Amber Nicole Benson
January 8, 1977
Amber Nicole Benson (born January 8, 1977) is an American actress, writer, director, and producer. She is best known for her role as Tara Maclay on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and has also directed, produced and starred in her own films Chance (2002) and Lovers, Liars & Lunatics (2006). She also co-directed the film Drones with fellow Buffy cast member Adam Busch. Benson also starred as a waitress in the horror movie The Killing Jar.
Benson was born January 8, 1977, in Birmingham, Alabama, the daughter of Diane and Edward Benson, a psychiatrist. She has a younger sister, Danielle, who is an artist. Her father is Jewish and her mother was raised Southern Baptist; Benson grew up attending a Reform synagogue in Alabama.
As a child, Benson studied music and dance, and performed in the Birmingham Children's Ballet, as well as in local theater. She attended high school (one of her classmates being Joey Fatone) in Orlando, Florida, after her family moved there, in part to help Amber pursue acting opportunities, the most prominent of which was an unsold television series called Kids' News, in which Amber was to have been one of two main anchors. The Bensons then relocated to Los Angeles, and Amber very quickly began to land roles in films and on television.
Benson is best known for her recurring role as Tara Maclay on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character first appeared in the season 4 episode "Hush" and soon became the girlfriend of Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan). Benson remained with the series until season 6 when her character was killed off. In her final episode, Benson was credited for the only time as a regular cast member.
Benson sang in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More, with Feeling". She provided vocals for the songs "I've Got a Theory / Bunnies / If We're Together", "Under Your Spell" (her solo), "Walk Through the Fire", "Standing/Under Your Spell (Reprise)," and "Where Do We Go from Here?" In 2002, she performed two songs on Buffy colleague Anthony Stewart Head's album Music for Elevators. She also sang "Toucha Toucha Touch Me" (aka "Creature of the Night") at VH-1's celebrity karaoke tribute to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
While still working on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Benson co-wrote the movie The Theory of the Leisure Class with director Gabriel Bologna, released in 2001, and directed, produced, edited, and acted in a digital video feature called Chance (2002) which also featured her Buffy co-star James Marsters. She also collaborated with director James Kerwin in 2003 to produce her play Albert Hall in Hollywood.
In 2001, Benson worked with Golden, Terry Moore, and Eric Powell of Dark Horse Comics to create the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara comic book titled "WannaBlessedBe". The following year (2002), she worked with Christopher Golden and AJ (Ajit Jothikaumar) of Dark Horse Comics to create the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara comic books titled Wilderness #1 and Wilderness #2.
Benson and Christopher Golden produced and began a series of animated fantasy films for the BBC with the animation studio Cosgrove Hall. Ghosts of Albion: Legacy (2003) and its sequels are available on the BBC Cult website. Benson and Golden have also collaborated on two supernatural thrillers: Ghosts of Albion: Accursed and Ghosts of Albion: Witchery. These books follow the fortunes of Tamara and William Swift, who first appeared in the BBC computer animated web movie Ghosts of Albion: Legacy.
In 2005, Benson collaborated with artist Jamie McKelvie on a short story within the Image Comics collection Four Letter Worlds. In 2006, Benson collaborated with artist Ben Templesmith on Demon Father John's Pinwheel Blues published by IDW as a four-part split-book, Shadowplay (with work by Ashley Wood and Christina Z.
In 2006, Benson released her second independent feature film Lovers, Liars & Lunatics through her own production company, Benson Entertainment. The film was shot on film and was partly financed by the sale of limited edition "Triangle" Tara Buffyverse action figure. The project, initially called "The Dirty Script," was ultimately titled Lovers, Liars and Lunatics by producer Diane Benson, Amber's mother.
In 2006, Benson also portrayed the "vegetarian" vampiress Lenore on the TV series Supernatural.
In December 2006, Benson and Golden released yet another collaboration, the short novel The Seven Whistlers which is distributed through Subterranean Press in a limited number of signed copies. In September 2007, Benson signed a three-book deal with Ginjer Buchanan of Penguin Books. Death's Daughter, was released by Ace Books on February 24, 2009; Cat's Claw, on February 23, 2010; and Serpent's Storm, in February 2011. On February 28, 2012, the fourth book in the series, How to Be Death was released.
In 2012, Benson played a young Judith Collins in the Dark Shadows audio drama "Dress Me in Dark Dreams". She guest starred in the second season of the Jane Espenson scripted romantic comedy web series, Husbands.
In February 2021 Benson spoke out in support of Buffy The Vampire Slayer co-star Charisma Carpenter's accusation of unprofessional and abusive behavior on the part of Buffy creator Joss Whedon, corroborating Carpenter's account by relating that the set of that series was a "toxic environment" whose traumatic effects upon those who worked there were long-lasting.
As of 2007, Benson resided in Los Angeles. She described herself as a "lapsed vegetarian".
|1993||King of the Hill||Ella McShane|
|1994||S.F.W.||Barbara 'Babs' Wyler|
|1995||Bye Bye Love||Meg Damico|
|1998||Can't Hardly Wait||Stephanie, the Stoned Girl|
|2000||The Prime Gig||Batgirl|
|2001||Hollywood, Pennsylvania||Mandy Calhoun|
|2003||Latter Days||Traci Levine|
|2005||Race You to the Bottom||Maggie|
|2006||Lovers, Liars & Lunatics||Justine|
|2007||Gryphon||Princess Amelia of Lockland|
|2007||Kiss the Bride||Elly|
|2008||The Blue Tooth Virgin||Jennifer|
|2010||The Killing Jar||Noreen|
|2010||Another Harvest Moon||Gretchen|
|2011||Act Your Age||Julia|
|2015||Desire Will Set You Free||Jayne|
|2018||House of Demons||Maya|
|2018||Glossary of Broken Dreams||Pfefferkarree McCormick|
|2018||The Griddle House||Tiny|
|2019||The Nightmare Gallery||Samantha Rand|
|1993||Jack Reed: Badge of Honor||Nicole Reed||TV film|
|1994||Jack Reed: A Search for Justice||Nicole Reed||TV film|
|1995||Jack Reed: One of Our Own||Nicole Reed||TV film|
|1996||Partners||Pam||Episode: "Follow the Clams?"|
|1998||Promised Land||Amy Farnsworth||Episode: "Out of Bounds"|
|1999||Cracker||Amy||Episode: "The Club"|
|1999–2002||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Tara Maclay||Recurring role (seasons 4–6), main (season 6.19)|
|2001||The Enforcers||Abby||TV miniseries|
|2004||Cold Case||Julia Hoffman||Episode: "Volunteers"|
|2005||The Inside||Allison Davis||Episode: "The Perfect Couple"|
|2006||Holiday Wishes||Danni Hartford||TV film|
|2006, 2011||Supernatural||Lenore||Episodes: "Bloodlust", "Mommy Dearest"|
|2008||7 Things to Do Before I'm 30||Lori Madison||TV film|
|2008||Long Island Confidential||Liz||TV film|
|2009||Private Practice||Jill Avery||Episode: "Finishing"|
|2010||Grey's Anatomy||Corrine Henley||Episode: "That's Me Trying"|
|2011||Count Jeff||Colleen||Episodes: "Pilot", "Sucks to Be Me", "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"|
|2011||Strictly Sexual: The Series||Donna||Episode: "Laugh, Cry, Say Goodbye"|
|2011||Ringer||Mary Curtis||Episode: "That's What You Get for Trying to Kill Me"|
|2012||Futurestates||Laura Keller||Episode: "Laura Keller: NB"|
|2012||Husbands||Angry Mom||Episodes: "Appropriate Is Not the Word", "The Straightening"|
|2013||Shelf Life||Raggy Ann||Episode: "Powered Up"|
|2013||Twisted Tales||Dhianna||Episode: "Shockwave"|
|2014||The Glass Slipper Confessionals||Tinkerbell||Episodes: "Think Happy Thoughts", "The Pixie Chicks"|
|2014||Morganville: The Series||Amelie||TV miniseries|
|2016||Sunday Morning||Marcy||Episode: "Marcy and Cliff"|
|2016||Red vs. Blue||Female Grif (voice)||Episode: "Get Bent"|
|2016||The Crooked Man||Grace||TV film|
Ghosts of Albion
with Christopher Golden
|#||Title||Also In||Publication Date||Publisher|
|1.1||"Legacy"||Short story, available on the BBC website)|
- Death's Daughter (February 24, 2009)
- Cat's Claw (February 23, 2010)
- Serpent's Storm (February 22, 2011)
- How to be Death (February 28, 2012)
- The Golden Age of Death (Feb 2013)
The Witches of Echo Park
|Title||Date||Publisher||Length||Identifiers||Notes / Plot||Ref.|
|The Witches of Echo Park||January 6, 2015||Ace Books||294 pp||ISBN 9780425268674
- The Last Dream Keeper (Jan 2016)
- The End of Magic (May 2017)
- The Seven Whistlers (with Christopher Golden. 2006)
- Star and Marco's Guide to Mastering Every Dimension (with Dominic Bisignano, Disney Press, 2017) ISBN 978-1484774199
Anthologies and collections
|Anthology or Collection||Contents||Publication
|21st Century Dead||Antiparallelogram||Jul 2012|
|An Apple for a Creature||Callie Meet Happy||Aug 2012|
|Life Inside My Mind||Therapy: the gift I gave myself||Apr 2018|
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- WannaBlessedBe (Willow & Tara with Christopher Golden. 2003)
- Wilderness (with Christopher Golden)
- "The Innocent" in Tales of the Slayers
- Shadowplay #1–4 (with Ben Templesmith. 2005)
- Among the Ghosts (with Sina Grace, illustrator. August 2010)
- Clueless: Senior Year (with Sarah Kuhn)
- Clueless: One Last Summer (with Sarah Kuhn)
- Illusions (with Christopher Golden. Animated feature, directed by Benson, available on the BBC website)
- The Ghosts of Albion Roleplaying Game (with Timothy S. Brannan and Christopher Golden. Eden Studios, 2007)
- Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, narrated by Benson
- Walkaway by Cory Doctorow, narrated by Benson
- Lock In by John Scalzi, narrated by Benson
- Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, narrated by Benson
- Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, narrated by Benson
- Stafford, Nikki (2007). Bite Me!: The Unofficial Guide to 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 104. ISBN 9781550228076.
- "Amber Benson Biography (1977–)". Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- "Amber Benson on Buffy, Tara and Willow, Husbands & more..." Den of Geek. November 4, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
Amber Benson: "My dad was Jewish, and my mom was raised by Southern Baptists so I saw both ends of the spectrum."
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Byrnes, Lindsey (June 8, 2010). "An interview with Amber Benson". AfterEllen. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
- "Amber chatted at Yahoo! on Thursday, March 8, 2001. Here's the transcript, provided by Coax, sans chat typos". The Essence of Amber. March 8, 2001. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
- Bloom, Nate (June 6, 2003). "Celebrity Jews". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
- Lindsey Byrnes (June 8, 2010). "An interview with Amber Benson". www.afterellen.com. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
- "Episode 18: Featuring Amber Benson", RossCarey, accessed May 24, 2011.
- "TLA Releasing presents Latter Days" (PDF). TLA Releasing. p. 16. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
- Benson, Amber (2009). Death's Daughter. ISBN 978-0-441-01694-5.
- ISBN 978-0-441-01843-7
- Benson, Amber (2012). How to be Death. ISBN 978-1-937007-28-7.
- Roedel, Jeff. "So, you work with an alien" Archived September 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, 225batonrouge.com, September 25, 2008
- Vary, Adam B (June 28, 2012). "'Husbands': EP and star on season 2 of their gay-marriage web series – EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- Mangani, Josephine (June 17, 2013). "'Buffy' Star Amber Benson Joins 'Morganville' Web Adaptation". Retrieved June 17, 2013.
- Caine, Rachel (June 11, 2013). "Morganville: The Web TV Series". Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Scalzi, John. "The Lock In Audiobook: Two Versions, Two Narrators. Pre-Order and Get Both". Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- The Witches of Echo Park
- 'It Could Happen to You'. The video was produced, written and directed by Alex Barreto and brothers Rider Strong and Shiloh Strong who also acted in the ad with Amber. The ad won MoveOn's contest for funniest Obama ad in 2008.
- Le, Athena (February 10, 2021). "Amber Benson Calls Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Set A Toxic Environment". Screen Rant. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
- Benson, Amber (January 29, 2009). "art vs. commerce". Amber Benson's Official Blog, Archived January 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "Exclusive Interview with Amber Benson Part 2". Buffyfest. February 26, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
- "Cult – Ghosts of Albion – Astray". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "Cult – Ghosts of Albion – Legacy". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "The witches of Echo Park". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- "The Witches of Echo Park". Penguin Random House. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- The witches of Echo Park. WorldCat. OCLC 933453334.
- "21st Century Dead". September 27, 2019.
- "An Apple for a Creature". September 27, 2019.
- "Life Inside My Mind". September 27, 2019.
- "Among the Ghosts » Blog with Pictures". Sinagrace.com. March 23, 2010. Archived from the original on September 26, 2011. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
- Benson, Amber. "Cult Vampires – Ghosts of Albion: Illusions by Amber Benson and Christopher Golden". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
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