Alyssa Jayne Milano (born December 19, 1972), 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. Milano grew up in Staten Island, New York and was raised Catholic. She began her career at the age of eight 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 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.
She won Kids' Choice Awards in 1988, '89, and '90 for her role on Who's the Boss? She was nominated for an "Annie" Award for her work on Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure.
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 Berkley. 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 Charmed (1998-2006). Both Milano and Holly Marie Combs became producers for Charmed during the show's fifth season. In 2007, Milano filmed a pilot for ABC entitled Reinventing the Wheelers. The series was not picked up for the 2007-2008 season. She also played the role of Eva Savelot in the MCI's 1-800-COLLECT commercials.
On stage, she starred in Tender Offer, a one-act play written by Wendy Wasserstein, All Night Long, and the first American musical adaptation of Jane Eyre. She returned to her theater roots 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.
Starting in November 2007 Milano will appear in a minimum of eight episodes on the show My Name is Earl as a "possible love interest for Jason Lee". This will reunite her with Jaime Pressly who guest starred in the Season 5 premiere of Charmed, A Witch's Tail.
Outside of acting, her hobbies include photography, humanitarian work and spending time with her three dogs and eight horses.
"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."
Milano is an avid fan of tattoos, and has eight of them located in various areas of her body. Including, both wrists, ankles, shoulder, neck, lower stomach and lower back. Not only that, but Milano is also an avid fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2007 she created her own signature "Touch" line of team apparel for female baseball fans, currently available on Major League Baseball's website, along with her own baseball blog. Milano is also a strong Vegetarian and appears in numerous PETA advertising campaigns for Vegetarianism.
Milano was recently appointed Founding Ambassador for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases. 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 also 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 launched 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 photo work and a school's photo work. Milano is also a strong supporter of PETA and appeared in an advert for them wearing only fruit and vegetables, advocating Vegetarianism.