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Milo Ventimiglia's Acting Career, From Gilmore Girls to This Is Us

The Emmy Award-winning actor has had many memorable roles, including as the beloved Jack Pearson. 

By Megan Lasher

Milo Ventimiglia starred as Jack Pearson in the hit NBC drama, This Is UsBefore portraying the triplets' complicated, lovable father, though, Ventimiglia had already established himself as a noteworthy actor. 

How to Watch

Watch This Is Us episodes on NBC.

RELATED: Where to Watch and Stream Every Episode of This Is Us

Revisit his rise to fame, including roles on Gilmore Girls and Heroes, and the work he's done in the wake of the tear-jerking fan favorite drama. 

Milo Ventimiglia's Early Television Roles

Milo Ventimiglia circa 2003

The actor's very first credited role on IMDb is as a partygoer in the hit show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in Season 6, Episode 4 ("Bourgie Sings the Blues"). He also appeared on Saved by the Bell (which recently returned to Peacock) as a character named Greg in Season 4, Episode 13 ("The Final Curtain"), and was in Sabrina the Teenage Witch earlier that year. 

Related: Milo Ventimiglia Isn’t Ready to Let Go of This Is Us

Ventimiglia's first recurring role was on the show Opposite Sex alongside Chris Evans in 2000. He played the lead role of Jed Perry, a teenage boy who recently moved to California and learned his father enrolled him in an all-girls school. 

In 2003, he guest-starred on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Milo Ventimiglia in Gilmore Girls

In 2001, Ventimiglia's career reached new heights when he was cast as Jess Mariano in Season 2 of Gilmore Girls. The nephew of Lorelai Gilmore's (Lauren Graham) love interest, Luke Danes (Scott Patterson), Jess brought a great deal of trouble into the small town of Stars Hollow. 

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He challenged the main character, Rory (Alexis Bledel) in battles of wit and was the first character who seemed to be able to out-read the teenage girl, but he ultimately crashed her car and left town in Season 3 after seeing the turmoil he'd brought.

He reprised his role in four episodes of Season 4 and two of Season 6, and later appeared in two episodes of the 2016 reboot, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. 

Milo Ventimiglia's Role on Heroes 

After showing off more of his acting chops in Gilmore Girls, Ventimiglia took on a lead role in the NBC sci-fi series, Heroes, which showed ordinary people discovering their extraordinary superpowers. 

Ventimiglia's role was Peter Petrelli, a hospice nurse who had the power to absorb other people's powers. He was characterized by his kindness and empathy, and dealt with family drama due to a complicated relationship with his older brother, who was a major part in discovering his powers. 

RELATED: Milo Ventimiglia’s Love Letter to Jack | NBC’s This Is Us

Ventimiglia starred in the show for 69 episodes from Season 1 up until the series finale in 2010. 

Milo Ventimiglia played Jack Pearson in This Is Us

Milo Ventimiglia As Jack

In 2016, Ventimiglia appeared in the pilot episode of NBC's hit family drama, This Is Us. He played Jack Pearson, who was raising triplets with his wife, Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore). Throughout the series, audiences learned that Jack died prematurely in a house fire, and much of the plot revolved around his family's grief from the loss. 

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The three triplets, Kate (Chrissy Metz), Randall (Sterling K. Brown), and Kevin (Justin Hartley) went through their adult years missing their father, and the show intercut flashbacks of their younger selves growing up with Jack and Rebecca. 

Ventimiglia was credited as an actor in a total of 101 episodes of This Is Us. He received three Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series throughout his time on the show. 

He also directed three episodes of the show.

What has Milo Ventimiglia done since This Is Us?

Ventimiglia most recently starred in the first season of The Company You Keep, which aired in 2023.  He plays the character Charlie Nicoletti, a con-man who begins a relationship with undercover C.I.A. agent Emma Hill (Catherine Haena Kim). He's also credited as the executive producer

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He also made a brief cameo in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as Sylvio, in Season 5, Episode 2 ("It's a Man, Man, Man, Man World"). ​

Close up of Milo Ventimiglia

What movies has Milo Ventimiglia been in?

As he grew his television career, Ventimiglia also began appearing on the big screen, perhaps most notably as Robert Balboa Jr. in Rocky Balboa (2006) across from Sylvester Stallone. He also starred in the horror film Stay Alive (2005), in which teenage boys had to continue playing a video game or risk death. 

Also in 2005, Ventimiglia starred in the film Dirty Deeds with Zoe Saldana and Mean Girls actress Lacey Chabert. He led the cast of 2008's Pathology.

Following Gilmore Girls and Heroes, he starred in The Divide (2011), Kiss of the Damned (2012), Breaking at the Edge (2013) with Andie MacDowell, Killing Season (2013) with Robert DeNiro and John Travolta, Tell (2014), Madtown (2016), and Devil's Gate (2017). He reprised his role as Robert Balboa Jr. in 2018's Creed II.

In 2019, Ventimiglia starred in the film The Art of Racing in the Rain, which was narrated by Kevin Costner and co-starred Amanda Seyfried.

Catch up on Milo Ventimiglia's career by streaming This Is Us on NBC.com and Heroes on Peacock.