centers in Diplomatic Reception Room, 1987
Milano starred in two 1988 television films, Crash Course and Dance 'til Dawn. Both projects allowed her to work alongside close personal friend Brian Bloom who worked with his brother Scott with her in episodes of Who's the Boss; this working camaraderie would later expand in 1993 when Milano made a cameo appearance in Bloom's film The Webbers. She produced a teen workout video, Teen Steam, and achieved some fame outside the US with her music career, which lasted until the early 1990s. Even though she scored platinum in Japan, Milano had no interest to pursue a music career in the United States: "I'm not interested in crossing over. I'd much rather have it released where it's appreciated than laughed at." Simultaneously, she wrote a weekly column called "From Alyssa, with love" for the teen magazine Teen Machine.
Milano played a teenage prostitute in the 1992 independent film Where the Day Takes You. The film, which focuses on a group of young runaway and homeless teenagers, was shot on and around Hollywood Boulevard. and was met with positive critical reception. It was nominated for the Critics Award at the Deauville Film Festival, and won the Golden Space Needle Award at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Although Milano feared that viewers would only recognize her as "the girl from Who's the Boss?", she was noticed by the media, which helped her land the role of Amy Fisher in the high-profile TV movie Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story, one of three TV films based on Fisher's shooting of Mary Jo Buttafuoco. Milano said that her portrayal of Fisher in the film, which was based on the Buttafuoco's point of view, "was the least 'Alyssa' of anything done." The film was shot from November–December 1992. She welcomed the cancellation of the series, as she was ready to move on to other roles and enthusiastic to "showcase" what she was able to do. Looking back on eight years of playing the same role, Milano commented, "Creatively, it's been very frustrating. I gave her more of a personality. I changed her wardrobe, cut her hair, anything to give her new life."
In the early 1990s, Milano auditioned for nearly every film role in her age bracket, including B movies, and finally tried to shed her "nice girl" image by appearing nude in several erotic films targeted at adults, such as Embrace of the Vampire, Deadly Sins and . She said the nude appearances taught her to begin requiring a nudity clause in her contracts giving her "full control" over all her nude scenes. In a 1995 interview, she explained her motivation for some explicit scenes in Embrace of the Vampire: "I'm not going to say that I was manipulated into doing things that I didn't want to do. I did it because it was a woman director and I felt protected. And I learned a lot as far as knowing where the camera is and what coverage they need so that it's not all explicit."
She starred in other roles, such as Candles in the Dark, Confessions of a Sorority Girl, The Surrogate, To Brave Alaska and Fear, which did not receive very positive reviews, although Jack Matthews of the Los Angeles Times called Milano's performance in Fear "very good".
1997–2010Milano starred in the lead role in Hugo Pool.
In late 1996, Milano was offered a role of Jennifer Mancini on the drama Melrose Place by producer Aaron Spelling: "We were looking for someone with sparkle. Alyssa was the perfect choice." She left early in season seven. In 1998, she was cast as Phoebe Halliwell, one of the three lead characters on Spelling's show Charmed. She and Holly Marie Combs became producers for the show during season four. The series ran for eight seasons, concluding in 2006.
In 1998, she played Mark Hoppus's love interest in the music video for Blink-182's "Josie".
In the early 2000s, Milano played Eva Savelot in MCI Inc. commercials for that company's 1-800-COLLECT campaign.
In 2007, Milano's commercial work included two 2007 television ads for Veet and Sheer Cover. That year, she filmed a pilot for ABC called Reinventing the Wheelers, which was not picked up for the 2007–08 season. That season she appeared in ten episodes of My Name Is Earl.
Milano was part of TBS's special coverage installment Hot Corner for the 2007 Major League Baseball playoffs. A fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in April 2007, Milano began writing a baseball blog on the Major League Baseball's website. That year she reported at Fenway Park during the ALDS between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The same year, she launched her signature "Touch" line of team apparel for female baseball fans, selling it through her blog on Major League Baseball's website. It also became available in 2009 through a boutique store located in Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. She has an interest in the Los Angeles Kings, a National Hockey League team, and is involved with a related clothing line. In 2008, she expanded that to NFL football, as a New York Giants fan. Since Milano is from the same hometown as NFL Network's Rich Eisen, she revealed some of her family's connections with the Giants. In 2013, Milano expanded "Touch" into NASCAR.
On March 20, 2009, it was announced that Milano voiced Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn in . In a 2010 interview she told the press that she had 'a blast' working on the game, although she recalled it being 'odd' having to grunt in a room alone. On March 24, 2009, her book on her baseball fandom, Safe At Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic, was released. Milano has signed on to star in and produce My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, a romantic comedy in which she plays a woman with a relationship dilemma. Milano starred in the sitcom Romantically Challenged as Rebecca Thomas, a recently divorced single mother attorney in Pittsburgh who has not dated "since Bill Clinton was president". The series premiered on ABC on April 19, 2010. The series was canceled after airing four episodes. Milano produced and led the cast of Lifetime's TV film Sundays at Tiffany's. which was her second collaboration with Lifetime, after Wisegal.
2011–presentIn 2011 Milano appeared in two comedy films, Hall Pass and New Year's Eve.
In 2013, Milano created the comic book series Hacktivist, which was written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, drawn by Marcus To, and published by Archaia Entertainment. The book, which explores the modern world of hacking and global activism, is described as "a fast-paced cyber-thriller about friendship and freedom in a time of war". The publication was released digitally in late 2013, while the first print edition issue of the four-issue miniseries was published in January 2014. A hardcover edition collecting all four issues was released in July 2014. The series received positive reviews, as it currently holds a score of 8.1 out of 10 at the review aggregator website Comic Book Roundup.
In June 2013, she played Savannah Davis in ABC drama series Mistresses, which is about the scandalous lives of four girlfriends, but she left the show after season two, due to conflict between filming location and family issue. She signed on as host and judge ' beginning with season three. On March 2, 2015, Milano was a guest host on The Talk.
In 2017 and 2018, Milano joined the cast of two Netflix comedy series: ' and Insatiable. In 2018 she was cast in the lead role in Tempting Fate, based on the best-selling book by Jane Green.
In 2020, Milano will recur on the Quibi comedy The Now.
Other venturesShe has graced the cover of numerous magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Stuff, Seventeen, Cleo, Woman's World, Veronica, Maxim and FHM. She has also appeared in pictorials for Playboy, Celebrity Skin, Celebrity Sleuth, Premiere and High Society. She has appeared in television commercials for Wen, Candies, Veet, Hi-C and Atkins diet. She was a spokesmodel for Sheer Cover cosmetics.
ActivismIn the late 1980s, Milano contacted Ryan White, a schoolboy ostracized for having AIDS, and a fan of hers. She attended a big party for him where she sat with him for six hours making friendship bracelets. They appeared together on The Phil Donahue Show, where Milano kissed White, in order to show that she could not catch the disease through casual contact with him.
In October 2004, Milano participated in UNICEF's "Trick or Treat" campaign as the national spokesperson. She raised approximately US$50,000 for South African women and children with AIDS by selling her own and schools' photo work.
In support of PETA, she appeared in a 2007 advertisement for them, advocating vegetarianism, in a dress made entirely of vegetables.
In June 2007, The Sabin Vaccine Institute, named Milano a Founding Ambassador for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an alliance formed to advocate and mobilize resources in the fight to control neglected tropical diseases, to which Milano donated US$250,000. She is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the United States of America, Her field work for the organization has included a 2004 trip to Angola to speak with HIV-positive women and people disfigured by land mines during the country's civil war; a trip to India to meet displaced mothers living in squalor following the 2004 tsunami; and a 2010 trip to the settlement of Kolonia in western Kosovo to witness impoverished living conditions. Milano wrote on her blog that the latter trip was "the hardest experience I've had on a field visit", and described a waste dump close to the settlement where children spent time looking for metal to sell or scavenging for food.
For her 37th birthday, which occurred on December 19, 2009, Milano ran an online fundraising campaign for. Her original goal was to raise US$25,000, but a donation from her husband put her over the US$75,000 mark on December 18. The fundraiser ran until December 26. In September 2013, Milano released a viral tape on Funny or Die that drew attention to the Syrian civil war.
In 2015, Milano endorsed Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. In 2016 after the Democratic Party presidential primaries, she expressed her support for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She was also involved in get-out-the-vote efforts for Rob Quist.
On October 15, 2017, Milano posted the message which re-launched what is known as the #MeToo movement, which was started in 2006 by Tarana Burke. According to Milano, a friend suggested that she post a message on her Twitter account encouraging survivors of sexual harassment and assault to post #metoo as a status update. This was to gauge the widespread problem of sexual misconduct. She was inspired to bring awareness to the commonality of sex crimes among women in the wake of Harvey Weinstein's expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for alleged sex crimes against women in the film industry. Milano emphasized that the basis of her hashtag was to create a platform where women had an "opportunity without having to go into detail about their stories if they did not want to".
Since 2004, Milano has canvassed for national, state, and local candidates.
Milano phone banked with Piper Perabo and drove people to the polls for the United States Senate special election in Alabama, 2017 on December 12, 2017, to vote for Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
Milano, with actor Christopher Gorham, drove voters to the polls during early voting and on March 27, 2017, for Georgia's 6th congressional district 2017 special election for Jon Ossoff, and she later posted photos of herself with the voters on Instagram. Milano and Gorham had been in the area for the pilot of Insatiable.
In 2018, she was announced as a co-chair of the Health Care Voter campaign. She released an op-ed to Time magazine on why health care will decide her vote in 2018.
Milano helped raise money for Richard Dien Winfield, a Democrat in Georgia's 2018 10th congressional district race.
Milano, who spoke at the 2018 Women's March, refused to participate in 2019, citing the failure of 2019 Women's March leaders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour to condemn the homophobia, antisemitism, and transphobia of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
In May 2019, Milano advocated celibacy in the form of a sex strike in retaliation of a recently passed abortion law in the U.S. state of Georgia.
In March 2020, Milano endorsed former US vice president Joe Biden for President of the United States. She has declined to withdraw her endorsement of Biden despite sexual assault allegations against him. On April 27, Milano tweeted that she was "aware of the new developments in Tara Reade's accusation against Joe Biden. I want Tara, like every other survivor, to have the space to be heard and seen without being used as fodder. I hear and see you, Tara." This was after criticism of Milano’s support for Biden where she appeared to backtrack on her previous stance for believing women. On April 28, in an op-ed for Deadline Milano reiterated her support for Biden and considered "Believing women was never about 'Believe all women no matter what they say,' it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default."
Personal lifeMilano has dyslexia. In a 2004 interview, she explained how she deals with the disorder:
Milano was involved with The Lost Boys actor Corey Haim from 1987 to 1990. Milano and her parents, together with his manager at the time, unsuccessfully tried to get Haim help for his addiction.
In 1993, Milano became engaged to actor Scott Wolf, but they broke off their engagement the following year.
On January 1, 1999, Milano married singer Cinjun Tate. They separated on November 20, 1999 and were divorced on December 1, 1999.
Between 2001 and 2003, she dated her Charmed co-star, Brian Krause.
After a year of dating, Milano became engaged to Creative Artists Agency agent David Bugliari in December 2008. They married on August 15, 2009, at Bugliari's family home in New Jersey. Milano and Bugliari have a son, born in August 2011, and a daughter, born in September 2014.
Milano moved from a condominium in West Hollywood to a house in Bell Canyon, California, with land for nine horses, eight chickens, two rabbits, and five dogs.
In 2014, Milano, with the South Korean rescue group, CARE, and The Fuzzy Pet Foundation in Santa Monica, helped rescue a South Korean Jindo mix dog, found covered in mange, chained, and raised for dog-meat.
In August 2019, Milano revealed that she had undergone two abortions in 1993 while in a relationship with actor Scott Wolf. Milano used birth control but became pregnant nonetheless.
In 1998, Milano sued adult websites for unauthorized use of nude images from her films.
Milano's 2017 US$10-million lawsuit against her business manager resulted in a cross-complaint.
- Look in My Heart
- Locked Inside a Dream
- Do You See Me?
Awards and nominations