Alyson Hannigan has demonstrated an ability to take minor roles and make them memorable, to be cast as second fiddle and command more attention than the prima donna.
She was born Allison Lee Hannigan March 24, 1974 in Washington, D.C.; her family soon thereafter moved to Atlanta, Georgia. She began her acting career before she started kindergarten. Hannigan made her first commercials at age 4, the little red-haired girl hawking McDonald's, Oreos, and Six Flags amusement parks. In 1985 she moved to Los Angeles, where she attended North Hollywood High School and began searching serious film and television roles. In 1988, she found work in both, appearing as a friend of Becky Connor in Roseanne and a family member in My Stepmother is an Alien.
In 1996 she was cast as the nerd girl sidekick, Willow Rosenberg, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (replacing Riff Regan, who'd had the role in the original, unaired pilot episode). Her acting ability and personal charm led to an increasingly important role in the series. Willow developed more than anyone else during the show's run, and in time she became as important as star Sarah Michelle Gellar. It's some measure of her success that when FHM did its "Girls of Buffy" issue in 2003, Hannigan received more ink and photos than her co-stars.
She appeared as Michelle Flaherty, the girl geek from band camp in American Pie. Essentially a one-joke character, Hannigan acquitted herself so well that her screen time increased dramatically in the sequels, and she took center stage in American Wedding.
She became friends with Alexis Denisof after he appeared as Wesley Wyndham-Pryce in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This relationship eventually turned romantic, and the pair married in October, 2003.
She has endeared herself to fans by admitting that she occasionally reads fan sites. And for those of you who must know everything, Ms. Hannigan has two tattoos: a dolphin on her ankle and a happiness/luck kanji on her back.
In 2005, she started appearing weekly again in How I Met Your Mother, a CBS sitcom. With her most famous roles to date attached to a TV series and a movie trilogy which are now complete, we shall see what will transpire next for this popular turn-of-the-millenium performer.
In addition to numerous TV guest-appearances (including Angel, Rosanne, Picket Fences, King of the Hill, and The MTV Music Awards), Hannigan has appeared in:
American Reunion (2012)
Love Wedding Marriage (2011)
Date Movie (2006)
Farce of the Penguins (2006, voice only)
Date Movie (2006)
How I Met Your Mother (2005-?)
American Wedding (2003)
Beyond the City Limits aka Rip It Off (2002)
American Pie 2 (2001)
Boys and Girls (2000)
Hayley Wagner, Star (1999) (Made-for-tv)
American Pie (1999)
Dead Man on Campus (1998)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) (TV series)
For My Daughter's Honor aka Indecent Seduction (1996) (Made-for-tv)
A Case for Life (1996) (Made-for-tv)
The Stranger Beside Me (1995) (Made-for-tv)
Switched at Birth (1991) (Made-for-tv)
Free Spirit (1989) (TV series)
My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988)
"Alyson Hannigan." Internet Movie Database
Alyson Hannigan, interview by Kevin Raub. FHM
Alyson Hannigan Corner. http://www.alysonhannigancorner.com/alyson.html