She was born as Ana Alicia Ortiz in Mexico City to Carlos Celestino Ortiz and Alicia Torres Ortiz, who ran businesses in Acapulco, Mexico. She was the third of four children. Her family moved to El Paso, Texas when she was a child of 6 years old after the passing of her father. There, she lived with her grandmother, widowed mother, her uncle Louie and three siblings in a house her father had purchased for her grandmother. Upon graduating high school in 1972, Ortiz earned a scholarship to Wellesley College. Upon arrival at Wellesley College, Ana Alicia auditioned and won the lead role for Jules Feiffer's "Crawling Arnold". On summer break after her freshmen year, Ana Alicia auditioned for The Adobe Horseshoe Dinner Theatre outside El Paso, Texas. The theatre offered her a position as a recurring actress in all feature productions. The opportunity would allow her to work with name actors from Hollywood and New York and receive a large weekly salary. She accepted the offer and also acquired her actor's equity card through her term. She left Wellesley College, instead pursuing her bachelor's degree in drama at the University of Texas at El Paso to be closer to her mother and three brothers. Her first professional role under an AEA contract was as one of the Pigeon Sisters in a production of The Odd Couple starring Bob Denver at The Adobe Horseshoe Dinner Theater in El Paso.
Ana Alicia spent the next three years, performing in main stage productions at UTEP as well as having significant roles in the Adobe Horseshoe repertoire.
After earning her degree in 1977, Ortiz moved to Los Angeles and started auditioning for roles in various productions. She won the part of Alicia Nieves on Ryan's Hope, a daytime soap opera, moving to New York City for taping. After fifteen months on the show, Ortiz moved back to Los Angeles part-time and kept auditioning while attending law school at Southwestern University at night back in Texas. Eventually, her acting opportunities suffered and she decided to pursue acting full-time.
Now going by "Ana Alicia" professionally, she landed several guest roles in episodic television, including Starbuck's love interest, Aurora, in the 1979 Battlestar Galactica episode "Take the Celestra" and Gloria Alonzo in the episode "Space Croppers" of the series sequel Galactica 1980. Between these she appeared as Falina Redding in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Vegas in Space." Then, she played a major role in the 1981 TV movie Coward Of The County, which also starred Kenny Rogers and was based on his hit song of the same name. Next Ana Alicia auditioned for the role of spoiled, selfish vineyard heiress Melissa Agretti on Falcon Crest as a replacement for actress Delores Cantú who had played Melissa for one episode in early 1982. Melissa went on to become the series' "love to hate" character and a firm fan favorite, as a worthy rival for the show's arch-villainess Angela Channing, played by Jane Wyman. In 1979 Ana Alicia appeared in the made-for-TV movie The Sacketts as Drusilla, the love of Tyrell Sackett. The movie was based on the Louis L'Amour books The Sacketts and The Daybreakers. Ana Alicia appeared in the 1983 TV-movie, Happy Endings, opposite John Schneider and her former Ryan's Hope co-star, Catherine Hicks.
In 1989, Ortiz appeared with Raúl Juliá in the movie Romero, her only non-television film role apart from Halloween II in 1981. Then in 1990, Ana Alicia appeared in the 1990 made-for-TV movie Miracle Landing as flight attendant Michelle Honda. The film is based on an in-flight accident aboard Aloha Airlines Flight 243 that occurred in April 1988. Ana Alicia continued to play guest roles on episodic television, including two episodes in the action series Renegade which reunited her with her former Falcon Crest screen husband Lorenzo Lamas. This was her last known acting role. She has taken a hiatus to raise her family.
Alicia sang two songs on the soap, Falcon Crest. The first song was called Goody Goody and is a famous 1936 song composed by Matty Malneck with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The song was first sung by Bing Crosby. The second song was Body and Soul. It was written by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton and Johnny Green in 1930. The song was presented by Libby Holman in the revue Three's a Crowd and used as the theme of the 1947 film, Body and Soul, becoming a jazz favorite.
In October 2010, Ana Alicia appeared in a promotional video for the Norwegian television show Gylne Tider. She and other celebrities filmed a cover of The Beatles song "Let It Be."
Ana Alicia was the national spokesperson for the Humane Society. She has given out awards promoting Hispanic accomplishments in the media from the Golden Eagle Awards.
Alicia married Gary Benz on April 24, 1994. They have two children.