First gaining fame as “Playboy's” “Playmate of the Month” in April 1997, Kelly Monaco ventured into acting and received her earliest role as a rookie lifeguard on the syndicated program “Baywatch.” She then played dual roles, Olivia 'Livvie' Locke (1999-2003) and Tess Ramsey (2002-2003), on the ABC Daytime drama "Port Charles," which earned her a Daytime Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
She now plays Samantha 'Sam' McCall (2003-Present), the mistress of mob boss Sonny Corinthos, and Alicia Montenegro (2005-Present), on ABC's longest-running soap opera, “General Hospital,” which handed her a second Daytime Emmy nomination, this time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
“The best part of my job is getting up every morning and loving what I do. Most of the time, I can't wait to get there.” Kelly Monaco
In 2005, Monaco became America's new dancing queen after winning the first season of the hit ABC celebrity dance competition series, "Dancing with the Stars."
On the big screen, she could be seen in the films "BASEketball" (1998), "Idle Hands" (1999), "Mumford" (1999) and "Welcome to Hollywood" (2000).
The 5' 3" dark-haired soap siren with 34D-21½-31½ measurements has made cover appearances in scantily-clad magazines such as “FHM” and “Maxim.” She was voted one of the “Top 5 Actresses” by the readers in the September 18, 2001, issue of “ABC Soaps In Depth” and one of “Daytime's 10 Most Beautiful Women” in the September 25, 2001, issue of “Soap Opera Digest.” In the January 1, 2002, issue of “Soap Opera Update,” she was named one of “Soaps' Most Beautiful Women,” and in 2003, was voted one of the “Top 5 Actresses” five times in a row by the readers of “ABC Soaps In Depth” in the June 24th, July 8th, July 22nd, August 5th, and August 19th issues.
“You can’t intrude on a woman unless you’re invited in, but so many men end up in a corner and just kind of bob their heads or tap their feet. Go out! Dance! Be free! I’d rather see a guy out there making an ass of himself than holding up the wall.” Kelly Monaco
On a more personal note, Kelly has been in a relationship with her high school sweetheart, Michael Gonzalez, for the past 15 years. She is close friends with co-stars Nancy Lee Grahn, Greg Vaughan, Tyler Christopher, Rebecca Herbst, Laura Wright, Kirsten Storms, and Steve Burton.
Childhood and Family:
“I was always wild, crazy, obnoxious. I would try anything once.” Kelly Monaco
Born in the bustling city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 23, 1976, Kelly Marie Monaco moved with her family to the more peaceful environment of the Poconos, a mountainous region of Pennsylvania, where she developed a love of the great outdoors and enjoyed hiking, climbing trees, fishing, camping and swimming.
Daughter to a father who was an avid hunter and a mother who was a figure skating instructor and former Olympic hopeful, Kelly and her five sisters grew up athletic. She was taught to ice skate by her mother and participated in soccer, swimming, track and softball, among other sports. She and her sisters also helped their father build tree stands.
Her father got Kelly her first job as a busgirl in a local restaurant when she was 11. Around that age, she became a vegetarian after being hospitalized for a week with food poisoning. Later at age 15, she made good money selling hot dogs from a cart at a golf course.
As a young girl, she attended St. Joachim's Roman Catholic School in Philadelphia. In addition to athletics, born competitor Kelly participated in speech, debate and theater in high school. She graduated from Pocono Mountain Sr. High in 1994 and worked as a lifeguard at a resort for several years while attending Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA., until she broke into modeling. She moved to Los Angeles in the late 1990s to pursue her dreams of stardom.
Raised in a traditional Italian Catholic home, Kelly enjoys a close relationship with her family, especially her great-grandmother, Beatrice Mervine, who passed away on July 4, 2004, three days before her 95th birthday. Kelly adored her great-grandmother so much and has spoken lovingly of her in several interviews. Her great-grandmother is even quoted in the article accompanying Kelly's “Playmate of the Month” pictorial in the April 1997 issue of “Playboy.” Kelly has since been involved in numerous children's charity events and programs for the elderly.
Kelly currently resides in West Hollywood, California. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to rap music and playing with her pet dog. She also spends her free time training for triathlons and is now a member of the Playboy X-Treme Team, which participates in the nationwide Hi-Tec Adventure Race series.
“I don’t think I’m that tough. I think its heart and inner strength. I’m like an ant. I look little, but if you pick and poke enough, I’ll bite back.” Kelly Monaco
Dancing with the Stars
"I've always wanted to be a star. Growing up, I wanted to be an actress." Kelly Monaco
Wanting to be famous from a young age, Kelly Monaco sent nude photos of herself to “Playboy” magazine in 1996 and found herself months later doing a photo shoot for the men's magazine in Chicago. Before her 21st birthday, the 5' 3" dark-haired beauty made her “Playboy” debut as the magazine's “Miss April 1997,” and subsequently was also featured in many “Playboy Special Edition” publications. Additionally, she starred in numerous Playboy-produced home videos, including “Playboy: Video Playmate Calendar 1998” (1997) and “Playboy: Girls Next Door” (1997). The work allowed her the opportunity to travel to many exotic locations, including Fiji, Honduras, and throughout South America.
When asked if she feels any conflict between being a Playmate and being a good Catholic girl, Monaco replied, "No, I think being a good Catholic girl is believing in God and trusting in yourself and following your goals. I don't feel like I'm being condemned or criticized by the Almighty. I feel right with my decision and choices and they are mine.”
Soon after, Monaco moved to Los Angeles to become an actress. Monaco, who worked as a lifeguard at a resort while attending Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, PA., before breaking into modeling, landed a recurring role on the syndicated program “Baywatch” in 1997, playing rookie lifeguard Susan. While on the show, she was also Carmen Electra's body double at times, as Electra could not swim. She also continued to appear in “Playboy” videos such as “Playboy: Babes of Baywatch” (1998).
"It wasn't hard because I was following my dream. I'm a free spirit, so it was OK because I knew I was going to conquer something. L.A. is a town of its own. It will eat you alive or you can work and use it to your advantage. The majority of people who leave California give up. If you want it bad enough, you'll get it. You have to follow your heart, stay determined and never give up." Kelly Monaco
Monaco subsequently ventured to the big screen and appeared as a pole-dancing cheerleader named Sharon in director David Zucker's comedy feature film starring "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, “BASEketball” (1998). She followed it up with a small role as Marisa, the landlady's daughter, in writer/director Lawrence Kasdan's feature film "Mumford" (1999), and as Tiffany in a comedy/horror movie starring Devon Sawa, Seth Green, and Jessica Alba, "Idle Hands" (1999). She was also a booth babe for Eidos Interactive at the 1999 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California.
Meanwhile, TV viewers could catch her in the comedic made-for-television movie "Late Last Night" (1999; starring Emilio Estevez), playing a centerfold named Elaina, and in the syndicated tabloid news television show "Hard Copy," in which she served as a correspondent.
“If you want it bad enough, you'll get it. You have to follow your heart, stay determined and never give up.” Kelly Monaco
Entering the new millennium, Monaco appeared as herself in “Welcome to Hollywood” (2000), a mockumentary directed and starred in by Tony Markes and Adam Rifkin and in a "Playboy Mansion" episode of Comedy Central's sketch comedy/satire show, "The Man Show." She also appeared in the music videos for “Change (In the House of Flies)” by the Deftones and “Crazy For This Girl” by Evan and Jaron, as well as in the music video for boy band Take 5's “Shake It Off,” playing one of the girls dancing at a night club.
2001 saw Monaco in the ABC Daytime drama “Port Charles,” a spin-off of the popular serial "General Hospital" where she played Olivia Locke over the next few years. She later portrayed Tess Ramsey on the same series during the 2002-2003 seasons. For her work in the show, Monaco garnered a Daytime Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2003.
"She's not going to tell you this, but she's doing an unbelievable job. She has two very complicated characters with a huge amount of work, and the quality's there." Brian Presley (Kelly Monaco co-star in “Port Charles”)
During this time, she was the “Performer of the Week” in the July 10, 2001, issue of “Soap Opera Digest” and was voted one of the “Top 5 Actresses” by the readers in the September 18, 2001, issue of “ABC Soaps In Depth.” In the September 25, 2001, issue of “Soap Opera Digest,” she was named one of “Daytime's 10 Most Beautiful Women” and in the January 1, 2002, issue of “Soap Opera Update,” she was named one of “Soaps' Most Beautiful Women.” In 2003, she was voted one of the “Top 5 Actresses” five times in a row by the readers of “ABC Soaps In Depth” in the June 24th, July 8th, July 22nd, August 5th, and August 19th issues.
Meanwhile, Monaco was spotted as a guest on the season finale of ABC's sitcom “Spin City” and began portraying Samantha McCall, the reformed bad girl and mistress to mob boss Sonny Corinthos (played by Maurice Benard), on ABC's longest-running soap opera, “General Hospital.” She later began portraying Alicia Montenegro on the same show in 2005 (show is currently still airing as of 2008). In 2006, Monaco earned another Daytime Emmy nomination, this time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
"I love my job; I love being here every day; I love the schedule. It sounds crazy, I know. You don't have a life when you're doing this show, but that keeps me going." Kelly Monaco
Monaco also appeared as herself on the first season of the hit ABC's celebrity dance competition series, "Dancing with the Stars," in 2005. Accompanied by dance partner Alec Mazo, she won the competition.
Following her "Dancing with the Stars" win, Monaco made a temporary return to modeling and graced the cover of “FHM” and “Maxim” magazine. “Maxim” awarded her 13th place on their annual “Hot 100 List” in May 2006.
Meanwhile, she also appeared in “Playboy's” November 2005 issue, which consisted of previously unpublished photos from her “Miss April 1997” shoot. In 2006, she co-hosted the “33rd Daytime Emmy Awards” on ABC.