Born in 1974, Alyson Hannigan was seemingly everywhere in the 1990s after making an impact while at "band camp" in American Pie. She's since been on and off the radar over the years, with her most major success to date being a 9-year-long stint on How I Met Your Mother, which was one of the most popular shows of the last few decades. She has since become a mom, too.
Alyson was a child actor in commercials, sitcoms, and movies throughout the '80s and '90s, but got her first major recognition in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the shy witch Willow Rosenberg. She stayed on the show until 2003, even through her American Pie success. With the exception of a few projects that didn't go anywhere, and a play on London's West End, she's been steadily working in TV for the past 25 years, and still has a massive fan base.
- Photo: Betamax King / YouTube
She Was In A Horror-Style Antacid Commercial In 1994
Well before American Pie and Buffy made her a household name, Alyson Hannigan was a teen concerned with her dad's digestive issues - on television, anyway. In an early acting job, she played a teen who was terrified that her dad might be getting an ulcer. It turns out, however, all he needed was Mylanta to get him back on his feet.
Hannigan got her start in commercials. In 1989, she was the object of Jonathan Taylor Thomas's affection in this spot for McDonald's.
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
Her First Major Film Role Was Alongside Seth Green In ‘My Stepmother Is An Alien’ In 1988
Alyson and Seth Green co-starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where they played two supernatural beings - a witch and werewolf, respectively - who fell in love with each other despite their differences. It didn't last, but their chemistry was such that fans followed them for years after their breakup.
The connection they had in Buffy came from experience - they worked together in the 1988 sci-fi comedy My Stepmother Is an Alien as a preteen couple attending a school dance.
In the film, Hannigan's character is the one that the "My" in the title refers to - she is the daughter of a scientist (Dan Aykroyd) who falls in love with an extraterrestrial (Kim Basinger).
- Photo: Sony Pictures Television / Gilmore Box/YouTube
Her First Regular TV Appearance Was On A Sitcom Called ‘Free Spirit’
You've probably never heard of Free Spirit - it only aired for one season in 1989-1990. It was likely done in by America's Funniest Home Videos and The Simpsons, and was reportedly voted the worst show on television by critics. However, it has plenty of fans online, where many of its episodes can be seen.
Free Spirit is basically Bewitched meets The Nanny. A witch is summoned by the youngest of three children of a recently divorced lawyer and is hired as their caregiver. Alyson plays the middle child of the three, who all struggle to keep their supernatural secret from their dad. It seems oddly appropriate that Hannigan would famously go on to play a witch herself on Buffy.
She Babysat For Her Future Co-Star Bob Saget’s Kids When She Was A Teenager
Before Alyson and comedian Bob Saget were co-stars on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, she was a babysitter to his kids. She said in an interview:
I babysat for Bob’s kids when I was a teenager. From when I was like, 15 to 17, I was his babysitter. Isn’t that funny? And now, I mean, his kids are old enough that they could babysit my kids. I don’t see him much anymore. He has the easiest job on the show. He comes in sort of once a month and does all the voiceover.