Born to a large Catholic family in 1976, Kelly Monaco launched her career by appearing as Playboy's "Playmate of the Month" in April 1997. After a small role on Baywatch, Monaco landed a part on the soap opera Port Charles. When it was canceled, she moved on to a role on General Hospital. In 2005, Monaco won the first season of Dancing with the Stars, and she returned in 2012 to compete on the all-stars series, Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars.
Kelly Marie Monaco was born on May 23, 1976, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She comes from a large Italian Catholic family, and is the third of five daughters.
Kelly Monaco’s family moved to the Poconos before she entered junior high school. As a teen, she was involved in a variety of sports, including swimming, track, soccer and tennis, as well as drama and speech. After graduating from high school, she attended Northampton Community College for two years and worked as a lifeguard.
At just 20 years old, Monaco sent a packet of photos of herself to Playboy, and became Playboy’s "Playmate of the Month" in April 1997. She continued to be a Playboy “bunny” throughout the late 1990s. She also landed a spot on Baywatch from 1997 to 1998, and was often seen as Carmen Electra’s body double.
Monaco was a regular on the soap opera Port Charles from 1999 to 2003, and she earned a nomination for a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series. When the show was canceled, she was cast as private investigator Samantha McCall, a new role, on General Hospital. She received another Daytime Emmy Award nomination, this time for outstanding lead actress in a drama series.
In addition to her regular roles, Monaco also guest starred in the season finale of Spin City with Heather Locklear and Charlie Sheen, and has had parts in films, including Idle Hands, Mumford and BASEketball, as well as Hallmark’s made-for-TV-movie Edge of the Garden.
In 2006 Monaco co-hosted the 33rd Daytime Emmy Awards, and in 2009, Donald Trump asked her to be a judge for the Miss USA pageant. That same year, she starred in the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood burlesque act Peepshow.
In 2011 she starred in the E! reality series Dirty Soap, which followed the lives of daytime soap opera stars including her General Hospital co-star Kirsten Storms, but it was canceled after a single season.
In 2005, Monaco won the first season of Dancing with the Stars after starting out as the lowest-rated contestant on the show. She returned to the series in 2012, competing as an audience favorite on Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars.
Monaco dated her childhood sweetheart Michael Gonzalez for 18 years, and they broke up in 2009. In 2009, she traveled to Kenya with Feed the Children, as part of Daytime Gives Back. She remains active with children’s charities and lives in Los Angeles.
Monaco has hearing loss, which was caused by scuba diving complications.
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