Career Biography

At the age of four, she was spotted by an agent in a restaurant in Uptown 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. This led to a lawsuit by McDonald’s. As a child, Gellar modeled for magazines.

Gellar appeared in TV series such as Spenser: For Hire and Crossbow, and had minor roles in the films Funny Farm (1988) and High Stakes (1989). She also appeared in the young-teen girl talk show Girl Talk. In 1991, she appeared as a young Jacqueline Bouvier in the TV movie A Woman Named Jackie. Gellar’s first major acting work came in 1992, when she starred in the serial Swans Crossing and was subsequently cast in the soap opera All My Children, playingKendall Hart, the long-lost daughter of character Erica Kane (Susan Lucci). In 1995, at the age of eighteen, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series for the role.[11] Gellar left All My Children in 1995.

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 mystical foes, mostly vampires. She stated that she was screen tested eleven times (originally auditioning for the role of Cordelia Chase). The show was well received by critics and audiences alike. Throughout its seven seasons and a total of 144 episodes, Buffy, and by extension Gellar, became cult icons in the United States, Canada, the UK, Irelandand Australia. Gellar sang several of the songs during the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode “Once More, with Feeling”, which spawned an original cast album.

She first had her major film role in the popular slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer. She was cast as Helen Shiver, an aspiring beauty actress.Washington Post found her “likable”.The film was successful at the box office, grossing $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.As a result the film has been parodied and referenced in popular culture.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 film gained acclaim and earned an impressive $172,363,301. 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.

After making a cameo appearance in the romantic comedy She’s All That, Gellar had the starring role in Simply Irresistible, film that premiered in early 1999. The film opened to negative reviews and did not do well at the box office. She admitted in an interview having regrets for her choice to work in the film: “Simply Irresistible was just a bad choice – and for that, it was a great learning experience. I wasn’t ready to make that movie. I was too young. The script was not ready. I knew in my heart before I left to make it that I should back out.”

Cruel Intentions (1999), a modern-day retelling of Les Liaisons dangereuses featured a kiss between Gellar and co-star Selma Blair that won the two the “Best Kiss” award at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards. This film was a modest hit at the box office, grossing over $38 million in the United States and over $75 million worldwide,and earned several awards and nominations. Critic Roger Ebert stated 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”. Gellar’s role showed her versatility as an actress, and many were surprised to see her playing a brunette cocaine addict with an appetite for manipulating and using people. Her performance was praised by a number of critics, including Rob Blackwelder for SPLICEDwire, who wrote about the “dazzling performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar who plunges headlong into the lascivious malevolence that makes Kathryn so delightfully wicked. (Plus she looks great in a corset.)”. 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 casted a lead role in James Toback’s independent Harvard Man (2001), as a mobster’s daughter, to mixed reviews at its premiere. found Gellar’s performance “memorable” along with cast’s.Two sex scenes with Gellar, shedded her good girl image along with 1999’s Cruel Intentions. In 2002, Gellar’s portrayal of Daphne Blake in Scooby-Doo, which received negative reception  but grossed $275,650,703 worldwide, making it the 15th most successful film worldwide of 2002. Gellar won the Teen Choice Award in the category of Choice Movie Actress: Comedy.

During her growing film career Gellar continued work on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer; however, she decided to leave 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 ofCordelia 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 Esquiremagazine 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.”Gellar’s likeness is used in the comic continuationof the series.

Gellar in Dubai in December 2004.

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 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. The movie received negative reviews but was a commercial success, grossing $181,466,833 around the globe. In that year, she appeared in the horror film The Grudge, which was also a hit with a $187,281,115 worldwide gross.Gellar received praise for her role, and many critics referenced her performance as the reason for the film’s success.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 Davis. 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 12 episodes of the show, as of 2013.

Gellar appeared in the sequel The Grudge 2, which opened in October 2006; in the film, she had a supporting role reprising her character from the first film. Upon her appearance, she received mixed reviews due to the character’s surprise death upsetting many fans.Although not being as successful as the first installment, the movie was a modest commercial hit that premiered at number one at the box office, garnering $22 million in its opening weekend. Gellar next appeared in the thriller The Return, which 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 movie was marketed as a horror movie and many including critics were surprised to find The Return was, as Rafe Telsch said, “just a murder mystery with a few supernatural elements”. The movie pulled in a disappointing $4,800,000 weekend gross with little promotion.

Gellar then lent her voice to 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 (in which she played April O’Neil), was a commercial success, grossing over $95 millionwhile it received a mixed reception. Her project, Richard Kelly’s thriller Southland Tales opened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2006 and came out in a limited release in the U.S. on November 9, 2007, garnering divided reviews.Gellar had met with Kelly and was drawn to the original ideas in his script for the movie.

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-DVDin 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 on screen chemistry with Alec Baldwin was either criticized or praised, with Eye For Film commenting, “The film works best when Baldwin and Gellar are together – aside from the fact that Gellar seriously needs to eat a bun or two”. Film website stated “Gellar and Baldwin both give wonderful performances and make their chemistry incredibly real and ultimately, quite heartbreaking. Containing a ton of laughs and killer fashion that could give “The Devil Wears Prada” a run for its money, this movie has something uncommon in most romantic comedies, tons of style and a huge heart.”The Air I Breathe premiered theatrically the same month in a limited release (making more than 2 million at the worldwide box office)to generally poor reviews.The New York Times called it a “gangster movie with delusions of grandeur.” However, Gellar’s performance was praised by a number of critics, DVD Talk Review 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, which was presented at the Cannes Film Market in May 2008.Due to financial problems at YARI Film Group, the movie had a range of release dates in the U.S. 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,gaining $682,173.Gellar also starred in Veronika Decides to Die (2009). The film 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 of the movie 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. The movie and Gellar herself received acclaim]and Veronika was theatrically opened in limited release in several countries throughout 2009 and grossed over $1.3 million worldwide. At that time, her daughter Charlotte Grace Prinze was born and Gellar took a rest from film roles in order to spend time with her child.

In 2011, 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-positive reviews; E! Online wrote that Gellar was “awesome” and “fantastic”,TV Line remarked she “does a fine job” as both charactersandUSA 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 ratings and 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. Gellar then guest-starred in the American Dad episode “Virtual In-Stanity” (aired on November 20, 2011), which brought 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 opposite Robin Williams.The show will be a single-camera comedy, about an advertising agency run by a father (Williams) and his daughter (Gellar).The series will air in the 9/8c timeslot on Thursday nights, beginning September 26, 2013.