Michelle Trachtenberg

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Michelle Trachtenberg
Michelle Trachtenberg (43904360470).jpg
Trachtenberg attending an event in November 2018
Born (1985-10-11) October 11, 1985 (age 35)[1]
  • Actress
  • model
Years active1988–present

Michelle Christine Trachtenberg (/ˈtræktənbɜːrɡ/; born October 11, 1985)[1] is an American actress and model. Starting her career at a young age, she has played in a number of commercials, films, and television series. She is best known for her regular role as Dawn Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000–2003) and recurring roles as Georgina Sparks in Gossip Girl (2007–2012), and Nona Mecklenberg in The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1994–1996), and for her role as Harriet M. Welsch in Harriet the Spy (1996).

Early life and education[edit]

Trachtenberg was born in New York City,[2] the younger of two daughters of Lana, a bank manager, and Michael Trachtenberg, a fiber-optics engineer,[3] Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany, respectively. Trachtenberg's grandparents reside in Israel,[4] but she celebrates Christmas and "all" religions, having gone to a Catholic high school because, she said, tuition was cheaper than the Jewish one.[5] She was raised with her older sister, Irene, in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, where she attended junior high school at The Bay Academy for the Arts and Sciences.[6] She later attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California.[7] She is fluent in Russian.[8][9]


Beginnings (1988–2003)[edit]

Trachtenberg at the Buffy the Vampire Slayer wrap party in April 2003

Trachtenberg made her first television appearance at the age of three, in a commercial for Wisk detergent.[10] She went on to feature in over 100 more commercials.[10] Her first television role was in the second season of Law & Order; her first credited role was as Nona F. Mecklenberg on the Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Pete & Pete from 1994 until 1996. During the same period she played Lily Montgomery on the soap opera All My Children.[11][12]

Trachtenberg's film career began in 1996 with the title role in Harriet the Spy, for which she had to leave The Adventures of Pete & Pete while its third season was running.[13] She then starred in the short-lived television series Meego, which garnered her a Young Artist Award.[14] She returned to film in 1999 for Inspector Gadget. She also starred in the film Can't Be Heaven. In the summer of 2000, she took on the role of Dawn Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, remaining in the role until the show ended in 2003. She also hosted the Discovery Kids series Truth or Scare from 2001 to 2003.

Rise to fame (2004–2007)[edit]

Trachtenberg in 2008

After Buffy and Truth or Scare, Trachtenberg appeared in the comedy film EuroTrip. She also had a recurring role in the HBO series Six Feet Under, as Celeste, a spoiled pop star for whom Keith Charles served as a bodyguard. In March 2005, she starred in Walt Disney Pictures' comedy sports drama film Ice Princess as Casey Carlyle, a science whiz, who is torn between a future in academia and her newfound dream of being a professional figure skater.

In 2004, Trachtenberg played Wendy in Gregg Araki's film adaptation of Scott Heim's novel, Mysterious Skin. Wendy is the best friend of Neil (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a teenage hustler in small-town Kansas. The film debuted at the 2004 Venice Film Festival.

In April 2006, Trachtenberg guest-starred in the episode of House, "Safe". She revealed on the December 22, 2006, episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien that House was her favorite show, and that she was friends with one of the producers and had asked to be a guest star.[15]

In November 2006, Trachtenberg guest starred in season six of the crime drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In the episode "Weeping Willow", she played the role of Willow, a kidnapped video blogger, likely based on lonelygirl15.[16] Trachtenberg also appeared in the Fall Out Boy music video for "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race", the Joaquin Phoenix-directed music video for "Tired of Being Sorry" by Ringside, and the video for the Trapt song "Echo".

In 2006, Trachtenberg starred in Black Christmas, the remake of the 1974 slasher of the same name. In 2007, she was cast as the female lead in an ABC comedy pilot called The Hill, based on the newspaper of the same name in Washington, D.C.[17]


Trachtenberg provided the voice of Tika Waylan for Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, a direct-to-video animated film based on the novel of the same name.[18] She appeared on The CW hit show Gossip Girl, as Georgina Sparks, who recently left rehab and brings back the dark past Serena van der Woodsen desperately wants to leave behind.[19] She returned to the show for a multiple-episode story arc towards the end of season two.[20] Trachtenberg appeared in the season-three finale and in season four. She also appeared several times in season five, and in almost every episode of season six, the show's final season.[21] In 2009, Trachtenberg was a cast member on the NBC drama Mercy; the series lasted one season.[22] She returned to film with the 2009 film 17 Again. She also had a small role in the comedy film Cop Out.[23]

Later work (2011–present)[edit]

On June 9, 2011, Trachtenberg guest starred on Love Bites, as Jodie, who, after being unceremoniously dumped, decides – with a vengeance – to accept her ex's offer to "be friends". She reprised the role on June 16, 2011, and in the series finale on July 21, 2011. In the same year, Trachtenberg was a guest star on Weeds during its seventh season,[24] portraying Emma, a rival pot dealer who causes problems for Silas Botwin. In June 2012, Trachtenberg was cast in the film The Scribbler, produced by Gabriel Cowan.[25]

In the Criminal Minds episode "Zugzwang", Trachtenberg played Diane Turner, the criminal stalker to Spencer Reid's girlfriend, Maeve Donovan. In March 2011, she was the featured cover girl in Maxim.[26]

In fall of 2015, Trachtenberg starred in the online series Guidance as Anna, the high school guidance counselor.[27]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Melissa Lena Uncredited
1996 Harriet the Spy Harriet M. Welsch Film debut
1998 Richie Rich's Christmas Wish Gloria Direct-to-video
1999 Inspector Gadget Penny Brown
2000 Can't Be Heaven Julie
2004 EuroTrip Jennifer
Mysterious Skin Wendy Peterson
2005 Ice Princess Casey Carlyle
2006 Beautiful Ohio Sandra
Black Christmas Melissa Kitt
2008 Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight Tika Waylan Voice; direct-to-video
2009 Against the Current Suzanne
17 Again Maggie O'Donnell
2010 Cop Out Ava Monroe
DC Showcase: Jonah Hex Bar girl Voice; short film
2011 Take Me Home Tonight Ashley
2013 Sexy Evil Genius Miranda Prague Direct-to-video
2014 The Scribbler Alice


Year Title Role Notes
1991 Law & Order Dinah Driscoll Episode: "God Bless the Child"; uncredited
1993 Clarissa Explains It All Elsie Soaperstein Episode: "Babysitting"
1993–1996 All My Children Lily Benton Montgomery #1 Daytime drama
1994–1996 The Adventures of Pete & Pete Nona F. Mecklenberg 14 episodes; recurring role (seasons 2–3)
1996 Dave's World Angela Episode: "Solitaire"
Space Cases Prankster #1 Episode: "All You Can Eaty"
A Holiday for Love Noelle Murphy Television film
1997 Meego Maggie Parker 13 episodes; main role (season 1)
1998 Blue's Clues Herself Episode: "Blue's Birthday"
Reading Rainbow Herself (narrator) Episode: "Math Curse"
Guys Like Us Katie Episode: "Maestro's First Crush"
1998–1999 Figure It Out Herself (panelist) 12 episodes
2000 A Father's Choice Kelly McClain Television film
2000–2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Dawn Summers 66 episodes; main role (seasons 5–7)
2001–2003 Truth or Scare Herself (host and narrator) 20 episodes
2004 Six Feet Under Celeste 4 episodes; guest role (season 4)
2005 The Dive from Clausen's Pier Carrie Beal Television film
2006 House Melinda Bardach Episode: "Safe"
2006–2018 Robot Chicken Various characters (voice) 6 episodes; guest role (seasons 2–3, 5 & 9)
2006 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Lisa Willow Tyler Episode: "Weeping Willow"
2008–2012 Gossip Girl Georgina Sparks 28 episodes; recurring role (seasons 1–6)
2008 The Circuit Kylie Shines Television film
2009–2010 Mercy Chloe Payne 22 episodes; main role (season 1)
2009 The Super Hero Squad Show Valkyrie (voice) 2 episodes; guest role (season 1)
2011 Love Bites Jodie 3 episodes; guest role (season 1)
Weeds Emma Karlin 5 episodes; guest role (season 7)
2013 Criminal Minds Diane Turner Episode: "Zugzwang"
Killing Kennedy Marina Oswald Television film
NCIS: Los Angeles Lily Lockhart Episode: "Merry Evasion"
2015 Sleepy Hollow Abigail Adams Episode: "Pittura Infamante"
SuperMansion Blood Moon (voice) Episode: "A Midsummer Night's Ream"
The Christmas Gift Megan Television film
2016 Chopped Junior Herself (guest judge) 1 episode
Sister Cities Dallas Baxter Television film
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Herself (guest) 1 episode
2018 Human Kind Of Judy Reilly (voice) 21 episodes; main role (season 1)

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Guidance Anna 6 episodes
2018 Human Kind Of Judy (voice) 21 episodes

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist
2004 "Echo" Trapt
2005 "Tired of Being Sorry" Ringside
2007 "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" Fall Out Boy

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
1997 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film: Leading Young Actress Harriet the Spy Won [28]
1998 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Supporting Young Actress Meego Won [29]
2000 YoungStar Award Best Young Actress in a Comedy Film Inspector Gadget Nominated
2000 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film: Supporting Young Actress Nominated [30]
2001 Teen Choice Award TV – Choice Sidekick Buffy the Vampire Slayer Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Drama Series: Supporting Young Actress Won [31]
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress on Television Nominated
2002 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Leading Young Actress Truth or Scare Nominated [32]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Guest Starring Young Actress MADtv Nominated
Saturn Award Best Supporting Television Actress Buffy the Vampire Slayer Nominated
2003 Saturn Award Best Supporting Television Actress Nominated
2004 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series Truth or Scare Nominated [33]
2007 Sarasota Film Festival Breakthrough Performer Beautiful Ohio Won
2012 Teen Choice Award Choice TV Villain Gossip Girl Nominated


  1. ^ a b Cusumano, Josephine (October 11, 2015). "Michelle Trachtenberg Celebrates Her 30th Birthday". instyle.com. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  2. ^ Tatiana Morales (March 18, 2005). "Find And Fight For Your Dream". cbsnews.com. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  3. ^ "Michelle Trachtenberg Biography (1985–)". Film Reference.
  4. ^ "James Marsters and Michelle Trachtenberg interview". contactmusic.com. April 2004. Retrieved March 14, 2007.
  5. ^ "March 14, 2013 episode". Kathy. Archived from the original on January 31, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  6. ^ Butler, Karen (March 19, 2005). "ON 'ICE': Sheepshead Bay native talks of tough workouts for lead in 'Ice Princess'". The Brooklyn Paper. Retrieved November 16, 2009. When Michelle Trachtenberg was a young girl growing up in Sheepshead Bay, she dreamed of being a championship ice skater like her childhood idols, Michelle Kwan and Oksana Baiul.
  7. ^ "Gossip Girl Transformations - Michelle Trachtenberg". InStyle. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "Relearning Russian: Michelle Trachtenberg talks challenging role in 'Killing Kennedy'". Fox News. March 25, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  9. ^ Radish, Christina (November 10, 2013). "Michelle Trachtenberg Talks KILLING KENNEDY, Chasing the Project, What Drew Her to Marina Oswald & Working with Will Rothhaar on Character Dynamics". Collider. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Koltow, Barry (July 11, 1996). "Defining where 'Harriet' ends, Michelle Trachtenberg begins". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved March 9, 2008.
  11. ^ Morales, Tatiana (March 18, 2005). "Find And Fight For Your Dream". CBS News. Retrieved March 9, 2008.
  12. ^ White, Kelly (December 2000). "Under Michelle's spell". Girls' Life. Retrieved November 23, 2007.
  13. ^ Eakin, Marah (July 5, 2012). "Exploring The Adventures Of Pete And Pete's genesis and highlights (Part 3 of 4)". AV Club. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  14. ^ "19th Annual Awards". www.youngartistawards.org. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  15. ^ "Michelle Trachtenberg about her Guest Appearance on House @ Conan O'Brien 22/12/2006". YouTube. August 18, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  16. ^ Devoe, Noelle (September 22, 2015). "16 Celebs Who Got Their Start on "Law & Order"". Seventeen. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  17. ^ "Trachtenberg goes to Washington in ABC comedy". Reuters. March 8, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2007.
  18. ^ "Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight". IMDb.
  19. ^ Ausiello, Michael (March 19, 2008). "Gossip Girl casts Buffy alumna Michelle Trachtenberg". Ausiello Report, TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008.
  20. ^ "Michelle Trachtenberg to Return to Gossip Girl". People. January 5, 2009. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012.
  21. ^ Godwin, Jennifer (May 18, 2009). "This Just In: Is Georgina Joining Gossip Girl?". E! Online.
  22. ^ Cutler, Jacqueline (September 30, 2009). "'Mercy' seeking place among TV season's pack of nurse shows". The Oklahoman. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  23. ^ McNary, Dave (December 27, 2009). "Kevin Smith's 'Dicks' becomes 'Cop Out'". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  24. ^ Hibberd, James (June 27, 2011). "Michelle Trachtenberg cast as pot dealer on Weeds". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  25. ^ Fleming, Mike (May 9, 2012). "'The Scribbler' Starts Production With Katie Cassidy Starring". Deadline.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  26. ^ "Michelle Trachtenberg". Maxim.com. Archived from the original on February 11, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  27. ^ "What Has Michelle Trachtenberg Been Doing Since 'Gossip Girl'? The Former 'Buffy' Star Has Been Busy". Amanda Steele’s Series ‘Guidance’ Available on go90 For Free On Christmas! | Amanda Steele, Exclusive, Social Stars : Just Jared Jr. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  28. ^ "18th Annual Youth in Film Awards 1995-1996". Young Artist Award. Archived from the original on April 2, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  29. ^ "19th Annual Youth in Film Awards 1996-1997". Young Artist Award. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  30. ^ "21st Annual Young Artist Awards for 1998-1999". Young Artist Award. Archived from the original on April 3, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  31. ^ "22nd Annual Young Artist Awards 1999-2000". Young Artist Award. Archived from the original on September 28, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  32. ^ "23rd Annual Young Artist Awards 2002". Young Artist Award. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  33. ^ "31st Annual Daytime Emmy Award Nomination" (PDF). emmyonline.org. Retrieved January 10, 2015.

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