Alyssa Jayne Milano (born December 19, 1972) is an American actress, model and former pop star.
Born in Brooklyn, New York to Italian-American parents, Alyssa started acting at a young age when she was dragged to an audition for Annie to support a friend. Despite this, Alyssa was the one chosen as the lead at only seven years old. She achieved national fame when she starred as Samantha Micelli on the sitcom Who's the Boss? at the age of eleven.
As is expected with many child actresses, once she reached adulthood, she sought to distance herself from her squeaky clean image and went after a Hotter and Sexier persona — including a sex tape scandal. She managed to avoid becoming a Former Child Star when she landed a role in Melrose Place. But it was her next project that would solidify her fame.
In 1998 a new drama series, about three sisters who discover they are witches, was being produced by Aaron Spelling for The WB. One of the potential lead actresses, Lori Rom, dropped out at the last minute and Alyssa, with whom Spelling had worked on Melrose Place, was given the call. The show was Charmed and it was a worldwide success, lasting for eight seasons and becoming the longest running female-led network show — until Desperate Housewives surpassed it. The early days of Charmed were not without some controversy — a well-publicised feud between Alyssa and the show's lead Shannen Doherty escalated in the third season, resulting in Shannen's departure. Alyssa became a producer of the show from the fifth season onward.
After Charmed ended in 2006, she has had notable roles in My Name Is Earl and Mistresses. In 2013, she settled comfortably into a role as the host of Project Runway: All Stars. Way back in the 80s, she also had a pop music career in Japan. She was also who none other than Princess Ariel was modeled after — something she did not realize until Disney asked her to host the 'Making Of' feature.
Alyssa's Notable Roles:
- Who's the Boss? (1984-1992) as Samantha Micelli
- Commando (1985) as Jenny Matrix
- Double Dragon (1994) (1994) as Marian Delario
- Embrace of the Vampire (1994) as Charlotte
- The Outer Limits (1995) as Hannah Valesic (episode "Caught in the Act")
- Fear (1996) as Margo Masse
- Melrose Place (1997-1998) as Jennifer Mancini
- Poison Ivy II: Lily (1998) as Lily Leonetti.
- Charmed (1998-2006) as Phoebe Halliwell
- Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (2001) as Angel
- Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003) as Cyndi
- My Name Is Earl (2007-2008) as Billie Cunningham
- New Year's Eve (2011) as Nurse Mindy
- Mistresses (2013-2014) as Savannah Davis
- Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil as Scarlett Rosetti
- Young Justice (2010) as Poison Ivy
- The Adventures of Kid Danger as April
- Ask the StoryBots as Chocolatier
- Insatiable as Coralee Armstrong
She also hosts the podcast Sorry Not Sorry, which is focused on social issues.
Tropes associated with Milano and her work:
- Approval of God: A weird case. When she found out that Ariel was modelled off her, she was very flattered.
- Baby Name Trend Starter: It's probably no coincidence that the name "Alyssa" skyrocketed in popularity in the US during the run of Who's the Boss? and then again during the run of Charmed. The name went from being ranked at 230 for girls in 1982 to number 33 in 1989, and then to its peak at number 11 in 1998 and 1999.
- Contractual Purity: Desperate not to be seen as a child star forever, she took grittier roles such as a teen prostitute in Where the Day Takes You and Amy Fishernote in a docudrama. She also appeared nude in the films Embrace of the Vampire, Deadly Sins and Poison Ivy II.
- Creator Backlash:
- Has gone on record to say that she disliked some of Phoebe's more overt Fanservice outfits, which got a bit of Lampshade Hanging.
- Poison Ivy II was something she did to distance herself from her child star days, before Melrose Place helped her out. Years later when interviewed about it, she replied, "I hope my Poison Ivy days are behind me."
- She doesn't look too highly on her music career, feeling her albums weren't that good, despite selling platinum. She has focused exclusively on acting since. In a 2021 Reddit Q&A however, she did admit she had fun with them.
- She regrets having done any nudity in her early twenties, describing it as "the opposite of empowering".
- Disowned Adaptation: Sort of towards Charmed (2018). She was annoyed that none of the original cast or crew were consulted at all, but did say she was glad "a whole new generation gets to love it."
- Dye Hard: She's naturally brunette but has changed her hair many times. Within Charmed's fourth season alone, she had six different hair changes.
- Former Child Star: She looked to be a straight example in the early 90s, but Melrose Place and Charmed proved to be a Career Resurrection for her.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: She gained a huge Japanese fanbase in her child star days, enough for her to be signed to a six-record deal over there.
- I Am Not Spock: She was glad when Who's the Boss ended so she could break out of this, not wanting to be seen as Samantha Micelli. This has been averted thanks to Charmed, Melrose Place and Mistresses.
- Irony as She Is Cast: A famous mermaid princess was modeled after her. Alyssa is terrified of water, which proved interesting when a Charmed episode required her to be turned into a mermaid.
- Ms. Fanservice: She's had no shortage of roles showing off her beauty.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: She left during Season 2 of Mistresses due to a scheduling conflict.
- She Also Did: That's her in the Blink 182 video for "Josie".
- Star-Making Role: Who's the Boss?.
- Those Two Actors: She starred alongside Brian Bloom in the TV movies Crash Course and Dance til Dawn, and cameo'd in his film The Webbers.
- What Could Have Been: Alyssa had been pushing to do Charmed reunion movies for years (Holly Marie Combs likewise), and had mentioned speaking to Netflix about them. The well publicised Twitter feud between Alyssa and Rose McGowan in 2021 makes them unlikely to happen.