Ashley Michelle Tisdale was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey to Lisa Morris and contractor Michael Tisdale. Her father is Christian and her mother is Jewish; she was raised with "a little bit of both" religions. Tisdale's elder sister Jennifer is an actress and producer. She is also related to businessman Ron Popeil through her maternal grandfather Arnold Morris who was best known for being a pitchman for the Ginsu knife. At the age of three, Tisdale met her manager, Bill Perlman, at a New Jersey mall. He sent her to various auditions for commercials, and she was placed in more than one hundred national network TV advertisements as a child. She began her theatrical career by appearing in Gypsy: A Musical Fable and The Sound of Music at Monmouth County's Jewish Community Center. Tisdale was eight years old when she was cast to play the part of Cosette in the musical Les Misérables, and only recalled taking a single singing lesson before landing the role. In 2007, Tisdale told Newsday, "When I was little, I saw the play Les Misérables on Broadway. I thought it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, so I went to my manager and told him I wanted to be in it". Tisdale toured for two years with Les Misérables before landing a role in a touring production of Annie in Korea.