Alyssa Milano

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Alyssa Milano
Alyssa Milano 2011.jpg
Milano at the premiere of New Year's Eve at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, December 2011
Born Alyssa Jayne Milano
(1972-12-19) December 19, 1972 (age 42)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation
Years active 1984–present
Spouse(s)
  • Cinjun Tate (m. 1999–99)
  • David Bugliari (m. 2009)
Children 2
Website
www.alyssa.com

Alyssa Jayne Milano (born December 19, 1972)[1] is an American actress, producer and former singer. She is known for starring in her television shows, such as the ABC sitcom Who's the Boss? (1984–92), the Fox soap opera Melrose Place (1997–98), the WB series Charmed (1998–2006) and the ABC drama Mistresses (2013–14).

Early life[edit]

Milano is the daughter of fashion designer and talent manager Lin Milano and film-music editor Thomas M. Milano.[1] She is of Italian ancestry.[2] She was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and lived there until a neighborhood shooting prompted the family to relocate to Staten Island.[3] Her younger brother Cory (b. 1982) is also an actor. In a 2003 interview, Milano recalled having had a good childhood, having grown up in a "loving, true family."[4] She does not feel that growing up in front of the camera jeopardized her childhood:[5] "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."[6]

Career[edit]

1984–1996[edit]

Milano began her career after she won a role in an open audition for a national tour of Annie, she was one of four selected at an audition from more than 1,500 girls.[7] She appeared in off-Broadway productions and television commercials.[8] After her stage career, Milano made her film debut Old Enough, which she recalled as a "great" way for "starting out".[3]

At age 11, she starred in her television debut Who's the Boss?, as Tony Micelli's daughter, Samantha. After she won the role, she and her father relocated from Staten Island to Hollywood; the rest of the family followed the next year, because her mother was initially unwilling to give up her home life "for a show that wasn't a guarantee."[9] Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Milano had trouble getting this accent right because she had worked to lose it to land more roles in the theater, including in a stage adaption of Jane Eyre.[7] Throughout Who's the Boss?, Milano felt a strong connection with co-star Danza.[10] At age 12, Milano co-starred in Commando as Jenny Matrix, the daughter of John (Arnold Schwarzenegger). In a 2003 interview, she admits that she was sometimes "freaked out" by the weapons on set.[4]

The body type and personality of Ariel, the main character in the 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid, were based upon Milano.[11][12] On stage, she starred in Tender Offer, a one-act play written by Wendy Wasserstein, All Night Long by American playwright John O'Keefe,[13] 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.[citation needed]

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",[3] scored platinum in the country, though she later showed her discontent in their musical quality.[3] 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".[14]

Milano was established as a teen idol,[4] and stars 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 USA 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."[15] Simultaneously, she wrote a weekly column called "From Alyssa, with love" for the teen magazine Teen Machine.[16]

In 1991, Milano wanted to quit acting to pursue an academic career, but did not gain release from her contract.[4] Instead, she auditioned for the female lead role as a homeless teenager in the independent film Where the Day Takes You. Although the crew was reluctant to sign a former child star, she was given a small role as a prostitute in the production, which she filmed in the summer of 1991.[4] Although she feared that viewers would only recognize her as "the girl from Who's the Boss?",[15] she was noticed by the media, which helped her land the controversial role of Amy Fisher in the high-profile TV movie Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story.[4] Milano said that her portrayal of Amy Fisher was more based on Joey Buttafuoco's point of view, and that the film "was the least 'Alyssa' of anything [she had] done."[10] The film was shot in the fall of 1992.[17] By then, her role on Who's the Boss had ended and she feared having trouble obtaining other roles, aware of the fate of many grown-up child stars of that period.[9] Nevertheless, she was excited when she found out the show was cancelled, being ready "to move on"[4] and enthusiastic to "showcase" what she was able to do.[15] 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."[15]

Milano put her higher education on hold, unenthusiastic about sitting in class for four more years after experiencing eight structured years on a set.[15] Instead, she auditioned for nearly every film role in her age bracket, including B movies[15] 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 Poison Ivy II: Lily. Milano said the nude appearances taught her to begin requiring a nudity clause in her contracts giving her "full control" over all her nude scenes.[10] 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."[16]

Later in 1994, she attempted but failed to replace Shannen Doherty in the successful teen series Beverly Hills, 90210.[18] 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 the Los Angeles Times called Milano "very good" in the production.[19]

1997–2010[edit]

Milano at the premiere of Beverly Hills Chihuahua in September 2008

Milano starred in her lead role in Hugo Pool, her first film released through cinemas after Commando.[4] Despite the milestone, she was soon out of work and after a period of six months she decided to return to television. She portrayed Jennifer Mancini on Melrose Place, Meg Winston in Spin City and Phoebe Halliwell in the popular television series Charmed.

Milano and Holly Marie Combs became producers for the show during season four. She was offered her Melrose Place role by Aaron Spelling himself in late 1996:[20] "We were looking for someone with sparkle. Alyssa was the perfect choice."[21] The stint garnered her new fame and she was named the most successful and popular actress on the primetime soap, alongside Heather Locklear.[4] She played the role of Eva Savelot in MCI Inc. commercials. In 2007, Milano filmed a pilot for ABC entitled Reinventing the Wheelers, which was not picked up for the 2007–08 season; instead, Milano appeared in ten episodes of My Name Is Earl.[22]

Milano's commercial work includes two 2007 television ads for Veet and Sheer Cover. She also appeared in a mid-1980s commercial for Hi-C. Milano was part of TBS's special coverage installment Hot Corner for the 2007 Major League Baseball playoffs.[23] 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.[citation needed]

On March 20, 2009 it was announced that Milano voiced Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn in Ghostbusters: The Video Game.[24] 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.[25] It was speculated that following the voice over in the video game, she was set to star in Ghostbusters III, although Milano claimed she was never approached.[25]

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, with writer and director Mike Birbiglia.[26]

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.[27] On why she accepted the role, Milano commented:

I was so attracted to the writing. Our creative showrunner is Ricky Blitt from Family Guy and I was struck at how funny the female characters were written. Usually the female characters are written pretty straightforward, like the straight-man but with Ricky’s writing, the women get to be equally as funny. That was what hooked me. James Burrows, who’s our director, is another major part of what attracted me to the show. It just seemed like a really good package and something that I could commit to in the long-term.[25] On May 16, 2010, the series was canceled after four episodes had aired.[28]

On the show's cancellation, Milano wrote on her website:

It would be so very, very, easy for me to be upset and bitter about [it]. But... I'm not upset or bitter. [...] I am well aware that I'm in a business that sometimes makes decisions that are inexplicable. Dealing with those decisions is almost just as much a part of the job as memorizing my dialogue. My only true sadness comes from not being able to see Ricky, Mr. Burrows, Josh, Kelly and Kyle's face every day.[29]

She produced and led the cast of Lifetime's TV film Sundays at Tiffany's.[30] which was her second collaboration with Lifetime, after Wisegal (2008).[30]

2011–present[edit]

Milano starred in two comedy films, Hall Pass and New Year's Eve.[31] In 2013, Milano created the graphic novel Hacktivist, which was written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly and drawn by Marcus To.[32] In June 2013, she played Savannah Davis in ABC drama series Mistresses which is about the scandalous lives of four girlfriends,[33] but she left the show after season two, due to conflict between filming location and family issue.[34][35] She signed on as host and judge Project Runway: All Stars beginning with season three.[36] On March 2, 2015, Milano guest hosted in The Talk, about Sara Gilbert welcoming her child.[37]

Humanitarian and political causes[edit]

Milano for PETA

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 works 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. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the United States. She traveled to India, Kosovo and Angola, to work with UNICEF field officers there.

In 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 schools' photo work. In the late 1980s she appeared on Phil Donahue's talk show to kiss Ryan White, a schoolboy ostracised for having AIDS, to show that she would not catch it from him.[38] In support of PETA, she appeared in an advertisement for them, advocating vegetarianism, in a dress made entirely of vegetables.[39] In honor of her 37th birthday (December 19, 2009), Milano ran an online fundraising campaign for Charity:Water. Her original goal was to raise $25,000, but a donation from her husband put her over the $75,000 mark on December 18. The fundraiser was scheduled to run until December 26.[40] In September 2013, Milano released a viral tape on Funny or Die that drew attention to the Syrian civil war.[41][42]

Personal life[edit]

Milano has dyslexia. In a 2004 interview, she explained how she deals with the disorder:

I've stumbled over words while reading from teleprompters. Sir John Gielgud, whom I worked with on The Canterville Ghost years ago, gave me great advice. When I asked how he memorized his monologues, he said, "I write them down." I use that method to this day. It not only familiarizes me with the words, it makes them my own.[43]

Milano is a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and writes a regular baseball blog on the Major League Baseball's website.[44]

In 2007, she launched her signature "Touch" line of team apparel for female baseball fans, selling it through her blog and Major League Baseball's website.[44] It also became available in 2009 through a boutique store located in Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.[45] She has an interest in the Los Angeles Kings,[46] 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.[47] In 2013, Milano expanded "Touch" into NASCAR.[48]

Outside of acting, her hobbies include photography, humanitarian work, and spending time with her three dogs and eight horses. Milano has commented on her love for animals, and in a 2009 interview discussed one of her dogs, a German shepherd called Pinto, who had died at the age of 14; he had worked with the Los Angeles Police Department and Milano had owned him for 10 years. Milano is also a soccer fan and supports Inter Milan and New York Red Bulls.[49]

Marriages[edit]

On January 1, 1999, Milano married singer Cinjun Tate; they divorced in November of the same year.[50]

After one year of dating, Milano became engaged to Creative Artists Agency agent David Bugliari in December 2008,[51] and they married on August 15, 2009 at Bugliari's family home in New Jersey.[52] They have two children.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1984 Old Enough Diane
1985 Commando Jenny Matrix
1989 Speed Zone! Lurleen a.k.a. Cannonball Fever
1991 Where the Day Takes You Kimmy
1992 Little Sister Diana
1993 Conflict of Interest Eve
1994 Double Dragon Marian Delario
1995 Embrace of the Vampire Charlotte Wells
1995 Glory Daze Chelsea
1995 Deadly Sins Cristina Herrera
1996 Poison Ivy II: Lily Lily Leonetti
1996 Fear Margo Masse
1996 Jimmy Zip Francesca Short
1997 Below Utopia Susanne Also producer
1997 Hugo Pool Hugo Dugay
2002 Buying the Cow Amy
2002 Kiss the Bride Amy Kayne
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Cyndi
2005 Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone 26 Voice role
2007 The Blue Hour Allegra
2008 Pathology Gwen Williamson
2010 My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Jesse Young Also producer
2011 Hall Pass Mandy Bohac
2011 New Year's Eve Nurse Mindy Segment: "Hospital Story"

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1984–1992 Who's the Boss? Samantha Micelli 196 episodes
1986 The Canterville Ghost Jennifer Canterville Movie
1988 Crash Course Vanessa Crawford Movie (a.k.a. Driving Academy)
1988 Dance 'til Dawn Shelley Sheridan Movie
1989 Living Dolls Samantha Micelli 2 episodes
1993 Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story Amy Fisher Movie
1993 At Home with the Webbers Fan (cameo) Movie
1993 Candles in the Dark Sylvia Velliste Movie
1994 Confessions of a Sorority Girl Rita Summers Movie
1995 The Surrogate Amy Winslow Movie
1995 The Outer Limits Hannah Valesic Episode: "Caught in the Act"
1996 To Brave Alaska Denise Harris Movie
1997, 2001 Spin City Meg Winston 2 episodes
1997–1998 Melrose Place Jennifer Mancini 40 episodes; recurring role, seasons 5–7
1998 Goldrush: A Real Life Alaskan Adventure Frances Ella 'Fizzy' Fitz Movie
1998 Fantasy Island Gina Williams Episode: "Superfriends"
1998–2006 Charmed Phoebe Halliwell 178 episodes; also producer in season 5
2001 The Diamond Hunters Tracy Van der Byl Miniseries
2001 Family Guy Herself (live-action) Episode: "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington"
2004 The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius April the Gorlock (voice) Episode: "Win, Lose and Kaboom"
2007–2008 My Name Is Earl Billie Cunningham 17 episodes (recurring)
2008 Wisegal Patty Montanari Movie; also producer
2010 Castle Kyra Blaine Episode: "A Rose for Everafter"
2010 Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil Scarlett Rosetti (voice) Episode: "Frame Story/And... Action!"
2010 Sundays at Tiffany's Jane Claremont Movie; also producer
2010; 2011 Romantically Challenged Rebecca Thomas 6 episodes
2011 Young Justice Poison Ivy (voice) Episode: "Revelation"
2011, 2012 Breaking In Amy 2 episodes[53]
2013–2014 Mistresses Savannah "Savi" Davis 26 episodes
2013–present Project Runway: All Stars Herself Host and judge
2015 Rupaul's Drag Race Herself judge

Direct-to-video[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Public Enemies Amaryllis
2001 Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Angel
2010 DC Showcase: The Spectre Aimee Brenner (voice) Short
2011 Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 Biminy

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn

Discography[edit]

Milano's discography includes four studio albums, two compilations, and eleven singles. These albums were only commercially available in Japan, with the exception of one single that was only available in France and a charity single that was available in the U.S.

Studio albums
Year Information Peak positions
JPN[54]
1989 Look in My Heart
  • First Studio Album
  • Released: March 25, 1989
  • Formats: vinyl, cassette, CD
68
1989 Alyssa
  • Second Studio Album
  • Released: October 25, 1989
  • Formats: vinyl, cassette, CD
15
1991 Locked Inside a Dream
  • Third Studio Album
  • Released: May 21, 1991
  • Formats: vinyl, cassette, CD
19
1992 Do You See Me?
  • Fourth Studio Album
  • Released: September 18, 1992
  • Formats: vinyl, cassette, CD
47
Compilations
Year Information Peak positions
JPN[54]
1990 The Best in the World: Non-Stop Special Remix/Alyssa's Singles
  • Remix/Hits Album
  • Released: February 21, 1990
  • Formats: Cassette, CD
9
1995 The Very Best of Alyssa Milano
  • Hits Album
  • Released: 1995 (Promo Only)
  • Formats: CD
Singles
Year Single Album Peak positions
U.S. U.S. AC JPN[55]
1989 "What a Feeling" Look in My Heart
"Look In My Heart"
"Straight to the Top"
"I Had a Dream" Alyssa
"Happiness"
1990 "The Best in the World" The Best in the World 85
"I Love When We're Together"1 Single Only
1991 "New Sensation" Locked Inside a Dream
"Voices That Care" 1 Single Only 11 6
1992 "Do You See Me?" Do You See Me?
1993 "No Secret" 2 Locked Inside a Dream

Footnotes:

  • 1 Non-album single
  • 2 Only released in France
Other recordings
  • "Teen Steam" – Theme song from Alyssa Milano's Teen Steam Workout Video (1988)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
1985 Young Artist Award Best Young Supporting Actress in a Television Series Who's the Boss? Won
1986 Young Artist Award Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Starring in a Feature Film – Comedy or Drama Commando Nominated
1987 Young Artist Award Best Young Female Superstar in Television Who's the Boss? Won
1988 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress in a TV Special, Pilot, Movie of the Week, or Mini-Series Dance 'til Dawn Nominated
1988 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actress Who's the Boss? Won
1989 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Won
1990 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Won
2001 Annie Award Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Feature Production Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure Nominated
RATTY Awards Outstanding Ensemble in a Science Fiction Series[56] Charmed Nominated
Wand Awards Best Fight (Alyssa Milano and Shannen Doherty)[57] Nominated
2004 Spacey Awards Favorite Female TV Character (Phoebe Halliwell)[57] Nominated
2005 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Television Actress[58] Nominated
2006 Teen Choice Awards Television – Choice Actress[59] Nominated
2007 AOL TV Top TV Witches (Phoebe Halliwell)[60][61] 7th
2008 Top TV Witches (Phoebe Halliwell)[62] 7th
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic TV Actress Mistresses Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Alyssa Milano profile at". FilmReference.com. Retrieved 2003-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Alyssa Milano Revisits New York Roots". cbsnews. February 11, 2009. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "How Alyssa Milano Became TV's Sexiest Witch" by Stephen Saban. Ocean Drive Magazine, November 1999
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Suju Vijayan, Julie Frankel, Alyssa Milano (2003). "Intimate Portrait: Alyssa Milano". Intimate Portrait. Lifetime. 
  5. ^ Slewinsky, Christy (October 19, 1995). "WHO'S THE MOM? MILANO IN 'SURROGATE'". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  6. ^ "Alyssa Shows She's The Boss", Teen Beat, April 1988. p. 46
  7. ^ a b Jules Asner, Alyssa Milano (July 1, 2002). "Revealed with Jules Asner: Alyssa Milano". Revealed with Jules Asner. E!. 
  8. ^ Lavin, Cheryl (April 24, 1988). "VITAL STATISTICS ALYSSA MILANO". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  9. ^ a b Bonnie Hunt (May 14, 2009). "The Bonnie Hunt Show". The Bonnie Hunt Show. Season 1. NBC. 
  10. ^ a b c Avasthi, Surabhi (April 14, 1996). "Q and A TV-Kid-Turned-Movie-Star Alyssa Milano". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  11. ^ Under The Scene. The Little Mermaid Blu-Ray: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. 2013. 
  12. ^ Wisdom, Barry (July 16, 2012). "Perfectly performed 'Little Mermaid' surfaces on Music Circus stage". Examiner.com (Google cache). Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  13. ^ ""STAGE: 'All Night Long'" by Frank Rich". The New York Times. 1984-03-29. Retrieved 2008-02-10. [dead link]
  14. ^ Variety magazine. September 26, 1986.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Arkush, Michael (December 29, 1991). "Goodbye to Samantha : Alyssa Milano will leave her long-running 'Who's the Boss?' TV sitcom role : in the spring, and at 19 she is eager to embark on a new artistic path". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  16. ^ a b "Alyssa Milano: Idol Chatter" by Mark Ebner. Premiere Magazine, 1995.
  17. ^ MISCELLANEOUS NOTES for Casualties of Love Turner Classic Movies
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  20. ^ Variety magazine. December 12, 1996.
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  37. ^ Christie D'Zurilla, Jason Merritt (March 2, 2015). "Sara Gilbert and Linda Perry are parents of a new baby boy.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
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External links[edit]