Alyssa Milano is an American actress best known for her television roles as Samantha Micelli on the sitcom Who's the Boss? (1984-1992), and as Phoebe Halliwell on the supernatural series Charmed, from 1998-2006.
She also has a starring role as Savannah "Savi" Davis, a lawyer who is Harry's wife and the older sister of Joss who deviates from the strict moral code she’s set for herself, in television drama series Mistresses.
Milano was born in New York, 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 11, 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.
She won Kids' Choice Awards in 1988, '89, and '90 for her role on Who's the Boss?. She 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?. 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.
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.
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 theatre roots in 1991, when she starred in and produced a Los Angeles production of Butterflies Are Free. Alyssa also appeared in the Josie music video by Blink-182.
In 2007 Milano began appearing in the show My Name is Earl as a love interest for Jason Lee.
Outside of acting, her hobbies include photography, humanitarian work and spending time with her four dogs; Ripley, Stella, Hugo, and Lucy. Her other pets are birds and horses.
Milano suffers from dyslexia. In an interview in 2004, Milano 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".
Milano is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2007 she created her own signature "Touch" line of team apparel for female baseball fans. She also maintains a baseball blog.
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 supporter of PETA.
Alyssa has seven tattoos. She has a sacred heart on her behind, a fairy kneeling in grass on her hip, rosary beads on her back, an angel on her left ankle, an Orobous (a snake biting its own tail) on her right wrist, an "om" on the other wrist and a garland of flowers around her right ankle.
In 2013 she took over from Carolyn Murphy as host of the reality competition series Project Raunway All Stars.