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Alyson Hannigan

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Alyson Hannigan
Alyson Hannigan, 2013-07-20 (cropped).jpg
Hannigan at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1974-03-24) March 24, 1974 (age 48)
Other namesAlyson Denisof
EducationCalifornia State University, Northridge (BA)
  • Actress
  • television presenter
Years active1986–present
(m. 2003)
Signature of Alyson Hannigan.png

Alyson Lee Hannigan (born March 24, 1974)[1] is an American actress and television presenter. She is best known for her roles as Willow Rosenberg in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), as Lily Aldrin in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014) for which she won a People's Choice Award in 2009, and as Michelle Flaherty in the American Pie film series (1999–2012).[2] Since 2016, Hannigan has hosted the television show Penn & Teller: Fool Us. She also provides the voice of Claire Clancy in the Disney Junior animated series Fancy Nancy (2018–present).

Early life and education[edit]

Hannigan was born in Washington, D.C., the only child of Emilie (Posner) Haas, a real-estate agent, and Alan Hannigan, a Teamsters trucker.[2][3][4] Her father is of Irish ancestry and her mother is Jewish.[5][6] At age four, Hannigan began appearing in commercials.[7] She moved to Hollywood at age 11.[3]

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.[2] 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 costar, Bob Saget.[10]

Buffy years[edit]

Hannigan in 2003

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).[2] She also had a guest spot on the Buffy spin-off, Angel, reprising her role of Willow in a few episodes (including most notably "Orpheus", during the fourth season of Angel and the seventh season of Buffy), but none after Buffy finished production (the final episode of Buffy aired May 20, 2003;[12] the Angel episode "Orpheus," the last in which Hannigan appears, aired March 19, 2003).[13]

Stage, television, and movie work[edit]

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.[14]

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.[15] In February 2006, she starred as Julia Jones in Date Movie, a parody of romantic comedies.[2] She was also a guest star on the ABC animated sitcom The Goode Family in 2009.[16]

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.[17]

In 2012, Hannigan reprised the role of Michelle in American Reunion.[18] Since 2016, Hannigan has hosted the television series Penn & Teller: Fool Us.[19]

Hannigan plays Ann Possible, Kim's mother, in the Disney Channel original film Kim Possible, based on the animated series.[20]

Personal life[edit]

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[21] with their two daughters: Satyana Marie, born in March 2009,[1] and Keeva Jane, born in May 2012.[22] Their home was used as the set for This Is Us.[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 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
1989–90 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"
2001–03 Angel Willow Rosenberg 3 episodes
2002–03 Rugrats Cynthia P.I. / Young Starlet (voice) 2 episodes
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
2005–14 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 American Dad! Chelsea / Peasant's Daughter (voice) 2 episodes
2014 Sofia the First Winter (voice) Episode: "Winter's Gift"
2014 The McCarthys Pam Episode: "Red Sox Swap"
2016–present Penn & Teller: Fool Us Herself (host) 64 episodes
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[25]
2020 Girl Scout Cookie Championship Herself (host) 4 episodes
2020 Outmatched Annabeth Episode: "Couple's Friends"
2021 Adorableness Herself Panelist[26]


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

Awards and nominations[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b Wihlborg, Ulrica (March 31, 2009). "Alyson Hannigan Welcomes a Daughter!". People. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e "How I Met Your Mother Cast: Alyson Hannigan". CBS. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Film Reference Alyson Hannigan biodata". Archived from the original on February 10, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  5. ^ Berson, Elisabeth (November 13, 2013). "10 celebrities you didn't know were Jewish". St. Louis Jewish Light. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  6. ^ "Hollywood Now: Alyson Hannigan, Jewish Male Actors, Fall Feature". September 3, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  7. ^ "Interview: Alyson Hannigan on American Pie". Scotland on Sunday. April 22, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  8. ^ "Alyson Hannigan profile". Retrieved April 18, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Alyson Hannigan biography". 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. ^ ""Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Chosen (TV Episode 2003)". IMDb.
  13. ^ ""Angel" Orpheus (TV Episode 2003)". IMDb. March 19, 2003.
  14. ^ "When Harry Met Sally, Review by Philip Fisher (2004)". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
  15. ^ "'Veronica Mars' scoop". Chicago Tribune. January 20, 2006. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  16. ^ Harrison, Stacey (July 6, 2009). ""The Goode Family" Recap: Graffiti In Greenville". Channel Guide Magazine. Archived from the original on May 17, 2018.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and 'Mother'-hood". USA Today. April 15, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  19. ^ Abrams, Natalie (March 31, 2016). "Alyson Hannigan tapped to host Penn & Teller: Fool Us in season 3". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  20. ^ Swift, Andy (May 25, 2018). "Kim Possible Movie: Alyson Hannigan Playing Mom, 5 Other Key Roles Cast". TVLine. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  21. ^ "'Vampire Slayer' star Alyson Hannigan settles on contemporary lair in Encino". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  22. ^ "Alyson Hannigan Welcomes Daughter Keeva Jane!". Us Weekly. June 12, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  23. ^ "Alyson Hannigan Reveals 'This Is Us' Used Her Home As a Shooting Location | Entertainment Tonight". Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  24. ^ My Stepmother is an Alien at the American Film Institute Catalog
  25. ^ Petski, Denise (April 3, 2019). "Lifetime Orders 2 Movies: 'Abduction Of Mary Stauffer' Starring Alyson Hannigan & 'Saving Alex'". Deadline.
  26. ^ Ossad, Jordana (June 21, 2021). "MTV is About to Get a Dose of Adorableness". MTV.

External links[edit]