Milo Anthony Ventimiglia ( born July 8, 1977) is an American actor. He is known for his role as Peter Petrelli on the NBC television series Heroes. Ventimiglia’s first career break was in the Fox series Opposite Sex, playing Jed Perry, the protagonist of the show. Ventimiglia was first noticed by fans during his three-year stint on the WB series Gilmore Girls, playing Rory Gilmore’s love interest Jess Mariano from 2001 until his final appearance in 2006.
After his own WB series The Bedford Diaries, a recurring role as Meg Pryor’s love interest on NBC’s American Dreams, and playing Rocky Balboa’s son in the sixth installment of the Rocky series, Rocky Balboa, Ventimiglia’s big break came in 2006 when he received the part of nurse-turned-superhero Peter Petrelli for four seasons on NBC’s Heroes. He stars as Ian Mitchell in the Crackle original series Chosen as well as Sean Bennigan on The Whispers. He currently stars as Jack Pearson in the NBC series This Is Us which premiered in September 2016.
Ventimiglia was born in Anaheim, California, the son of Carol (née Wilson) and Peter Ventimiglia, a Vietnam veteran. His father is of Sicilian descent and his mother is of English and Scottish descent. The youngest of three children, he has two older sisters, Leslie and Laurel. Ventimiglia was born with a self-described “crooked mouth” that is the result of damaged nerves on the left side, which cause that side to remain immobile, much like, incidentally, actor Sylvester Stallone, with whom he worked in Rocky Balboa.
Ventimiglia attended El Modena High School in Orange, California, where he wrestled, acted in drama productions and held the office of president in student government. He graduated in 1995. At eighteen years of age, Ventimiglia studied at the American Conservatory Theater for their summer program. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles as a theatre major
At 18 years of age, Ventimiglia started auditioning, booking jobs, and working his way up. His first starring role was as a gay teenager in Must Be the Music, a short film released as part of Strand Releasing’s Boys Life 2. From there, Ventimiglia studied at UCLA before landing a role on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He has guest starred on such television series as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Boston Public. He had the part of the main character, Jed Perry, in the short-lived FOX TV series, Opposite Sex.
From 2001 to 2004, Ventimiglia played brooding teen Jess Mariano on Gilmore Girls; he was introduced in the second season as a main cast member. In season four he dropped down to a guest star/recurring cast member, and he came back for two episodes in season six. He signed on for a spin-off of Gilmore Girls called Windward Circle which was to be focused on the relationship between Jess and his estranged father (played by Rob Estes), but the proposed series never made it to air.
In the third and final season of American Dreams, Ventimiglia played Chris Pierce, the rebellious boyfriend of Meg Pryor (Brittany Snow). Pierce and his single mother, Shelly (Daphne Zuniga), a Playboy bunny, move into the house next to the Pryors. Pierce evades the draft, fearing he will be forced to fight in the Vietnam War, where Meg Pryor’s older brother, J.J. (Will Estes) was wounded. In 2005, he starred in the mid-season replacement series The Bedford Diaries, for which he did not have to audition. The producers had only Ventimiglia in mind but the show lasted only eight episodes and was one of several shows not picked up by the newly formed network The CW. During his off-time from television and production work, he has had supporting roles in horror films such as Cursed and Stay Alive as well as starring roles in the short-film Intelligence and the full-length feature Dirty Deeds. Most recently, he played Robert “Rocky Jr.” Balboa, the son of Rocky Balboa, in the sixth Rocky installment Rocky Balboa which was released in December 2006.
He starred as Peter Petrelli in the NBC program Heroes, a show about “ordinary” people discovering they have superpowers. Alongside his work in “Heroes,” Ventimiglia has also taken on other projects. In mid-2007 he starred as the love interest of pop/R&B singer Fergie in the music video for “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. In 2008, he starred in the horror film Pathology. The movie co-starred Charmed actress Alyssa Milano and was directed by Marc Schoelermann for MGM.
After working with writers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor on Pathology, Ventimiglia appeared in the pair’s next film, Gamer. Ventimiglia also starred in the Xavier Gens apocalypse thriller film, The Divide.
Ventimiglia was the voice of Wolverine in the English dub of the Marvel Anime: Wolverine anime series and reprised his role in an episode of the Marvel Anime: Iron Man and an episode of Marvel Anime: Blade. He did not return to voice Wolverine in Marvel Anime: X-Men, due to that series portraying an older Wolverine, instead Wolverine was voiced by Steven Blum. He played Ned Stax, a former marine, in Frank Darabont’s short-lived neo-noir crime drama Mob City for TNT. Ventimiglia stars in the upcoming suspense thriller Devil’s Gate, alongside Amanda Schull.
In addition to being hired as a second unit director for the 2003 and 2004 “Image Campaigns” for the former WB Network, Divide Pictures (the production company he co-owns and operates with Russ Cundiff), Ventimiglia is now producing and developing a mini web-series called It’s a Mall World as part of a marketing campaign for American Eagle Outfitters. The webisodes are due to start airing on American Eagle’s official, during episodes of the new season of MTV’s The Real World, and in American Eagle stores nationwide on August 2. According to American Eagle’s website, Ventimiglia will be directing the series, while his friend Cundiff will be the producer. In 2005, Divide Pictures created the DSC, or Divide Social Club, an online and global social network for like-minded people co-founded by Ventimiglia with his best friends Cundiff and Dino DeMilio, a radio producer for The Tom Leykis Show. Ventimiglia, Cundiff, and Divide Pictures partnered with Top Cow to produce the comic series REST which will be a monthly limited series. The comic is about John Barrett, a white-collar New Yorker whose life changes when he becomes addicted to a drug that prevents him from falling asleep. Divide also has a comic book called Berserker written by Rick Loverd.
Ventimiglia and fellow former Gilmore Girls co-star Alexis Bledel were in a relationship from December 2001 to June 2006. Ventimiglia also dated his Heroes co-star Hayden Panettiere from December 2007 to February 2009.
Ventimiglia is a lifelong lacto-vegetarian and was named People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Sexiest Vegetarian in 2009. He also does not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. He is a fan of seminal British punk band The Clash, and is an avid skateboard fan.
Ventimiglia took a United Service Organization tour from July 6 to 12, 2008 in support of American troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is active on behalf of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) helping in April 2009 to launch a national public service advertisement campaign, SupportYourVet.org, which gives friends and family of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans tools to support their transition home from war.