Buffy The Vampire Slayer Cast Then And Now
Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show made vampires sexy and cool way before Twilight ever existed, bringing Halloween into pop culture. The cult series was created by Joss Whedon in 1997 and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, a Vampire Slayer who moves to Sunnydale, California.
With the help of her ‘Watcher’ Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) and a dark romance with the brooding vampire Angel (David Boreanaz), Buffy fights all manner of evil supernatural forces while also trying to graduate from high school. The show won huge popularity in the 90s thanks to its slick humour, unique storylines and talented cast, and to this day Buffy is well worth a watch. Let’s take a look at where the cast members of Buffy The Vampire Slayer are today. Some of the photographs below might well surprise you!
1. Sarah Michelle Gellar – Buffy Summers
Sarah Michelle landed her first ever movie role when she was four, starring in An Invasion of Privacy. As a child star, she won an Emmy for her work on the soap opera All My Children.
Soon afterwards, she was cast in her best-known role to date. Gellar played Buffy Summers for over six years, and she was 20 years old when the first episode aired. Over the course of seven seasons, her salary reportedly rose to $350,000 per episode thanks to the show’s immense popularity.
Buffy Summers is certainly a striking name for an iconic character – but creator Joss Whelan selected it because he thought it sounded somewhat ridiculous. “It was the name that I could think of that I could take the least seriously,” he has since explained. “There is no way you could hear the name Buffy and think, ‘This is an important person.'”
But Buffy proves to be a seriously talented leader and fighter. In ‘The Gift’, Season 5’s finale and the show’s 100th episode, she is even willing to sacrifice her own life by jumping into a demonic portal, saving humankind.
Gellar starred in several films after Buffy ended including Southland Tales (2007), The Grudge (2004) and the Scooby-Doo live-action films. However, her career took a bit of a downturn, and after appearing in the short-lived Ringer TV series Gellar went off the radar for a few years. She recently signed on to appear in a TV pilot for a Cruel Intentions reboot but there’s no word yet on if and when that series will be appearing.
Outside of acting, in 2015 Gellar founded Foodstirs – a food crafting brand – with Galit Laibow and Greg Fleishman. In 2017 she released a cookbook entitled Stirring Up Fun with Food, as well as taking part in Buffy’s 20th Anniversary cast reunion, arranged by Entertainment Weekly.
2. Alyson Hannigan – Willow Rosenberg
Alyson Hannigan has probably enjoyed the best acting career out of all her Buffy co-stars to date. We loved watching her on-screen as the slightly dorky Scooby Gang member who eventually become one of the most powerful witches in the world! As Willow, Hannigan was earning around $250,000 per episode by the end of the series. So what has Hannigan been up to since then?
At the same time as her appearances in Buffy, Hannigan also starred in the American Pie franchise as Michelle Flaherty. Once Buffy ended in 2003, the actress bagged herself a lead role in How I Met Your Mother, in which she starred as Lily Aldrin from 2005 to 2014.
Funnily enough, Hannigan actually hosts her own magical variety show Penn & Teller: Fool Us nowadays. Hannigan is also married to her former Buffy co-star Alexis Denisof (who played Wesley Wyndam-Pryce). They have two children together.
3. Nicholas Brendon – Xander Harris
Xander Harris was another founding member of the Scooby Gang who often provided some much-needed comic relief amidst all the vampire drama. After a long string of failed relationships with different Scooby Gang girls – as well as his unrequited love for Buffy – Xander eventually finds his dream girlfriend in Anya, an ancient demon who is learning to navigate mortal life again.
However, actor Nicholas Brendon sadly hasn’t had a great time of things since the supernatural series came to an end in 2003.
He did get a recurring role in Criminal Minds from 2007 to 2014, but Brendon has often found himself on the wrong side of the law.
A number of Brendon has been arrested multiple times for assaulting a police officer, assaulting his girlfriend and trashing various hotel rooms across the US. He has confessed to suffering with a number of substance abuse issues, but during an appearance on Dr. Phil in 2015, the actor walked out of the interview.
Brendon has had some parts in minor films but nothing significant is on the horizon at the moment. He helped write a Buffy Season 10 comic book in 2014.
4. Anthony Stewart Head – Rupert Giles
Everyone who watched Buffy loved Giles…he is an amazing father figure to Buffy and had an encyclopedic knowledge of magic. The nickname for this esteemed teacher, however, is Ripper – a title from his rebellious youth, when he joined a gang and dabbled in dark magic.
Head has starred in several British sitcoms since Buffy ended and appears to be experiencing something of a career rejuvenation in the last few years.
He starred in other pop culture staples like Little Britain and Merlin, as well the Percy Jackson sequel. Head currently has his hands full with plenty of upcoming film, television and radio projects set to air in the next year or so.
He lives with his partner Sarah Fisher and they have two daughters together – Emily and Daisy – both of whom are actors too.
Unfortunately, Anthony Stewart Head missed out on the 2017 Buffy reunion because of a scheduling conflict: he was performing in a play called Love In Idleness.
5. David Boreanaz – Angel
If you didn’t have a crush on Angel at some point were you even a true 90s kid?! Angel was Buffy’s paramour throughout the first three seasons of the show – he was dark, handsome and also happened to be a bloodsucking vampire, which often complicated his relationship with the Slayer. Originally a mortal named Liam, Angel was born in Ireland in the 1700s, making him 240 years old when he first encounters the Scooby Gang.
The character of Angel was so popular that David Boreanaz managed to get his own spin-off show which ran from 1999 to 2004.
After Angel, Boreanaz played the lead role of Seeley Booth from 2005 to 2017, picking up several awards for his performance in the process. At the moment you can see Boreanaz in action as Jason Hayes in the TV show SEAL Team.
However, the actor’s love life hasn’t been quite as successful. In 2010, he admitted to cheating on his pregnant wife Jaime Bergman with Rachel Uchitel (who was also involved in the Tiger Woods affair scandal). He has also been accused of sexual harassment by a coworker on the set of Bones.
6. Charisma Carpenter – Cordelia Chase
Charisma Carpenter played the classic high school mean girl Cordelia Chase, a cheerleader who eventually turns out to have a heart of gold, joining Buffy and her friends.
Cordelia eventually joined the cast of Angel instead, where her character became a battle-hardened warrior fighting off supernatural forces.
The actress recently appeared in an episode of Criminal Minds and seems to have some film roles in the works, but it’s probably fair to say that Carpenter will forever be best-known for her role as Cordelia Chase.
7. James Marsters – Spike
James Marsters plays Spike, the platinum-blond vampire who falls for Buffy in Season 2. Originally a struggling Victorian poet, he is cool and intelligent, with a villainous streak – but he doesn’t have his vampiric instincts under control in quite the same way as Angel.
8. Michelle Trachtenberg – Dawn Summers
Dawn Summers wasn’t exactly the most popular character on the show. Fans often found Buffy’s little sister to be annoying, as she turns up out of the blue in Season Five and generally walks into trouble in many episodes.
She quickly became a lead character, often needing to be saved by Buffy and the Scooby Gang.
The actress has also hosted a number of web series currently voices Judy in the online show Human Kind Of.
9. Seth Green – Daniel ‘Oz’ Osbourne
Oz became a member of the Scooby Gang after dating Willow, whom he noticed after playing a gig at the Bronze.
Sadly Oz struggled with the little matter of becoming a werewolf, which inevitably led to some complications concerning his relationship with Willow.
10. Eliza Dushku – Faith
Faith was the cool Slayer who started off life as Buffy’s arch rival but eventually became one of her greatest allies.
Eliza Dushku put in a memorable performance on Buffy before starring in Tru Calling from 2003 to 2005.
She then appeared in Dollhouse (also created by Joss Whedon) which ran from 2009 to 2010.
It seems as though Dushku has decided to leave the world of acting in recent years – she is currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and wishes to help victims of substance abuse.
11. Mark Metcalf – The Master
He was Buffy’s nemesis – an ancient vampire hell-bent on opening the gates to the afterlife under Buffy’s high school. With supernatural strength and hypnotic abilities, The Master is the lead villain of Series 1. He’s played by Mark Metcalf, an actor who is no stranger to villainous roles.
Metcalf caught the acting bug when he was an engineering student at the University of Michigan, and after graduating, he moved to New York in pursuit of stage roles.
Before Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he starred in two Twisted Sister music videos as well as countless TV shows including Hill Street Blues, Teen Angel, Star Trek: Voyager and Ally McBeal.
But Metcalf’s best-known role before Buffy the Vampire Slayer was 1978’s Animal House, where he played the heartless cadet Douglas Neidermeyer.
The Master featured in the spinoff show Angel and a handful of Buffy episodes in later series. However, Metcalf chose to give up acting for a while afterwards, as he wanted to devote more time to raising his child with special needs.
In this period, he worked as a film journalist for the online magazine OnMilwaukee, and worked with local university students on an annual screenwriting competition. He also ran a restaurant with his then-wife, Libby Wick, for a spell.
Metcalf has since starred in an episode of Mad Men, and he played Sheriff Roy in Tate Bunker’s 2019 movie The Field. Metcalf was also the subject of a short documentary called Character, which was created by Vera Brunner-Sung and premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
12. Harry Groener – Mayor Richard Wilkins III
In both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Mayor Wilkins covers up evil in the town of Sunnydale, and his corruption almost leads to Buffy’s demise time after time.
The Mayor is played by the German-born American actor Harry Groener. This star started out as an apprentice with the San Francisco Ballet, but her later made his name in musical theatre.
His early Broadway performances included Oklahoma! (for which he received a Tony nomination), Cats and Crazy for You. He starred in Buffy from 1998 to 1999, after which he had a few more cameo appearances.
Since Buffy, Groener has built an incredible list of television credits, although the part of Mayor Wilkins remains his best-known role. According to IMDb, he has appeared in 97 films and series over his lifetime. These include Charmed, The West Wing, Malcolm in the Middle, How I Met Your Mother, Criminal Minds and Modern Family.
In the past few years, Groener has featured in three psychological horror movies: The Atticus Institute, A Cure for Wellness and Delirium.
Groener’s theatre work, too, is still going strong. In 2018, he won an Ovation Award for his leading role in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
13. George Hertzberg – Adam
Half-man, half-monster, all-medical marvel – Adam is a clear reference to Frankenstein’s monster. This villain of Season Four is the product of military experiments to create a demonic super-soldier. His parent company, entitled The Initiative, hires Dr Walsh – who also happens to be Buffy Summers’ college tutor – to create Adam.
Born in 1972, Adam’s actor George Hertzberg starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer from 2000 to 2002. Unlike most of the show’s villains, Adam and his actor are a similar age to Buffy and her actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. Hertzberg could be spotted in one-off episodes in the sitcoms 3rd Rock from the Sun and Home Improvements before joining Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Whilst filming Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hertzberg also found time to be the executive producer and male lead of 2000’s Too Much Magic.
Hertzberg found later roles in All Of Us, Ghost Whisperer and Friday Night Lights. He also plays a security guard in the famous 2008 blockbuster Taken, starring Liam Neeson.
14 Amber Benson – Tara
Tara Maclay is the shy, stammering newcomer to Buffy’s gang in Season Four – and she has her own magical abilities. She falls for Buffy’s best friend Willow, and the pair start a relationship that would become hugely popular among audiences.
However, this ground-breaking TV romance was not to last. Fans were devastated when Tara died unexpectedly in Season 6. The villainous scientist Warren Mears launches a gun attack on Buffy and the Scooby Gang, in which Tara is killed by a stray bullet.
Born in Alabama, Benson first moved to Los Angeles with her family when she was a teenager. Her film debut, at the age of 14, was in Steven Soderberg’s 1993 drama King of the Hill.
Alongside her role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Amber Benson co-wrote a film called The Theory of the Leisure Class. She would later help to create a comic book series based on Willow and Tara’s relationship
Benson co-produced an animated movie franchise, Ghosts of Albion, for the BBC in the early 2000s, and eventually created her own production company.
Benson returned to fantasy acting with Supernatural in 2006, where she played the vampire Lenore. She also wrote her own fantasy book, The Witches of Echo Park, which was released in 2014.