Alyson Hannigan

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Alyson Hannigan
Hannigan seated behind a microphone and a bottle of water
Hannigan in 2013
Allison Lee Hannigan

(1974-03-24) March 24, 1974 (age 50)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Other namesAlyson Denisof
EducationCalifornia State University, Northridge (BA)
  • Actress
  • television presenter
Years active1986–present
(m. 2003)

Allison Lee Hannigan (born March 24, 1974), known professionally as Alyson Hannigan, is an American actress and television presenter.[1]

Hannigan began her film career with supporting roles in the comedy films Impure Thoughts (1986) and My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988), getting a Young Artist Award nomination for the latter. In 1999, she began starring in the American Pie film series as Michelle Flaherty, the films' primary love interest, appearing in every film in the series from 1999 to 2012. For her role in the series, she was nominated for three Teen Choice Awards and won a Young Hollywood Award. She went on to star in the parody film Date Movie (2006), the slasher film You Might Be the Killer (2018), and the superhero film Flora & Ulysses (2021).

Hannigan got her start in television starring in the short-lived sitcom Free Spirit from 1989 to 1990, for which she earned a Young Artist Award nomination. After several minor roles in television films and other series, she appeared in her breakout role as teenage witch Willow Rosenberg in the supernatural drama series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, appearing in every episode from 1997 to 2003. Her role on the show was critically acclaimed and won her the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television and a Teen Choice Award. From 2005 to 2014, she starred as Lily Aldrin in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, for which she won two People's Choice Awards. Hannigan hosted the television show Penn & Teller: Fool Us (2016–2022), and provided the voice of Claire Clancy in the Disney Junior animated series Fancy Nancy (2018–2022).

Early life and education

Hannigan was born on March 24, 1974[2] in Washington, D.C., the only child of Emilie (Posner) Haas, a real-estate agent, and Alan Hannigan, a Teamsters trucker.[3][4] Her father is of Irish ancestry and her mother is Jewish.[5][6] At age four, Hannigan began appearing in commercials.[7] After spending her childhood in her mother's hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, Hannigan moved to Hollywood at age 11 after securing an agent.[4]

Living with her mother and attending North Hollywood High School, she successfully auditioned for agents while visiting her father in Santa Barbara. After high school, she attended California State University, Northridge, where she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and earned a degree in psychology.[8][9]


Hannigan's first major film role was in My Stepmother Is an Alien, a science-fiction comedy released in 1988; one of her co-stars in the film was actor Seth Green, who later joined her in the regular cast of Buffy as her on-screen boyfriend.[3] In 1989, her first regular role on a TV series came when she was cast in the short-lived ABC sitcom Free Spirit. As a teenager, Hannigan babysat for the children of her future How I Met Your Mother co-star, Bob Saget.[10]

Hannigan smiling
Hannigan at a celebration of the 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother at the Paley Centre, 2010.

In 1997, Hannigan was cast to play Willow Rosenberg, Buffy Summers' best friend, on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[11] The show became a success, and Hannigan gained recognition, subsequently appearing in several films aimed at teenaged audiences, including American Pie (1999), Boys and Girls (2000), American Pie 2 (2001), and American Wedding (2003).[3] She also had a recurring guest spot on the Buffy spin-off, Angel, reprising her role of Willow. In early 2004, Hannigan made her West End debut, starring in a stage adaptation of When Harry Met Sally... at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, opposite Luke Perry.[12]

In 2005, Hannigan returned to starring in a regular television series, taking the main role of Lily Aldrin in the hit comedy How I Met Your Mother, and also playing a recurring guest role on Veronica Mars as Trina Echolls.[13] In February 2006, she starred as Julia Jones in Date Movie, a parody of romantic comedies.[3] She was also a guest star on the ABC animated sitcom The Goode Family in 2009.[14]

Hannigan joined forces with Emily Deschanel, Jaime King, Minka Kelly, and Katharine McPhee in a "video slumber party" featured on to promote regular breast cancer screenings for the organization Stand Up 2 Cancer.[15] In 2012, Hannigan reprised the role of Michelle in American Reunion.[16] From 2016 to 2022, Hannigan hosted the television series Penn & Teller: Fool Us.[17] Hannigan played Ann Possible, Kim's mother, in the Disney Channel original film Kim Possible, based on the animated series.[18]

In September 2023, Hannigan was announced to be competing on season 32 of Dancing with the Stars, partnering with Sasha Farber.[19] The couple made it to the finals and finished in fifth place.

Personal life

Hannigan married her Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel co-star Alexis Denisof at Two Bunch Palms Resort in Desert Hot Springs, California, on October 11, 2003. The couple live in Encino, Los Angeles[20] with their two daughters.[2][21] Their home was used as a set for This Is Us.[22]

Hannigan is a fan of singer Taylor Swift.[23]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Impure Thoughts Patty Stubbs Credited as Allison Hannigan[24]
1988 My Stepmother Is an Alien Jessie Mills
1998 Dead Man on Campus Lucy
1999 Hayley Wagner, Star Jenna Jakes[25]
1999 American Pie Michelle Flaherty
2000 Boys and Girls Betty
2001 American Pie 2 Michelle Flaherty
2001 Beyond the City Limits Lexi
2003 American Wedding Michelle Flaherty
2006 Date Movie Julia Jones
2006 Farce of the Penguins Hottie Penguin Voice
2011 Love, Wedding, Marriage Courtney
2012 American Reunion Michelle Levenstein
2016 Do You Take This Man Rachael
2018 You Might Be the Killer Chuck
2021 Flora & Ulysses Phyllis Buckman


Year Title Role Notes
1989–1990 Free Spirit Jessie Harper Main role, 14 episodes
1990 Roseanne Jan Episode: "Like, a New Job"
1991 Switched at Birth Gina Twigg (Age 13–16) Television film
1993 Almost Home Samantha 2 episodes
1994 Touched by an Angel Cassie Peters Episode: "Cassie's Choice"
1995 The Stranger Beside Me Dana Television film
1996 For My Daughter's Honor Kelly Television film
1996 Picket Fences Peggy Patterson Episode: "To Forgive Is Divine"
1997–2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Willow Rosenberg Main role, 144 episodes
1999–2000 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd Gigi Voice, 3 episodes
2000 The Wild Thornberrys Gerda Voice, episode: "Every Little Bit Alps"
2001–2003 Angel Willow Rosenberg 3 episodes
2002–2003 Rugrats Cynthia P.I. Voice, 2 episodes
Young Starlet Voice, 1 episode
2004 That '70s Show Suzy Simpson 2 episodes
2004 King of the Hill Stacey Gibson Voice, episode: "Talking Shop"
2005 Veronica Mars Trina Echolls 3 episodes
2005–2014 How I Met Your Mother Lily Aldrin Main role, 206 episodes
2009 The Goode Family Michelle Voice, episode: "Graffiti in Greenville"
2011 The Simpsons Melody Voice, episode: "Flaming Moe"
2011, 2018 Robot Chicken Various voices 2 episodes
2011, 2013, 2023 American Dad! Chelsea Voice, episode: "Virtual In-Stanity"
Ugly Stepsister #2 Voice, episode: "Finger Lenting Good"
Lexie Voice, episode: "Cow I Met Your Moo-ther"
2014 Sofia the First Winter Voice, episode: "Winter's Gift"
2014 The McCarthys Pam Episode: "Red Sox Swap"
2016–2022 Penn & Teller: Fool Us Herself Host, 64 episodes[26]
2018–2022 Fancy Nancy Claire Clancy Voice, main role (57 episodes)
2019 Kim Possible Ann Possible Television film
2019 Pure Esther Dunkel 2 episodes
2019 Abducted: The Mary Stauffer Story Mary Stauffer TV film[27]
2020–2021 Outrageous Pumpkins Herself Host, 8 episodes
2020 Girl Scout Cookie Championship Herself Host, 4 episodes
2020 Outmatched Annabeth Episode: "Couple's Friends"
2021 Martha Gets Down and Dirty Herself Episode: "House Planting Party"[28]
2021 Adorableness Herself Panelist[29]
2023 Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. Dawn Episode: "Message from the Chief"
2023 Office Race Pat Comedy Central original television film
2023 Dancing with the Stars Herself Contestant on season 32[30]


Year Title Role Theatre
2004 When Harry Met Sally... Sally Albright Theatre Royal Haymarket

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1989 Young Artist Award Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture: Comedy or Fantasy My Stepmother Is an Alien Nominated
1990 Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series Free Spirit Nominated
2000 Young Hollywood Awards Best Ensemble Cast American Pie Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Sidekick Buffy the Vampire Slayer Nominated
2001 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress on Television Nominated
2001 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Sidekick Nominated
2002 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress on Television Won
2002 Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Television Series Nominated
2002 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Sidekick Won
2003 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress on Television Nominated
2003 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Sidekick Nominated
2004 Choice Movie Actress – Comedy American Wedding Nominated
2004 Choice Movie Liplock (shared with Jason Biggs) Nominated
2008 Choice TV Show: Comedy How I Met Your Mother Nominated
2009 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actress Won
2010 Favorite TV Comedy Actress Nominated
2012 Favorite TV Comedy Won
2012 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Romantic Comedy American Reunion Nominated


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  4. ^ a b "Former Atlantan Alyson Hannigan interview for 'How I Met Your Mother'". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. September 21, 2009. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
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  6. ^ "Hollywood Now: Alyson Hannigan, Jewish Male Actors, Fall Feature". September 3, 2013. Archived from the original on September 29, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
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  9. ^ "Alyson Hannigan biography". Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  10. ^ Roy, Norman (April 26, 2012). "It's Evening in America". Vanity Fair. p. 158. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "Where Are They Now? Buffy the Vampire Slayer". People. December 3, 2007. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  12. ^ "When Harry Met Sally, Review by Philip Fisher (2004)". British Theatre Guide. Archived from the original on October 24, 2023. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
  13. ^ "'Veronica Mars' scoop". Chicago Tribune. January 20, 2006. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  14. ^ Harrison, Stacey (July 6, 2009). ""The Goode Family" Recap: Graffiti In Greenville". Channel Guide Magazine. Archived from the original on May 17, 2018.
  15. ^ Kate Stanhope (October 1, 2009). "Deschanel, Hannigan and Others Cop a Feel for a Cause". TV Guide. Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  16. ^ "Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and 'Mother'-hood". USA Today. April 15, 2012. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
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  18. ^ Swift, Andy (May 25, 2018). "Kim Possible Movie: Alyson Hannigan Playing Mom, 5 Other Key Roles Cast". TVLine. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
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  20. ^ "'Vampire Slayer' star Alyson Hannigan settles on contemporary lair in Encino". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 5, 2023. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  21. ^ "Alyson Hannigan Welcomes Daughter Keeva Jane!". Us Weekly. June 12, 2012. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  22. ^ "Alyson Hannigan Reveals 'This Is Us' Used Her Home As a Shooting Location". Entertainment Tonight. October 9, 2021. Archived from the original on October 9, 2021. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  23. ^ Smyth, Tom (April 20, 2024). "Someone Check on Alyson Hannigan After Taylor Swift's American Pie Reference". Vulture. Archived from the original on April 21, 2024. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  24. ^ My Stepmother is an Alien at the American Film Institute Catalog
  25. ^ "Hayley Wagner, Star". Archived from the original on October 1, 2023. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  26. ^ "CW Press | THE CW NETWORK ANNOUNCES ITS SEVEN-NIGHT PRIMETIME SCHEDULE FOR 2023-2024". May 18, 2023. Archived from the original on October 3, 2023. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  27. ^ Petski, Denise (April 3, 2019). "Lifetime Orders 2 Movies: 'Abduction Of Mary Stauffer' Starring Alyson Hannigan & 'Saving Alex'". Deadline. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  28. ^ Chubb, Hannah (June 3, 2021). "Martha Stewart Gets 'Down and Dirty' in New Show with A-List Celeb Friends". People. Archived from the original on February 19, 2023. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  29. ^ Ossad, Jordana (June 21, 2021). "MTV is About to Get a Dose of Adorableness". MTV. Archived from the original on July 6, 2022. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  30. ^ "'Dancing With the Stars' season 32 cast revealed: Alyson Hannigan, Mira Sorvino and more". September 13, 2023. Archived from the original on February 6, 2024. Retrieved September 14, 2023.

External links