15 June 2011

Celebrity crush: Amber Benson (revised)

Today's revised entry features an actress, director and singer who has in recent years added novels and comic book scripts to her arsenal of talent. Amazon and iTunes links follow. Any affiliate payments earned from your purchase or rental will help pay the hosting fees for my podcasts, so please consider clicking.

Name: Amber Benson (images | blog | officially sanctioned Web site | Twitter)
Hometown: She was born in Birmingham, Ala., to a mixed Jewish and Christian family, and later attended high school in Orlando, Fla., before her family moved to Los Angeles to further her blossoming acting career, according to her Wikipedia profile.
Best Known For: Take your pick: Her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and continued involvement through fan events and even writing a comic book tale or two is one of her claims to fame. (Notable also were her great vocals in that TV series' musical episode -- the rare musical Ye Olde Podcaster actually enjoyed -- and her appearance on an album by Buffy co-star Anthony Stewart Head.)

Her Buffy character, Tara, was beloved by many fans, myself among them. She was a love interest for future celebrity crush Alyson Hannigan's Willow; fellow celebrity crush Amy Adams guest-starred in perhaps the most Tara-centered episode as her cousin.

But she's also directed, produced and starred in two films and co-directed a third with her boyfriend, former Buffy co-star turned musician and director Adam Busch, as well as writing a play and a screenplay for another movie. And she's gaining new fans as an urban fantasy novelist, sometimes working in collaboration with others, sometimes solo.
Humble Beginnings: Amber studied dance and ballet as a child, performing in the Birmingham Children's Ballet, according to Wikipedia.

Early screen credits include the Alicia Silverstone thriller The Crush, Brian Dennehy's "Jack Reed" made-for-TV crime dramas, an episode of the American remake of Cracker that may have been excluded from the ABC broadcast run, the divorce-themed film Bye Bye Love and deleted scenes from the teen comedy Can't Hardly Wait.

After Buffy, her on-screen work has largely consisted of independent films and one-shot or short-term appearances on television; she has made appearances on both Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, the short-lived FBI drama The Inside (which starred fellow celebrity crush Rachel Nichols), and Supernatural as well as appearing in the made-for-TV movies 7 Things to Do Before I'm 30 and Gryphon.
With her Buffy girlfriend, Alyson Hannigan.
Obligatory Edgy Stuff: If there was any major backlash against the depiction of a same-sex relationship on Buffy, I never heard about it. (There damn well shouldn't have been.) There WAS some backlash against Latter Days, in which Amber appeared; the film tackled the thorny issue of homosexuality in the Mormon culture and as such was the target of boycott threats by people who oppose the notion of showing reality.

She starred in a horror movie called One-Eyed Monster, in which a creature gets loose on the set of an adult film. (Best. Horror movie title. EVER.)
Why Ye Olde Podcaster Likes Her: A gorgeous but real-looking woman who can act, who can sing, who writes comics and fantasy novels and directs ... that's already appealing, before you add a dry sense of humor that she possesses and meshes very well with my view of what's funny.

Amber seems like good people. And her appearance in a 2008 ad for Barack Obama (the MoveOn.org-produced "It Could Happen to You") made me like her even more. I suspect that of all the celebrity crushes on this list, she's the one I'd find the most things to talk about if we ended up in the same room.
Musical work (listed alphabetically): Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling soundtrack (Amazon | iTunes) * The Killing Jar (film) (Amazon | iTunes) * Music for Elevators by Anthony Stewart Head and George Sarah (Amazon | iTunes) * "The One I Need" by Amber Benson and James Saez (single) (Amazon | iTunes) * Rocky Horror 25: Anniversary Special (TV concert) (Amazon | iTunes)
TV and Web series credits: Supernatural, season 6: "Mommy Dearest" (Amazon | iTunes) * Grey's Anatomy, season 7: "That's Me Trying" (Amazon | iTunes) * Private Practice, season 2: "Finishing" (Amazon | iTunes) * Supernatural, season 2: "Bloodlust" (Amazon | iTunes) * The Inside: "The Perfect Couple" (Amazon | iTunes) * Cold Case, season 1: "Volunteers" (Amazon | iTunes) * Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 6 (Amazon | iTunes) * Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 5 (Amazon | iTunes) * Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 4 (Amazon | iTunes) * The Enforcers (Amazon | iTunes) * Cracker (1999): "The Club" (Amazon | iTunes) * Promised Land, season 3: "Out of Bounds" (Amazon | iTunes)
Voice work: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (video game) (Amazon)
At 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Written work (alphabetically, by series if applicable): 30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales, v. 2 (comic) (Amazon) * Albert Hall (playwright) (Amazon) * Among the Ghosts (Amazon) * Blood-Stained Sword (comic) (Amazon) * Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara (co-writer) (Amazon) * Calliope Reaper-Jones 1: Death's Daughter (Amazon) * Calliope Reaper-Jones 2: Cat's Claw (Amazon) * Calliope Reaper-Jones 3: Serpent's Storm (Amazon) * Ghosts of Albion 1: Astray (co-writer) (Amazon) * Ghosts of Albion 2: Accursed (co-writer) (Amazon) * Ghosts of Albion 3: Witchery (co-writer) (Amazon | iPhone app) * Ghosts of Albion: Initiation (animated series scripts, co-writer) (Amazon) * Ghosts of Albion: Illusions (short story, co-writer) (online) * Ghosts of Albion Roleplaying Game (Amazon) * The Seven Whistlers (co-writer) (Amazon) * Shadowplay (Amazon) * Tales of the Slayers: The Innocents (Amazon)
Film work behind the scenes (alphabetically): Chance (writer, director, actress) (Amazon | iTunes) * Drones (co-director) (Amazon | iTunes) * Ghosts of Albion: Embers (writer) (online) * Ghosts of Albion: Legacy (writer and director) (online) * Lovers, Liars and Lunatics (writer, director, actress) (Amazon | iTunes) * The Theory of the Leisure Class (writer) (Amazon | iTunes)
Film and TV-movie acting credits: Count Jeff (2011 short) (Amazon | iTunes) * Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods (Amazon | iTunes) * Dust Up (Amazon | iTunes) * The Killing Jar (Amazon | iTunes) * Another Harvest Moon (Amazon | iTunes) * Tripping Forward (Amazon | iTunes) * One-Eyed Monster (Amazon | iTunes) * The Blue Tooth Virgin (Amazon | iTunes) * Strictly Sexual (Amazon | iTunes) * 7 Things to Do Before I'm 30 (Amazon | iTunes) * Act Your Age (Amazon | iTunes) * Kiss the Bride (Amazon | iTunes) * Girltrash! (Amazon | iTunes) * Country Remedy (Amazon | iTunes) * Attack of the Gryphon (Amazon | iTunes) * Holiday Wishes (Amazon | iTunes) * Lovers, Liars, and Lunatics (Amazon | iTunes) * Race You to the Bottom (Amazon | iTunes) * Intermedio (Amazon | iTunes) * Latter Days (Amazon | iTunes) * Chance (Amazon | iTunes) * Taboo (Amazon | iTunes) * Don's Plum (Amazon | iTunes) * Hollywood, Pennsylvania (Amazon | iTunes) * The Prime Gig (Amazon | iTunes) * Deadtime (Amazon | iTunes) * Take It Easy (Amazon | iTunes) * Can't Hardly Wait (scenes deleted) (Amazon | iTunes) * Jack Reed: One of Our Own (Amazon | iTunes) * Bye Bye Love (Amazon | iTunes)

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