Alyson Hannigan

Alyson Hannigan

Hannigan at the May 2015 Phoenix Comicon
Born Alyson Lee Hannigan
(1974-03-24) March 24, 1974
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Residence Santa Monica, California
Other names Alyson Denisof
Alma mater California State University, Northridge
Occupation Actress, television host
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Alexis Denisof (m. 2003)
Children 2

Alyson Lee Hannigan (born March 24, 1974)[1] is an American actress. She is best known for her roles as Willow Rosenberg on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), Lily Aldrin on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014), and Michelle Flaherty in the American Pie film series (1999–2012).[2]

Early life

Hannigan was born in Washington, DC, the only child of Emilie (Posner) Haas, a real estate agent, and Al Hannigan, a truck driver.[2][3][4] Her father is of Irish ancestry and her mother is Jewish.[5][6] Her parents divorced when she was two, and she was raised mostly by her mother in Atlanta, Georgia.[7]


Childhood and early years

At age four, Hannigan began appearing in commercials.[8] 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 attending North Hollywood 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.[9][10]

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] Then 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.[11]

The Buffy years

In 1997, Hannigan was cast to play Willow Rosenberg, Buffy Summers' best friend, on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[12] 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.

Stage, television, and movie work

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.[13]

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.[14] In February 2006, Hannigan 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.[15]

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.[16]

In 2012, Hannigan reprised the role of Michelle in American Reunion.[17]

Since 2016, Hannigan has hosted the television series Penn & Teller: Fool Us.[18]

With husband Alexis Denisof

Personal life

Hannigan married her Buffy the Vampire Slayer recurring co-star Alexis Denisof at Two Bunch Palms Resort in Desert Hot Springs, California, on October 11, 2003. The couple have two daughters, Satyana Marie Denisof, born on March 24, 2009 (which is also Alyson Hannigan's birthday)[19] and Keeva Jane Denisof, born May 23, 2012.[20]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Impure Thoughts Patty Stubbs
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
2007 Farce of the Penguins Hottie Penguin (voice)
2011 Love, Wedding, Marriage Courtney
2012 American Reunion Michelle Flaherty-Levenstein
2016 Do You Take This Man Rachael


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 TV movie
1993 Almost Home Samantha 2 episodes
1994 Touched by an Angel Cassie Peters Episode: "Cassie's Choice"
1995 The Stranger Beside Me Dana TV movie
1996 A Case for Life Iris TV movie
1996 For My Daughter's Honor Kelly TV movie
1996 Picket Fences Peggy Patterson Episode: "To Forgive Is Devine"
1996 Friends for Life Emma Daniels Pilot
1997–2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Willow Rosenberg Main role
(144 episodes)
1999–2000 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd Gigi Voice
2 episodes
1999 Hayley Wagner, Star Jenna Jakes TV movie
2000 Wild Thornberrys, TheThe 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"
2004 In the Game Role unknown Pilot
2004 Americana Andrea TV movie
2005–06 Veronica Mars Trina Echolls 3 episodes:
"Ruskie Business"
"Hot Dogs"
"My Mother, the Fiend"
2005–14 How I Met Your Mother Lily Aldrin Main role
206 episodes
2009 Gordon Ramsay: Cookalong Live Herself Guest Star
Episode: "Gordon Ramsay: Cookalong Live"
2009 Goode Family, TheThe Goode Family Michelle Voice
Episode: "Graffiti in Greenville"
2011 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Melody Voice
Episode: "Flaming Moe"
2011 Robot Chicken Steelheart Voice
Episode: "Big Trouble in Little Clerks 2"
2011, 2013 American Dad! Chelsea / Peasant's Daughter Voice
2 episodes
2013, 2016 Hollywood Game Night[21] Herself Episode: "The One with the Friends"
Episode: "Hannigan, Hale & Hunt... Oh My!"
2014 Sofia the First Winter Voice
Episode: "Winter's Gift"
2014 The McCarthys Pam Episode: "Red Sox Swap"
2016 Penn & Teller: Fool Us Herself Host

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


  1. Wihlborg, Ulrica (2009-03-31). "Alyson Hannigan Welcomes a Daughter!". People. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "How I Met Your Mother Cast: Alyson Hannigan". CBS. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  3. 1 2 "Former Atlantan Alyson Hannigan interview for 'How I Met Your Mother'". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. September 21, 2009. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  4. "Film Reference Alyson Hannigan Bio". Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  5. Bloom, Nate (2004-07-09). "Celebrity Jews". the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Retrieved 2006-07-16.
  6. "Hollywood Now: Alyson Hannigan, Jewish Male Actors, Fall Feature - InterfaithFamily". Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  7. Biography for Alyson Hannigan at the Internet Movie Database
  8. "Interview: Alyson Hannigan on American Pie". Scotland on Sunday. April 22, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  9. "Alyson Hannigan". Retrieved 2010-04-18.
  10. "Alyson Hannigan Biography". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  11. "It's Evening in America". Vanity Fair. May 2012. Page 158.
  12. "Where Are They Now? Buffy the Vampire Slayer". People. December 3, 2007. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  13. "When Harry Met Sally, Review by Philip Fisher (2004)". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
  14. "'Veronica Mars' scoop". Chicago Tribune. January 20, 2006. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  15. Alyson Hannigan at the Internet Movie Database
  16. Kate Stanhope (2009-10-01). "Deschanel, Hannigan and Others Cop a Feel for a Cause". Archived from the original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  17. "Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and 'Mother'-hood". USA Today. April 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  18. Alyson Hannigan tapped to host Penn & Teller: Fool Us in season 3
  19. Alyson Hannigan Welcomes a Daughter!, People Magazine, March 31, 2009
  20. "Alyson Hannigan Welcomes Daughter Keeva Jane!". 12 June 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  21. Virtel, Louis (July 12, 2013). ""Hollywood Game Night": Jane, We Love You, But Let's Revamp". The Backlot. Retrieved July 13, 2015.

External links

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