Thursday, April 2, 2009

Alyssa Milano

Alyssa Jayne Milano (born December 19, 1972) is an American actress and former singer. She is perhaps best known for her roles as Samantha Micelli in the sitcom Who's the Boss? and as Phoebe Halliwell on the supernatural series Charmed. She also has a new female apparel clothing line, Touch. She had a recurring role on My Name Is Earl, playing Billie Cunningham. She got her start in acting by starring in the Broadway show Annie.

Milano was born in New York City, the daughter of Italian American parents Lin, a former fashion designer and talent manager, and Thomas M. Milano, a film music editor and a well-known boating enthusiast. She has a younger brother, Cory (born in 1982), who is also an actor, but has more recently started a band, called Chloroform Days, in which he is the lead singer. Milano was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Staten Island and was raised Catholic. She began her career at the age of 8 when she won a part in an open audition for a national tour of Annie. She appeared in television commercials and off-Broadway productions. At the age of eleven, she earned her first major role in the TV show Who's the Boss?, alongside fellow Brooklyn native Tony Danza, Judith Light, Danny Pintauro, and Katherine Helmond. She starred as Samantha Micelli, the daughter of Danza's character, Tony Micelli. When Milano won the role, her family relocated from Staten Island to Hollywood.

She produced a teen workout video in 1988 called Teen Steam. In 1985, Milano was in the film Commando as Jenny Matrix who was John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger)'s daughter. A few years later this film was shown in Japan prompting a producer to offer Alyssa a five album record deal.

At the beginning of her career, Milano was known mainly for her role on Who's the Boss? (1984-1992). She tried to shed her "nice girl" image by appearing in several films targeted at adults, such as Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story (1992), Embrace of the Vampire (1994), Confessions of a Sorority Girl (1994), Deadly Sins (1995), and Poison Ivy II: Lily (1995), where she starred opposite Johnathon Schaech and Xander Berkeley.

She gained more mainstream success in TV as Jennifer Mancini on Melrose Place (1997-1998), Meg Winston in Spin City, and most notably as Phoebe Halliwell on the eight year run of the popular series Charmed (1998-2006). Both Milano and close friend Holly Marie Combs became producers for Charmed during the show's fifth season.

She played the role of Eva Savelot in MCI's 1-800-COLLECT commercials. In 2007, Milano filmed a pilot for ABC entitled Reinventing the Wheelers. The series was not picked up for the 2007-2008 season, but instead, Milano appeared in ten episodes of the show My Name Is Earl. This reunited her with Jaime Pressly who guest starred in the two part Season 5 premiere of Charmed, "A Witch's Tail". She is set to reappear in the fourth season of the show, reprising her role as Billie Cunningham.

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, when she starred in and produced a Los Angeles production of Butterflies Are Free. Milano also appeared in the Josie music video by Blink-182, and in 2007, Milano began appearing on television again in commercials for Veet and SheerCover.

Milano was part of TBS' special coverage installment Hot Corner for the 2007 Major League Baseball playoffs. She reported at Fenway Park during the ALDS between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. She also reported at Chase Field during the NLCS between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.

Milano starred in the 2008 film Pathology alongside Milo Ventimiglia, and was then cast in a television sitcom, Single with Parents, which was pulled prior to production.

On March 20, 2009, it was announced that Milano would voice the character of Dana Barrett in the upcoming "Ghostbusters: The Video Game", which was the role played by Sigourney Weaver in the films.

On March 24, 2009, her book on her baseball fandom, Safe At Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic, was released.

Milano was appointed Founding Ambassador for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to which she donated $250,000. The Global Network is an alliance formed to advocate and mobilize resources in the fight to control neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Milano will work to raise awareness of NTDs by educating the mainstream media and general public of the plight faced by the one billion people who are afflicted by NTDs, and the importance in controlling and preventing this global health crisis.

Milano is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the United States. She traveled to India, as well as Angola, to work with UNICEF field officers there. In the fall of 2004, she participated in UNICEF's "Trick or Treat" campaign as an official spokesperson. She raised approximately $50,000 for South African women and children with AIDS by selling her own and a school's photo work. In support of PETA, she appeared in an advertisement for them, advocating vegetarianism, in a dress made entirely of vegetables.


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