Actress 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 starred on the WB drama, Charmed. She's currently running her own fashion line for female sports fans called Touch, writes a blog about the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Alyssa Jayne Milano was born 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.
Alyssa 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."
She continued to pursue acting, and, in 1984, landed a role on the hit sitcom, Who's the Boss?. Milano played Samantha Micelli, the outspoken daughter of Tony Danza's starring character. The show ran for eight successful seasons, turning Alyssa Milano into one of the leading teen icons of 1980s American pop culture.
During her years on the sitcom, Alyssa Milano also released several pop albums, which were only sold in Japan. Additionally, in 1985, Milano played the daughter of Arnold Schwarzenneger's character in the action film Commando.
The series 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.
Soon, a grown up Milano came upon her next big big break, landing a starring role as Phoebe Halliwell on the series Charmed, playing 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; costar Shannen Doherty's early departure from the show, after just three seasons, was reportedly the result of backstage clashes with Milano. In 2010, Milano also starred in the short-lived sitcom Romantically Challenged. Milano has been a host and judge on Project Runway: All Stars and from 2013-2014 played the lead role of Savannah Davis on the series Mistresses.
Over the decade-spanning course of her Hollywood career, Alyssa Milano has, for the most part, avoided negative celebrity exposure, actively avoiding paparazzi-saturated areas and steering clear of many of the troubles that other former child actors have dealt with in a very public way. She attributes much of her ability to stay grounded to her family life; growing up, she ate dinner with her family every night.
Her family background also inspired another outlet for her talents, as a fashion designer. 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 the MLB and ended up with her own Touch by Alyssa Milano line, which has since expanded into other sports. In 2010, Milano published a book about her passion for baseball, Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic.
The course of Milano's career was also 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.
More than most Hollywood stars, Milano has recently embraced the new technologies of social media. She 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 say, 'thank you.' Why would it be different in the cyber world?" Milano uses the platform both to share her own personal interests and to engage followers with her international charitable work.
Alyssa 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. That's probably the work I'm most proud of. It's very humbling and wonderful."
In 1993, Alyssa 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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