Nicholas Brendon

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Nicholas Brendon
Nicholas Brendon Italy.jpg
Nicholas Brendon in Italy, November 2018
Born
Nicholas Brendon Schultz

(1971-04-12) April 12, 1971 (age 49)
Los Angeles, California, United States
OccupationActor, Artist, Writer
Years active1993–present
Spouse(s)
Tressa DiFiglia
(m. 2001; div. 2006)

Moonda Tee
(m. 2014; div. 2015)

Nicholas Brendon Schultz (born April 12, 1971), known professionally as Nicholas Brendon, is an American actor and writer. He is best known for playing Xander Harris in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003) and Kevin Lynch in Criminal Minds (2007–2014).

Brendon played Xander Harris for seven years and appeared in all but one of 114 episodes. For his role as Xander, Brendon was nominated for Saturn Award in 1998 and 1999 for Best Genre TV Actor and in 2000 for the Supporting Actor.[1] He continues to regularly attend comic conventions and sci-fi conventions. He has been involved in development of Xander's character in follow-up comic books, and has been credited as a writer for several issues.

Although Brendon has continued to work as an actor with regular recurring parts in TV series and starring roles in limited release films such as Coherence and Big Gay Love, his struggles with substance misuse and depression have overshadowed his professional career and Brendon has attracted public attention for his multiple arrests and convictions on a variety of charges since 2010.

Early life[edit]

Nicholas Brendon was born Nicholas Brendon Schultz on April 12, 1971, in Los Angeles,[2] three minutes after his identical twin brother, Kelly Donovan.[3] He has two younger brothers.

As a child, he aspired to become a professional baseball player, but he "lost the passion for it" at 20.[4] Instead, he decided to pursue acting to help him manage his stutter,[5] which had first become apparent at age seven or eight, and had made him so fearful of speaking or interacting with strangers that he did not begin dating until 21 or 22. Brendon comments, "Every day I still have to remind myself to slow down and concentrate. Constant repetition of tongue-twisters was like lifting weights for me, but patience and persistence have paid off."[6][7][8] Brendon has done work for the Stuttering Foundation of America, which approached him around 2001,[7] and made him its honorary chairperson for its National Stuttering Awareness Week in May 2001.[6]

He gave up acting after two years because he "couldn't stand the politics in Hollywood". Brendon returned to school to study medicine, which didn't work out; he also tried his hand at a variety of odd jobs, including plumber's assistant, veterinary janitor, day care counselor, waiter, and production assistant for the television show Dave's World.[9][10]

Career[edit]

Breakout role as Xander Harris[edit]

Brendon with Anthony Stewart Head at the 2004 Oakland Super SlayerCon

At the age of 25, Brendon had hit "rock bottom": his girlfriend had left him, he was working as a waiter and could barely afford his rent, and had almost given up on getting good work. After buying the wrong kind of Pop Tarts for his co-workers, his boss fired him and told him "You should be acting." Brendon was attracted to the pilot script for Buffy because of how much he had hated high school. Brendon recognised that Xander was based on Joss Whedon when he had attended high school, accounting for why Xander "gets all the good lines". He signed with a manager and obtained the role of Xander Harris on Buffy the Vampire Slayer three months later.[11]

Buffy Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is the "Slayer", one in a long line of young women chosen by fate to battle evil forces. This mystical calling grants her powers that dramatically increase physical strength, endurance, agility, accelerated healing, intuition, and a limited degree of precognition. In contrast, Brendon's character, Xander is the only character without supernatural abilities, and provides comic relief and a grounded perspective. It is Xander who often provides the heart to the series, and in season six, becomes the hero in place of Buffy who defeats the "Big Bad". Buffy and Willow are the only characters who appear in all 144 episodes; Xander is missing in only one.

Kelly Donovan (left) would occasionally appear as a stunt double for Nicholas Brendon (right)

Brendon played Xander in all but one of the 144 episodes in the series, and even shared the screen with his twin, Kelly Donovan, when his character was split in two in the fifth-season episode "The Replacement".[12]

For his role as Xander, Brendon was nominated for Saturn Award in 1998 and 1999 for Best Genre TV Actor and in 2000 for the Supporting Actor.[13] At least one later critique of Xander's character regarded him less sympathetically as a "Nice Guy™".[14]

In 2014, Brendon was part of a summit for writers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics, which included Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Drew Greenberg, Andrew Chambliss and the then-incoming Buffy writer Christos Gage. He is currently involved with the show's canonical comic book series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Ten, on stories centering on his character.[15][16]

Brendon continues to be a regular fixture at comic conventions and sci-fi fan conventions, and has streamed videos of himself reading fanfiction starring his character Xander Harris on his Facebook page.

After Buffy the Vampire Slayer[edit]

After the series ended in 2003, Brendon joined the cast of the Fox television pilot The Pool at Maddy Breakers. The series was not picked up by the network. In 2004, he co-starred in his first ABC Family movie, Celeste in the City. The following year, he returned to Fox as part of the cast of Kitchen Confidential, based on the book by chef Anthony Bourdain. Thirteen episodes were made, but the series was canceled on December 9 of the same year after the fourth episode aired, due to low ratings.

In 2006, he voiced Huntsboy #89 for season 2 of the animated series American Dragon: Jake Long. That same year, he reunited with his former Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-star Charisma Carpenter in the ABC Family TV movie Relative Chaos.

From July 26 through August 30, 2006, Brendon co-starred with Noah Wyle in the play Lobster Alice at the Blank Theatre Company in Los Angeles. He subsequently appeared in the Blank Theatre's annual Young Playwrights Festival[17] and its productions of The SantaLand Diaries (November 20 to December 20, 2009),[18] and Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them.[19]

In 2007, Brendon began appearing on the TV series Criminal Minds in the recurring role of FBI technical analyst Kevin Lynch.[20] He appeared in episodes in each subsequent season through the tenth season.[21][22]

In late 2010, he premiered his web comic Very Bad Koalas, co-created with animation director/producer Steve Loter. The comic follows the journey of two sheltered and innocent koalas experiencing a variety of people and places while on the run from the law in a 1958 Cadillac El Dorado.[23]

Also in 2010, Brendon began a four-episode arc on ABC's Private Practice playing Lee McHenry, a mentally disturbed man who assaults Charlotte King.

Brendon currently has a recurring role in Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time along with Sylvester McCoy, Robert Picardo, Mayim Bialik, Chase Masterson, Rosearik Rikki Simons, Carrie Keranen.[24]

Personal life[edit]

(From left to right) Alexis Denisof, Alyson Hannigan, Brendon, Nathan Fillion, Danny Strong and Tom Lenk at a John Kerry fundraiser

Nicholas Brendon was married to actress Tressa DiFiglia from 2001–2006. He enjoys painting and photography and has sold his own original artwork. Brendon started to tour gallery shows of his artwork from 2019. He released a "Fall Art Collection" in 2020.

Nicholas Brendon has struggled for many years with depression and alcoholism, leading to many run-ins with the law and multiple arrests and several convictions for destruction of property, vandalism, theft and domestic violence. At a Buffy fan convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2004, he announced that he had voluntarily entered rehab for alcoholism.[25]

In 2010, Brendon was tased and arrested by Los Angeles police, who confronted him in response to a call about an intoxicated individual. He allegedly swung his fists at the officers and attempted to run away, and was arrested for felony vandalism.[26][27][28] Brendon was later charged with four misdemeanors, including one count of resisting arrest, two counts of battery against a police officer, and one count of vandalism.[29] In May 2010, he again checked himself into rehab to address his addiction to alcohol and sleeping pills.[30] In June 2010, Brendon pleaded no contest to all four charges and received a one-year suspended jail sentence, was placed on probation for 36 months, and was required to perform 10 days of community service.[31]

On October 17, 2014, Brendon, participating in the Tree City Comic Con, was arrested in a Boise, Idaho hotel lobby, for misdemeanor charges of malicious injury to property, and resisting or obstructing officers. Brendon subsequently made a public apology, and stated the incident was "embarrassing", the result of drinking alcohol while taking pain medication for a knee problem.[32][33]

In 2014, Brendon married Moonda Tee in Las Vegas, one week after proposing.[34] Brendon announced their separation via social media five months later in February, 2015. Tee claimed in a video posted to social media that this was because Brendon had cheated on her.

In February, 2015, Brendon was arrested on suspicion of grand theft by Fort Lauderdale police after he reportedly trashed his hotel room and refused to pay the bill. He had been in Fort Lauderdale for a local comic convention. His spokesman released a statement shortly after the incident: "Nicholas is, unfortunately, battling a disease that many of us don't understand. ... he's sorry for his actions. ... we are aware that Nicholas' actions are of a much deeper origin—and we are working toward creating a healthy environment for him to thrive in. The past several months have been trying, and Nicholas' disease is damaging and consistently misunderstood. We are doing everything in our power at camp Nick to assure his recovery."[35] Brendon was arrested again after destroying another hotel room after demanding an upgrade. In an interview the next day, he blamed his behaviour on a recent change in medication, and said he would see a doctor to have it reviewed. Due to his arrest, Brendon missed the first day of the ALT*Con conference, apologising to fans.[36]

In August, 2015, Brendon appeared on Dr. Phil to discuss his recent arrests and alcoholism. However, he walked off soon after the interview began. Brendon later explained on his Facebook page that he had been drinking before the interview and had felt unprepared to "lay [out] the darkest parts of myself on national TV".[37] Brendon returned to Dr. Phil in December that year to discuss his arrests and mental health struggles, including several suicide attempts.[38]

In October, 2015, Brendon was arrested in Saratoga Springs, New York for choking his girlfriend in a hotel room. He was charged with felony third-degree robbery, criminal mischief and obstruction of breathing.[39][40] He pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. As part of his plea deal, Brendon avoided a custodial sentence if he completed drug and alcohol counselling and one year probation.[41] Brendon subsequently entered a rehab facility in California for treatment for a 90 day residential program.[42]

In October, 2017, Brendon was arrested for assaulting another girlfriend at a hotel bar in Palm Springs, California.[43] He was charged in April 2019 with felony corporal injury to a spouse,[44] and pleaded "not guilty" a month later.[45] Brendon subsequently agreed to a plea deal to avoid a potential four year prison sentence for felony domestic violence and violation of active protective orders issued by two states, in which Brendon was allowed to be near the woman, but prohibited him from harassing, threatening, injuring or assaulting her. On February 28, 2020, he was sentenced to three years' probation and 20 hours of community service, and required to complete a 52-week domestic violence course.[46]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest Basketball Player One
2000 Psycho Beach Party Starcat
2002 Demon Island Kyle
2007 Unholy Lucas
2008 Blood on the Highway Chase Sinclair
2009 A Golden Christmas Michael
2009 My Neighbor's Secret Brent Keller
2010 The Portal Paul
2013 Big Gay Love Andy
2013 Coherence Mike
2014 Indigo Gary
2014 Attack of the Morningside Monster Mark Matthews
2017 Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel Himself
2018 The Nanny David

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Married... with Children Guy in Ray-Ray's Gang Episode: "Hood 'n the Boyz"
1995 Dave's World N/A Episode: "Do the Write Thing"
1997–2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Xander Harris Main role
2003 The Pool at Maddy Breaker's N/A Television film
2004 Celeste in the City Dana Blodgett/Harrison Television film
2005–2006 Kitchen Confidential Seth Richman Main role
2006 Relative Chaos Gil Gilbert Television film
2006–2007 American Dragon: Jake Long Huntsboy No. 89 Recurring voice role, 6 episodes
2007 Fire Serpent Jake Relm Television film
2007–2014 Criminal Minds Kevin Lynch Recurring role (seasons 3–10), 21 episodes
2009 Without a Trace Edger Episode: "Undertow"
2010–2011 Private Practice Lee McHenry 4 episodes (season 4)
2012 Hollywood Heights Dan Testa Episode: "Loren and Kelly Clash"
2014–2015 Faking It Jackson Lee Recurring role
2019 Dark/Web Donovan Episodes: "Chapter Six", "Chapter Eight"

Video games and web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Xander Harris Video game
2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds Xander Harris Video game
2019 Noob Ethan Sprite Web series; episode: "Cooldown"

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1998 Saturn Award for Best Genre TV Actor – Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Nominated
  • 1999 Saturn Award for Best Genre TV Actor – Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Nominated
  • 2000 Saturn Award for Best Genre TV Supporting Actor" – Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Nominated
  • Named one of The Mighty's Mental Health Heroes of 2018

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Awards for Nicholas Brendon". IMDb. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  2. ^ "Nicholas Brendon". TV Guide. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Donovan, Kelly (November 15, 1999). "Oh, Brother!". People. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "Tough Talk". People. 56 (16). October 15, 2001.
  5. ^ "Goodbye Buffy". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Moran, W. Reed (May 15, 2001). "Nicholas Brendon faces down stuttering demon". USA Today.
  7. ^ a b Biegel, Alan (June 20, 2011). "An interview with Nicholas Brendon". Non-Sport Update.
  8. ^ Carney, Kat (November 25, 2002). "Actor gets the word out on stuttering". CNN. Archived from the original on June 3, 2013.
  9. ^ "Nicholas Brendon". BuddyTV. July 17, 2007
  10. ^ "Biography" Archived May 30, 2012, at Archive.today. NickBrendon.com. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  11. ^ "Talking Confidential". Backstage. 2005. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013.
  12. ^ "Oh, Brother! Nicholas Brendon, Kelly Donovan To Attend Philadelphia Comic Con!" Archived May 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Wizard World. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  13. ^ "Awards for Nicholas Brendon". IMDb. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  14. ^ "Reconsidering the Feminism of Joss Whedon". www.themarysue.com. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  15. ^ Glendenning, Daniel (October 11, 2013). "NYCC EXCLUSIVE: Dark Horse Comics Unveils 'Serenity' and 'Buffy: Season 10'". Comic Book Resources.
  16. ^ "Xander explains why he's in charge in the Buffy season 10 comics". Io9. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  17. ^ "About the Young Playwrights Festival" Archived January 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Bacalzo, Dan (October 20, 2009). "Buffy the Vampire Slayers Nicholas Brendon to Star in Blank's Santaland Diaries". TheaterMania.
  19. ^ Jette, D. (February 12, 2010). "Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them at the Stella ADler Theatre". LA Theatre Review. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013.
  20. ^ "Nicholas Brendon back on 'Criminal Minds'" Archived January 30, 2013, at Archive.today. NickBrendon.com. May 5, 2009
  21. ^ "Listings – Criminal Minds on CBS". The Futon Critic. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  22. ^ "Nicholas Brendon". IMDb. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  23. ^ "About Very Bad Koalas" Archived November 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. verbadkoalas.com. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  24. ^ "The Inspector Chronicles: Untitled Motion Picture About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time". Retrieved August 27, 2014
  25. '^ Susman, Gary (June 20, 2011). "Buffys Xander checks himself into rehab". Entertainment Weekly.
  26. ^ Moody, Mike (March 18, 2010). "'Buffy' star Nicholas Brendon 'arrested'". Digital Spy.
  27. ^ "Nicholas Brendon Arrested". Hollywood Crush. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  28. ^ "'Buffy' star Brendon arrested". Canoe. March 17, 2010.
  29. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (March 17, 2010). "'Buffy' Star Nicholas Brendon Arrested, Tased By Police". MTV.
  30. ^ "'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' star Nicholas Brendon enters rehab, report claims". Fox News Channel. May 11, 2010. Archived from the original on May 15, 2010.
  31. ^ "Actor Nicholas Brendon gets probation". UPI. June 20, 2010.
  32. ^ "Nicholas Brendon, 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' Actor, Arrested In Idaho". huffingtonpost.com. Associated Press. October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  33. ^ Payne, Ed (October 20, 2014). "'Buffy' star Nicholas Brendon arrested after hotel disturbance in Boise, Idaho". CNN. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  34. ^ "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Star Nicholas Brendon Gets Married One Week After Proposing". E! Online. October 4, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  35. ^ Nianias, Helen (February 18, 2015). "Nicholas Brendon: Buffy The Vampire Slayer actor arrested for trashing Hilton hotel room and not paying the bill". The Independent. London. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  36. ^ "Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor Nicholas Brendon arrested". Tallahassee Democrat. March 14, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  37. ^ "Nicholas Brendon Explains His Erratic Appearance on 'Dr. Phil'". ABC news.
  38. ^ "Nicholas Brendon Tells 'Dr. Phil' He Attempted to Kill Himself With a Steak Knife". ETOnline. 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  39. ^ "'Buffy' actor arrested in Saratoga Springs". CBS 6 Albany. October 1, 2015. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  40. ^ ""Buffy" Actor Nicholas Brendon Arrested in Upstate NY". NBC. October 1, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  41. ^ Stedman, Alex (December 6, 2015). "'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Actor Pleads Guilty After Allegedly Choking Girlfriend". Variety. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  42. ^ "Nicholas Brendon Reveals He Relapsed: 'I've Unfortunately Stumbled' in My Sobriety". NME. June 3, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  43. ^ "'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' actor Nicholas Brendon arrested for domestic violence" Fox News. October 19, 2019.
  44. ^ Stone, Natalie (May 6, 2019). "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Actor Nicholas Brendon Charged with Domestic Violence". People. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  45. ^ "'Buffy' actor Nicholas Brendon pleads not guilty to domestic violence charge". The Desert Sun. May 13, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  46. ^ "'Buffy' actor Nicholas Brendon sentenced to three years probation for attacking girlfriend". The Desert Sun. February 28, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.

External links[edit]