Who Is Alyssa Milano?
Alyssa Milano stepped into the spotlight at the age of 8, when she appeared in a national tour of the musical Annie. At the age of 10 she landed a starring role in the sitcom Who's the Boss?, and as an adult she starred on the WB drama Charmed. Along with her screen roles, the actress has founded the Touch by Alyssa Milano female sportswear line and created the graphic novel Hacktivist.
Early Years and Acting Intro in 'Annie'
Alyssa Jayne Milano was born on December 19, 1972, into an Italian-American family in Brooklyn, New York. Her father, Thomas, is a film music editor, and her mother, Lin, a fashion designer. Milano also has one younger brother, named Cory.
Milano pursued acting from a young age, unexpectedly breaking into the industry when her babysitter took her to an audition for a touring production of the musical Annie, without the knowledge of Milano's parents. When Milano was offered a role as one of the orphans, her parents were wary of giving their permission. Only seven years old at the time, Milano simply wouldn't back down. She spent the next 18 months on the road with the show. From there, she knew what she wanted to do: "I heard the applause, and right then it was all over ... I knew to myself, this is it, forever."
Movies and TV Shows
'Who's the Boss?' and 'Commando'
In 1984 Milano began starring in the hit sitcom Who's the Boss? as Samantha Micelli, the outspoken daughter of Tony Danza's starring character. The show ran for eight successful seasons, turning the actress into one of the leading teen icons of 1980s American pop culture.
During her years on the sitcom, Milano also released several pop albums, which were only sold in Japan. Additionally, in 1985 she played the daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in the action film Commando.
'Deadly Sins,' 'Poison Ivy II,' 'Melrose Place'
Who's the Boss? brought Milano widespread recognition, but it also created obstacles for her down the line; fearing that she would be typecast, she spent several years trying to break free of her identification with the character Samantha Micelli. She managed to shed her wholesome teenage reputation by taking risqué roles in movies such as Deadly Sins and Poison Ivy II. From 1997 to 1998, Milano appeared on the television show Melrose Place.
Milano came upon her next big big break with the starring role of Phoebe Halliwell on the series Charmed, as one of three sisters who discover they are modern-day witches. The hit show ran for eight seasons, from 1998 to 2006, winning Milano a new generation of fans. Behind the scenes, though, not all was well; co-star Shannen Doherty's early departure from the show, after just three seasons, was reportedly the result of backstage clashes with Milano.
'Romantically Challenged,' 'Mistresses,' 'Project Runway'
Following a recurring role in season 3 of the sitcom My Name Is Earl, Milano in 2010 landed a starring role in the short-lived sitcom Romantically Challenged. A follow-up attempt at scripted television in the drama Mistresses fared better, though Milano left the show in 2014, after two seasons. During this time, she also served as host of season 3 of Project Runway: All Stars.
'Wet Hot American Summer' and 'Insatiable'
In 2017 Milano joined the massive cast of the series Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, a sequel to the 2001 cult classic film and 2015 series. The following year she found her place on another TV show, playing the wife of a beauty pageant coach in Insatiable.
Touch Sportswear Line
An integral part of Milano's childhood was watching baseball with her father and brother. She carried her love of sports into adulthood, eventually noticing that teams didn't offer much in the way of clothing that was appealing to and tailored for women. Milano pitched her idea for a fashion- and female-friendly line of licensed sports fan clothing to Major League Baseball, and in 2007 she launched the Touch by Alyssa Milano line, which has since expanded into other sports.
Books: 'Safe at Home' and 'Hacktivist'
In 2010, Milano published a book about her passion for baseball, Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic. She then branched out to the graphic novel industry with the creation of Hacktivist, about the co-founders of a social media platform who get recruited to work for the CIA. The book reached print in 2014, and later was reportedly being developed for TV.
Philanthropy and Social Media
The course of Milano's career was changed by the three months she spent in South Africa in the early 2000s. Deeply moved by the poverty she saw there, she soon took up an offer to become a UNICEF national ambassador, visiting Angola first in 2004. She has actively continued her participation with UNICEF and with other international charities, using her birthdays to encourage fans to donate to and participate in charitable activities.
Milano has met with success in many fields, but she ranks her philanthropic work as closest to her heart. "I think I'm most proud to be an ambassador for UNICEF," she has said. "That's probably the work I'm most proud of. It's very humbling and wonderful."
One of the first Hollywood stars to embrace social media, Milano is an avid Twitter user, known for being approachable to fans and for responding directly to her followers: "In the three-dimensional world, if someone pays you a compliment, any polite person shows gratitude and at least says, 'thank you.' Why would it be different in the cyber world?" Milano uses the platform to share her own personal interests, engage in political debates and to promote her international charitable work.
Husbands and Children
In 1993, Milano became engaged to actor Scott Wolf, but they broke off their engagement the following year. She married Cinjun Tate, the lead singer of rock band Remy Zero, in 1999. Their relationship ended in divorce in early 2000. In 2009, Milano married longtime friend David Bugliari; on August 31, 2011, she gave birth to their first child, a boy, Milo. On September 4, 2014, the couple announced the birth of their second baby, a girl, Elizabella Dylan.
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