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Sarah Michelle Gellar Bio
Sarah Michelle Gellar or Sarah Michelle Prinze (born April 14, 1977) is an American actress and producer. After being spotted by an agent at the age of four in New York City, she made her acting debut in the made-for-TV movie An Invasion of Privacy (1983). Gellar went on to appear in episodes of Spenser: For Hire and Crossbow and have small roles in films such as Funny Farm (1988) and High Stakes (1989). Her first leading part was in the 1992 miniseries Swans Crossing, for which she was nominated for two Young Artist Awards. Gellar’s television breakthrough came in 1993, when she originated the role of Kendall Hart on the ABC daytime soap opera All My Children, winning the 1995 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series.
Gellar received worldwide recognition for her portrayal of Buffy Summers on the WB TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), which earned her six Teen Choice Awards, the Saturn Award for Best Genre Television Actress and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. The character was widely popular during the airing of the show and became recognized as one of the 100 greatest female characters in U.S. television. Gellar also gained notoriety for horror films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2. She eventually played Kathryn Merteuil in Cruel Intentions (1999) and appeared as Daphne Blake in Scooby-Doo (2002), her biggest live-action commercial success.
In 2004, Gellar starred in two box office hits, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and The Grudge, and subsequently appeared in the sequel, The Grudge 2 (2006). She then focused on smaller-scale films, such as Southland Tales (2007), The Air I Breathe (2008) and Veronika Decides to Die (2009). She starred in the television drama series Ringer, which ran for one season from 2011 to 2012 and in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams from 2013 to 2014. In 2015, she joined the cast of the animated series Star Wars Rebels for season two, playing a character known as the Seventh Sister.
1981–96: Early acting credits and television breakthrough
At four, she was spotted by an agent in a restaurant in Upper Manhattan. Two weeks later, she auditioned for a part in An Invasion of Privacy, a television film starring Valerie Harper, Carol Kane, and Jeff Daniels. At the audition, Gellar read both her own lines and those of Harper, impressing the directors enough to cast her in the role. She subsequently appeared in a controversial television commercial for Burger King, in which her character criticized McDonald’s and claimed to eat only at Burger King. The ad led to a lawsuit by McDonald’s, naming Gellar and banning her from eating at the food chain; she recalled in a 2004 interview: “I wasn’t allowed to eat there. It was tough because, when you’re a little kid, McDonald’s is where all your friends have their birthday parties, so I missed out on a lot of apple pies.” At the age of nine, she appeared alongside Mathew Broderick and Eric Stoltz in the Broadway production The Widow Claire. While growing up, Gellar also worked as a model for Wilhemina and acted in over 100 television commercials.
Gellar played guest-roles in TV series such as Spenser: For Hire and Crossbow, and played supporting characters in the films Funny Farm (1988) and High Stakes (1989). She appeared in the young-teen girl talk show Girl Talk. In 1991, she was cast as a young Jacqueline Bouvier in the TV movie A Woman Named Jackie. Gellar’s first major acting work came in the following year, when she landed the starring role in the 1992 syndicated teen serial Swans Crossing, for which she received two Young Artist Award nominations, one for Best Young Actress in a New Television Series and the other for Best Young Actress in an Off-Primetime Series. She subsequently made her debut in the soap opera All My Children in 1993, playing Kendall Hart, the long-lost daughter of character Erica Kane (Susan Lucci). As she got the role, Gellar was complimented as having the acting talent and the “forceful personality” needed to go up against Lucci’s experience; Kendall was supposed to be like a younger version of Erica. In 1995, at the age of eighteen, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series for the role. The same year, Gellar left All My Children to pursue other acting opportunities.
1997–2003: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and worldwide recognition
Gellar landed the lead in the 1997 TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing a teenager burdened with the responsibility of fighting a number of occult foes, mostly vampires. She was screen tested eleven times, originally auditioning for the role of Cordelia Chase which went to Charisma Carpenter. After its premiere, the show along with Gellar’s portrayal received critical and popular acclaim. It had seven seasons and 144 episodes, and during its broadcast, the series brought Gellar six Teen Choice Awards, the Saturn Award for Best Genre Television Actress and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. Gellar sang during the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode “Once More, with Feeling“, which spawned an original cast album, released in 2002.
During the initial success of Buffy, she made her first major film role in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), co-starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. She was cast as Helen Shiver, an aspiring beauty actress. The movie received generally mixed reviews, with praise going mostly towards the leads; while Washington Post pointed out Gellar as “likable”, UK’s The Guardian commented that the main characters were “brilliantly and authentically played by the four actors who were key members of the late 90s brat-pack”. The film was successful at the box office, grossing US$125,586,134 around the globe, and earned Gellar a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Horror and a MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance. That same year, Gellar got a role in the teen horror Scream 2, in which she portrayed Cici Cooper, a Sorority sister and film fan. She signed on to Scream 2 without having read the script, on the basis of the success of the first film. The sequel gained critical acclaim and earned US$172,363,301 worldwide. With her recent work at the time, she cemented her “It girl” status with her first appearance on the ‘Most Beautiful’ list by People magazine. In 1998, she appeared in one episode of Saturday Night Live and went on to host the show two more times until 2002. She also provided the voice of the Gwendy Doll in Small Soldiers (1998), a commercial success with mixed feedback.
She also had a cameo appearance in the romantic comedy She’s All That (1999), which was followed by her starring role in Simply Irresistible, a box office bomb widely panned by critics. However, Gellar next saw her profile raised significantly for her role of Kathryn Merteuil, in Cruel Intentions (1999), a modern-day retelling of Les Liaisons dangereuses. The film initially started as an indie project, but when it was released, it became a commercial and mainstream success, grossing US$75 million worldwide on a US$10 million budget. It also earned several awards and nominations, including the “Best Kiss” award at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards for Gellar and co-star Selma Blair. Her part as a brunette cocaine addict with an appetite for manipulating and using people received mostly positive reviews; critic Roger Ebert felt that Gellar and co-star Ryan Phillippe “develop a convincing emotional charge” and that Gellar is “effective as a bright girl who knows exactly how to use her act as a tramp”. Rob Blackwelder for SPLICEDwire called her performance “dazzling” and wrote that the actress “plunges headlong into the lascivious malevolence that makes Kathryn so delightfully wicked. (Plus she looks great in a corset.)”. In an interview with Chicago Tribune, director Roger Kumble, describing Gellar’s work in the movie, said: “She unquestionably is the most professional actor I ever worked with”. Around that time, she guest-starred in three episodes of Angel and appeared as Debbie in the HBO series Sex and the City episode “Escape from New York”.
Gellar subsequently was cast in a leading role as a mobster’s daughter in James Toback‘s independent drama Harvard Man (2001), that came out in a limited theatrical release, receiving average reviews. Some critics agreed that her character in the movie shared the same nature of her role of Kathryn Merteuil in Cruel Intentions, with Variety remarking that Gellar was “fun to watch in the adorable, devious bitch mode she test-drove” in her portrayal of Kathryn, and DVD Talk writing that her “self-serving Mafia Maiden echoes her bitchy turn” in the 1999 film. Two sex scenes with Gellar also helped her shed her good girl image along with Cruel Intentions. In 2002, Gellar played Daphne Blake in Scooby-Doo, which had a negative critical reception but was a commercial success with a total gross of US$275,650,703, becoming the 15th most successful film worldwide of 2002 (and the highest grossing movie of Gellar’s career to date). Gellar won the Teen Choice Award in the category of Choice Movie Actress – Comedy for her part in the picture. Alongside Jack Black, she hosted the 2002 MTV Movie Awards, which attracted 7.1 million viewers on its June 6 broadcast, achieving the show’s highest rating ever at the time.
During her growing film career, Gellar continued work on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she left the show after the seventh season. When asked why, she explained, “This isn’t about leaving for a career in movies, or in theater – it’s more of a personal decision. I need a rest.” Shortly after the show’s end, Gellar stated that she had no interest in appearing in a Buffy feature film, but that she will consider it if the script is good enough. She did not appear in the final season of Angel, causing the intended episode (“You’re Welcome“) to be rewritten for the character of Cordelia Chase. Gellar has said that she was willing to appear in the episode, but scheduling conflicts and family problems prevented it. Another actress, Giselle Loren, voiced Buffy for an animated series based on the show, which never aired, and the various Buffy video games. In her feature in Esquire magazine Gellar expressed her pride for her work on Buffy, “I truly believe that it is one of the greatest shows of all time and it will go down in history as that. And I don’t feel that that is a cocky statement. We changed the way that people looked at television.”
2004–10: The Grudge and smaller-scale projects
After the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gellar provided her voice for the character Gina Vendetti in The Simpson episode “The Wandering Juvie” that aired in March 2004. Her next film was the sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed which also received negative reviews. Critical reception towards Gellar’s portrayal was more positive; while Scott Brown for Entertainment Weekly wrote that he rejected Gellar’s “Buffyfied Daphne”, the review in Slant remarked that she and co-star Prinze “are engaging in their willingness to send up their own teen-idol status”. On a similar note, IGN stated that both Gellar and Prinze “exhibit marked improvements over their work in the original”. Scooby Doo 2 was a commercial success, grossing US$181,466,833 around the globe. In October that year, she appeared in the horror film The Grudge, which was also a major box office hit, ranking number one in its opening weekend with earnings of over US$39 million. It eventually grossed more than US$110 million in the United States and US$187 million worldwide. Critics gave the film mainly mixed reviews, with Gellar’s role garnering an equally average reception; View London wrote that she is “fine in the lead” and Hollywood.com concluded that her role “demonstrates she has the soul to carry a flick of this magnitude solo”. However, James Berardinelli felt that Gellar played an “unfortunately wooden performance” and commented that the actress, who “has shown a lot more energy in other outings, exhibits only two expressions here: petulance and bewilderment”. She then received a MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Frightened Performance as well as a nomination for the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress – Thriller for the part of Karen. In 2005, she had a voice-over role in an episode of the animated television series Robot Chicken. Since then, Gellar has voiced several other characters, in a total of 14 episodes of the show, as of 2014.
Her project, Richard Kelly‘s comedy-thriller Southland Tales opened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2006 and was eventually released in November 2007 in selected theaters. Gellar had met with Kelly and was drawn to the original ideas for the movie, accepting the role before she even read the script. The film received divided reviews, but Gellar was acclaimed by a number of critics; J. Hoberman wrote for Village Voice that the director “contrives two memorable comic performances” by Gellar and Dwayne Johnson and Elizabeth Weitzman of New York Daily News also admiring both actors’ work in the picture, asserted that they “have charisma to spare”. eFilmcritic.com singled out Gellar for her interpretation, stating that she “nails the character’s New Age-inspired brand of self-absorption so successfully that I wish that Kelly would devise a spin-off story centered entirely on her character”. Gellar appeared in The Grudge 2, which came out in October 2006. She had a small part reprising her role from the first film. Although not being as successful as the first installment, the sequel premiered at number one at the box office charts, garnering US$20.8 million in its opening weekend. It became a moderate profit with a total gross of US$70 million from a budget of US$20 million. Gellar next starred in the thriller The Return, that was released the following month and in which she played a businesswoman haunted by memories of her childhood and the mysterious death of a young woman. The film earned mostly negative reviews and was a commercial failure, grossing US$11 million from a production budget of US$15 million. Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club expressed that Gellar “neither adds to nor detracts from the quality of the project around her”, while the New York Times‘ Jeannette Catsoulis called her participation in the movie a “career stagnation”.
Gellar voiced Ella in the animated film Happily N’Ever After, which was universally panned by critics and unsuccessful at the box office. However, her next animated movie, TMNT (where she played April O’Neil), was a commercial success, grossing over US$95 million while it had a mixed reception. Suburban Girl and The Air I Breathe – in which Gellar starred – were screened at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Suburban Girl was released direct-to-DVD in January 2008. It was described as “a blend of Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada” and a “pseudo-sophisticated romantic comedy” according to Variety. The movie attracted mixed reviews, but her on-screen chemistry with Alec Baldwin was praised, with Eye For Film commenting that the film “works best when Baldwin and Gellar are together”. DVD Verdict found both actors’ attraction in the movie “refreshing” and felt that Gellar “succeeds in delivering a fairly natural performance”. Film website Moviepicturefilm.com, similarly, stated that “Gellar and Baldwin both give wonderful performances and make their chemistry incredibly real and ultimately, quite heartbreaking”. The Air I Breathe premiered theatrically the same month in a limited release (making US$2 million at the worldwide box office on a budget of US$10 million) to generally poor reviews. The New York Times called it a “gangster movie with delusions of grandeur”. However, Gellar’s performance received positive comments from critics and audiences; DVD Talk noted that “her character here has the deepest emotional arc, and she hits all the right notes.”
Gellar had the starring role in the psychological thriller Possession. Due to financial problems at YARI Film Group, the movie had a range of release dates in the United States between 2008 and 2009, and it was ultimately released straight-to-video in March 2010. However, Possession had theatrical openings in various countries such as Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico, where it grossed US$682,173. Gellar also starred in Veronika Decides to Die, which tells the story of a young woman suffering from severe depression who rediscovers the joy in life when she finds out that she only has days to live following a suicide attempt. Filming began on May 12, 2008, in New York City and finished in late June. It was reported that Kate Bosworth was previously attached to the project. Although the picture received mostly average reviews, Gellar’s part was critically acclaimed, with Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter asserting that the actress was “reasonably compelling”. The film first premiered in a number of countries throughout 2009 and 2010, grossing a total of US$1,369,647 (on a budget of US$9 million). It was given an U.S. release in selected theaters and simultaneously on video-on-demand on January 20, 2015.
2011–present: Television roles
Gellar signed on to star and work as executive producer for a new drama titled Ringer, in which she plays a woman on the run who manages to hide by living the life of her wealthy twin sister. The show was originally made for CBS but was picked up by its sister channel The CW in May 2011. Gellar has stated that part of her decision to return to a television series was because it allows her to both work and raise her daughter. The series premiered with mixed reviews, with Gellar earning praise from critics; E! Online wrote that she was “awesome” and “fantastic”, TV Line remarked that she “does a fine job” as both characters and USA Today found her performance “well-defined”. The first episode brought high rating for the network (with 2.84 million viewers), however after a decline in viewership from the three-month hiatus over the holiday break, The CW announced the cancellation of Ringer.
On August 4, 2011, Gellar confirmed she would be returning as a guest star on the ABC soap opera All My Children before the show’s ending in September but not as Kendall Hart. Her airdate was September 21, 2011. She portrayed a patient at Pine Valley Hospital. She tells Maria Santos that Pine Valley is familiar to her, and, that she is “Erica Kane‘s daughter”. She also states that she saw vampires before they became trendy—a reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She played Phyllis in the American Dad! episode “Virtual In-Stanity“, which aired on November 20, 2011, and brought in 4.82 million viewers. Her former Buffy co-star Alyson Hannigan also made a voice-over role in the episode, receiving positive reviews. The AV Club called Gellar and Hannigan “effective guest stars” and that “both have voices with enough personality to fit their characters”. Gellar provided her voice again for the December 6, 2012 episode of the show (“Adventures in Hayleysitting”).
On February 15, 2013, it was reported that Gellar would return to television with a pilot for CBS entitled The Crazy Ones with Robin Williams. The show is a single-camera comedy, about an advertising agency run by a father (Williams) and his daughter. The series, for which she won a People’s Choice Award for Favourite Actress in a New Television Series, aired at 9/8c on Thursday nights, from September 26, 2013, to April 17, 2014. On May 10, 2014, after one season, CBS announced that it had canceled the series.
On March 3, 2015, it was reported that Gellar had joined the cast of Star Wars Rebels for season two, playing a character known as the Seventh Sister. She guest-starred as Cinderella in Whitney Avalon’s official YouTube channel video short Princess Rap Battle.,
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