Kate's Notes

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kelly Monaco

Kelly Monaco

Kelly Marie Monaco (born May 23, 1976 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is best known for dancing her well formed legs into America’s hearts by dazzling the audience and judges alike, and winning the first season of “Dancing with the Stars.” However, she has had quite a successful reign as a Playboy model (she is featured in tens of Playboy magazine editions), she has been in several movies, and is still currently playing the role of Samantha McCall on the soap opera "General Hospital,” and she has been nominated twice for an acting Emmy.

Early Life

The third of five daughters, Monaco was born on May 23, 1976, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in a traditional Italian Catholic household. The Monacos relocated from the big city to the rural Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania before Kelly became a teenager. Although she was initially unhappy about the move, she eventually learned to love her peaceful surroundings.

She grew up with a love of sports, and played soccer, swimming, and track, and worked as a lifeguard for several years while attending a community college, until she broke into modeling. Monaco proudly states that she is a born competitor. In addition to athletics, she participated intensely in speech, debate, and theater during high school. However, she has stated: “I was on the track team in high school because I wasn't comfortable with distance running. Personally, my boobs were too big and it hurt! I always had problems with that, I developed very young.”

As a young adult, Monaco moved to Los Angeles with dreams to become an actress. Success was limited for several years, and without much money, she was forced to live in her car, and shower at the local gym.

Acting Career

Her starving income was finally fed, when Monaco got her first television role on the nighttime drama “Baywatch” from 1997 to 1998, starring David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, and Carmen Electra. In addition to playing the role of Susan on the show, Monaco also was Carmen Electra's body double at times, as Electra could not swim. Monaco also had minor roles in the late 1990s-films BASEketball, with Trey Parker and Matt Stoke, Idle Hands, and Mumford.

Monaco had two roles on the supernatural television soap opera “Port Charles”: Olivia “Livvie” Locke Morley (1999–2003) and Tess Ramsey (2002–2003). When that program ended, she joined the cast of soap opera “General Hospital” as con woman Samantha “Sam” McCall in September 2003.

In 2003, Monaco was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role on the soap opera “Port Charles.” In 2006, Monaco was again nominated for a Daytime Emmy, this time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Sam McCall on "General Hospital."

Modeling and Other Media

In 1996, Monaco sent nude modeling photos of herself to Playboy and in April 1997, she became the Playboy Playmate of the Month. Throughout her tenure with Playboy in the 1990s, Monaco was also featured in over 25 Playboy editions.

She was a booth babe for Eidos Interactive at the 1999 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California.

Kelly is also enjoying her status as a magazine model, on the cover of Maxim's September 2005 issue, as well as in Playboy's November 2005 issue – the magazine is reissuing Monaco's pictorial from her April 1997 appearance.

Dancing with the Stars

In Summer 2005, Monaco appeared as a contestant in the highly-rated American version of the television series “Dancing with the Stars.” Her costar-contestants included Trista Rehn Sutter (The Bachelor contestant and the Bachelorette in series one) partnered with Louis van Amstel (eliminated first), Evander Holyfield (heavyweight boxer) partnered with Edyta Sliwinska (eliminated second), Rachel Hunter (model) partnered with Jonathan Roberts (eliminated third), Joey McIntyre (singer and actor) partnered with Ashly DelGrosso (eliminated fourth), John O'Hurley (actor and TV host) partnered with Charlotte Jørgensen (runners-up), and finally Kelly Monaco (actress) partnered with Alec Mazo (won).

This was viewed by some as an upset, whereas others suspected ballot-box stuffing, a frequent complaint of Internet-based voting. This was discussed briefly on a “Larry King Live” interview with several members of the show, but was not pursued by runner-up John O'Hurley, who took the high road and declared that participation and viewer popularity were more important to him than winning. However, it was decided to have a "Dance-Off" special as a follow up to this controversial result, with a presumably lessened chance of Internet voting skewing the results. It was held "live" on September 20, 2005 and results were announced two days later. This time, O'Hurley and his dance partner Charlotte emerged as the winners. From appearances, it is fair to say that Monaco was as happy about losing this match as O'Hurley was about losing the regular competition.

The win on “Dancing With the Stars” boosted her visibility level considerably and resulted in a number of appearances on talk shows as well as new job offers, but she stated that she intends to remain with "General Hospital."

Temporary Return to Modeling

She attempted to clean up her image, and move away from posing for Playboy after the 1990s. Since then, Monaco has made numerous cover appearances in other men’s magazines such as FHM and Maxim magazine. Along with her Maxim feature in 2005, the magazine also awarded her 13th place on their annual Hot 100 List in May 2006.

Personal Life and Relationships

Monaco has been rumored to be single for several years because of her solo appearances at public events. However, she says that for the past 15 years, she has been dating her childhood sweetheart, Michael Gonzalez. On a recent interview on "The View", she states that as a 30-year-old woman, she is in no rush to get married, and that she feels as if she already is.


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