Alyson Hannigan came into the world on March 24th, 1974 to parents Al and Emily. Born in Washington D.C., Alyson began posing for her photographer parents' ads at an early age. Her parents divorced when she was 2 and she moved with her mother to Atlanta, where she was primarily raised. Al, a truck driver, lives in Missouri now while Emily is still in Atlanta, doing real estate.
It was at the tender age of 4 that she started acting and appearing in commercials. Her first acting job was a print ad for Delta and first non-acting job was babysitting (source: WB Questionnaire with Alyson Hannigan, April 2000). Companies and products ranging from Six Flags to Oreos to McDonald's had television ads including a young Alyson. You might also remember her Mylanta commercial in the early 1990's.
Before there was a Mylanta advert, there was a trip that would change the course of her career.
While visiting her dad in California at age 11, Alyson began to get offers from various agents willing to represent the young Hannigan. When she went back to Atlanta, she chatted the possibilities over with her mother, who then moved daughter and mom to California. (Source: TV Data article "Bewitching Alyson Hannigan keeps Buffy fans spellbound" by John Crook, May 2000, Entertainment Features Syndicate)
Feature film My Stepmother is an Alien came a-callin'. With movie father Dan Akroyd and alien stepmom Kim Basinger, the film is a cult classic in its own right. Seth Green had a small role as Alyson's character's boyfriend; little did they know then that, nearly a decade later, the duo would portray a couple onscreen again. In between Stepmother and BtVS, Seth was on one episode of Free Spirit, on which Alyson was a regular.
Television parts rolled in, little by little. When the television series The Torkelsons was revamped into Almost Home, Alyson appeared as Samantha (Sam), best-friend-turned- girlfriend to main character Gregory. Sam appeared in two episodes: "The Dance" and "The Ticket." She also has an episode of Picket Fences ("To Forgive is Divine") and an episode ofRoseanne ("Like, a Job") under her belt. There was even an episode of the short-lived "George."
It was time for steady work. She was a main character on the sadly short-lived show Free Spirit, which dealt with a witch playing nanny to a family. She wasn't the witch. . . yet.
When Buffy the Vampire Slayer was morphed into a television series and the scripts were going around, Alyson tried out for the part of Willow.
She was not initially cast.
Riff Regan portrayed Willow in the half hour program or "presentation," which shows then use to shop around networks and the show is "greenlighted," or given the go-ahead to make a pilot episode. The other main cast members were all there: Sarah, Charisma, Nicholas, Anthony, David. The only major differences were the difference in Willow and in Principal Flutie (also initially cast with a different actor that what we saw first season, Ken Lerner). Once the show was taken in by the WB, the recasting began. Alyson tried to get her foot in the door, again and again. It took over half a dozen auditions before the last round. The final three girls consisted of Joss Whedon's top pick, the WB's pick, and Alyson. (Source: Sci-Fi Teen, "Where There's a Willow, There's a Way", January 1999) She stumbled over some of the Net Girl words and technological references and thought she'd blown it.
She got a fateful call about a week later.
She was later told by Joss that it was her spunk, her energy, her connection with the others that won her over. Alyson chose to make Willow's innocence just that: innocence. Not coy, not flirty, not faux. She felt the character saw the silver lining on every cloud, and she played it as such.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered in March 1997 and she's been playing the weekly role of everyone's favorite schoolgirl Willow Rosenberg ever since.
Print work returned. Jansport backpacks added Alyson to their list of featured celebrities for the "back ... pack" two page ads. The page on the left hand side features the back of a celebrity, while the other page shows the backpack. Alyson's was first published in 1998. In the spring of 2000, a ad supporting Breast Cancer research featuring Alyson and other WB actresses began appearing in magazines.
Her film career began broadening as well. 1998 offered her as Lucy in Dead Man on Campus. Led by Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell) and Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do!) the movie was centered around college, drugs, partying, more drugs, hair on fire, and somewhere in there trying to make another student kill himself so the two leads could get automatic straight A's as urban legend holds. Alyson's role was supporting, but given a bit more exposure thanks to MTV.
Since MTV helped with movie Dead Man on Campus, they offered up a special entitled "CRAM SESSION" on their TV station. The event was a briefing on the film, cast, characters a few weeks before its premiere in August 1998. Alyson was the hostess with the mostess, staying in character as Lucy, and reaching a good target audience.
Unquestioningly, it was 1999's American Pie that was a landmark breakthrough film role. Every teenager and young adult in the nation saw that movie at least once that summer - many having to bring along older friends or family to get into the R rated flick. So everyone knows Alyson as Michelle now!
MTV's 1999 Movie Awards had a group of four young Hollywood folk doing (prerecorded) bits that went along with each category. They were parodies of teen movies or trademarks, from Cruel Intentions to She's All That, from The Breakfast Club to Varsity Blues. One of the two chosen girls was Alyson, doing everything from a Sarah Michelle Gellar/Selma Blair Cruel Intentions kiss sketch to singing "Danke Schon" in the shower.
Note that Alyson has said many times she'd wish or she'd spell- cast to sing, since she _claims_ she can't.
Alyson also has two movies slated for a 2000 release: Boys and Girls and Beyond City Limits. The former reteams her with American Pie Jason Biggs while the latter includes BtVS/Angel's Wesley, actor Alexis Denisof. Boys and Girls is sure to be another teen hit (the frontman is heartthrob Freddie Prinze Jr) while BCL allows her to tackle the role of a recovering heroin addict.
If she wasn't acting, you would find Alyson working with kids or animals (source: WB Questionnaire with Alyson Hannigan, April 2000). She presented at the Nickelodeon Kids Awards in 1999. Her love for animals was clearly evident in episode The Yoko Factor, when she lit up like a Christmas tree around Miss Kitty Fantastico. "You cannot have any more catnip! You have a catnip problem!"
Alyson's been known to proclaim her love for things such as the color purple and Beanie Babies. She also has quite a menagerie, including dogs and cats, and loves Dr. Seuss books. She currently resides in L.A. where BtVS films most of the year. She has an infectious laugh, tattoos of tribal dolphins, a turtle, and a kanji (ankle, foot, lower back respectively), a wide grin, at least two spiffy power bead bracelets if not more, and a very bright future.
Alyson rocks, plain and simple.
"I wouldn't trade this part [on Buffy] for anything." -- Alyson Hannigan (TV GUIDE, January 30, 1999)