Amber Benson

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Amber Benson
Benson at Midtown Comics in March 2011.
BornAmber Nicole Benson
(1977-01-08) January 8, 1977 (age 37)
Birmingham, Alabama, US
OccupationActress, writer, director, producer
Years active1993–present
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Amber Benson
Benson at Midtown Comics in March 2011.
BornAmber Nicole Benson
(1977-01-08) January 8, 1977 (age 37)
Birmingham, Alabama, US
OccupationActress, writer, director, producer
Years active1993–present

Amber Nicole Benson (born January 8, 1977) is an American actress, writer, film director, and film producer. She is best known for her role as Tara Maclay on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but has also directed, produced and starred in her own films Chance (2002) and Lovers, Liars & Lunatics (2006).[1] She also co-directed the film Drones with fellow Buffy cast member Adam Busch.[2]

Early life[edit]

Benson was born January 8, 1977 in Birmingham, Alabama, to Edward Benson, a psychiatrist,[3] and Diane Benson. She has a younger sister, Danielle, who is an artist. She had a mixed Christian (mother) and Jewish (father) upbringing.[4][5][6]

As a child, Benson studied music and dance, and performed in the Birmingham Children's Ballet, as well as in local theater. She attended high school (one of her classmates being Joey Fatone) in Orlando, Florida after her family moved there, in part to help Amber pursue acting opportunities, the most prominent of which was an unsold television series called Kids' News, in which Amber was to have been one of two main anchors. The Bensons then relocated to Los Angeles, and Amber began to very quickly land roles in films and on television.


Benson at a 2005 Buffy the Vampire Slayer convention

Benson was 14 when she made her feature film debut in the Steven Soderbergh film, King of the Hill.[7]

Benson is best known for her recurring role as Tara Maclay on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The character first appeared in the season 4 episode "Hush" and soon became the lover of Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan). Benson remained with the series until season 6 when her character was killed off. In her final episode, Benson was credited for the only time as a regular cast member.

Benson sang in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More, with Feeling". She provided vocals for the songs "I've Got a Theory / Bunnies / If We're Together", "Under Your Spell" (her solo), "Walk Through the Fire", "Standing/Under Your Spell (Reprise)" and "Where Do We Go from Here?" In 2002, she performed two songs on Buffy colleague Anthony Stewart Head's album Music for Elevators. She also sang "Toucha Toucha Touch Me" (aka "Creature of the Night") at VH-1's celebrity karaoke tribute to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

While still working on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Benson co-wrote the movie The Theory of the Leisure Class with director Gabriel Bologna, released in 2001, and directed, produced, edited, and acted in a digital video feature called Chance (2002) which also featured her Buffy co-star James Marsters. She also collaborated with director James Kerwin in 2003 to produce her play, Albert Hall, in Hollywood.

In 2001, Benson worked with Golden, Terry Moore, and Eric Powell of Dark Horse Comics to create the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara comic book titled "WannaBlessedBe". The following year (2002), she worked with Christopher Golden and AJ (Ajit Jothikaumar) of Dark Horse Comics to create the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara comic books titled Wilderness #1 and Wilderness #2.

Benson at Buffy the Vampire Slayer wrap party, 2003

Benson and Christopher Golden produced began a series of animated fantasy films for the BBC with the animation studio Cosgrove Hall. Ghosts of Albion: Legacy (2003) and its sequels are available on the BBC Cult website. Benson and Golden have also collaborated on two supernatural thrillers: Ghosts of Albion: Accursed and Ghosts of Albion: Witchery. These books follow the fortunes of Tamara and William Swift, who first appeared in the BBC computer animated web movie Ghosts of Albion: Legacy.

In 2005, Benson collaborated with artist Jamie McKelvie on a short story within the Image Comics collection Four Letter Worlds. In 2006, Benson collaborated with artist Ben Templesmith on Demon Father John's Pinwheel Blues published by IDW as a four-part split-book, Shadowplay (with work by Ashley Wood and Christina Z).

Benson and novelist Anton Strout during an appearance at Midtown Comics Downtown in Manhattan, March 5, 2011

In 2006, Benson released her second independent feature film Lovers, Liars & Lunatics through her own production company, Benson Entertainment. The film was shot on film and was partly financed by the sale of limited edition "Triangle" Tara Buffyverse action figure. The project, initially called "The Dirty Script," was ultimately titled Lovers, Liars and Lunatics by producer Diane Benson, Amber's mother.

In 2006, Benson also portrayed the "vegetarian" vampiress Lenore on the TV series Supernatural.

In December 2006, Benson and Golden released yet another collaboration, the short novel The Seven Whistlers which is distributed through Subterranean Press in a limited number of signed copies. In September 2007, Benson signed a three-book deal with Ginjer Buchanan of Penguin Books. Death's Daughter, was released by Ace Books[8] on February 24, 2009; Cat's Claw,[9] on February 23, 2010; and Serpent's Storm, in February 2011. On February 28, 2012, the fourth book in the series, How to Be Death was released.[10]

Benson is the co-director with Adam Busch of the 2010 comedy film Drones.[11]

In 2012, Benson played a young Judith Collins in the Dark Shadows audio drama "Dress Me in Dark Dreams". She guest starred in the second season of the Jane Espenson scripted romantic comedy web series, Husbands.[12]

In June 2013, it was announced that Benson has been attached to star in the web TV series adaptation of The Morganville Vampires as Amelie, the founder of Morganville.[13][14]

Benson has narrated the audiobook Lock In by John Scalzi.[15]


During the 2008 campaign season, Benson was featured in the pro-Barack Obama advertisement.[16]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2007, Benson resided in Los Angeles. She described herself as a "lapsed vegetarian".[17]

From 2002 to 2009, she dated Adam Busch, who played Warren Mears on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The couple have remained close friends.[18]


1993Jack Reed: Badge of HonorNicole ReedTV movie
1994Jack Reed: A Search for JusticeNicole ReedTV movie
1995Don's PlumSupporting actress
1995Jack Reed: One of Our OwnNicole ReedTV movie
1998Promised LandAmy FarnsworthEpisode: Out of Bounds
1999CrackerAmyEpisode: "The Club"
1999–2002Buffy the Vampire SlayerTara MaclaySeasons 4–6; 47 episodes
Recurring role (1999–2002)
Main role (2002:1 episode)
2001The EnforcersAbbyTV miniseries
2004Cold CaseJulia HoffmanEpisode: "Volunteers"
2005The InsideAllison DavisEpisode: "The Perfect Couple"
SupernaturalLenoreEpisode: "Bloodlust"
Episode: "Mommy Dearest"
2006Holiday WishesDanni HartfordTV movie
2007GryphonPrincess Amelia of LocklandTV movie
2008Long Island Confidentialpilot
20087 Things to Do Before I'm 30Lori MadisonTV movie
2009Private PracticeJill DuncanEpisode: "Finishing"
2010Grey's AnatomyCorrineEpisode: "That's Me Trying"
2011RingerStripper Mary CurtisEpisode: "That's What You Get for Trying to Kill Me"
2012HusbandsAngry MomEpisode: "Appropriate Is Not the Word"
TBAMorganville: The SeriesAmelieWeb TV Series
1993King of the HillElla McShane
1993The CrushCheyenne
1994S.F.W.Barbara "Babs" Wyler
1994Imaginary CrimesMargaret
1995Bye Bye LoveMeg DamicoWith Buffy Co-star; Eliza Dushku
1998Can't Hardly WaitStephanie
1999Take It EasyJusty
2000The Prime GigBatgirl
2001Hollywood, PennsylvaniaMandy Calhoun
2001Don's PlumAmy
2002ChanceChanceDirected, Produced
Benson Entertainment Inc.
2003Latter DaysTraci Levine
2005Race You to the BottomMaggie
2006Lovers, Liars & LunaticsJustineDirected, Produced
2007Simple ThingsSally
2007Girltrash!Svetlana 'Lana' Dragovich
2008Act Your AgeJulia
2008Kiss the BrideElly
2008Strictly SexualDonna
2008The Blue Tooth VirginJennifer
2008One-Eyed MonsterLaura
2009Tripping ForwardGwen
2009The Killing JarNoreen
2009Another Harvest MoonGretchen


Ghosts of Albion
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Calliope Reaper-Jones


  1. ^ Amber Benson at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Drones at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Amber Benson Biography (1977–)
  4. ^ "Amber chatted at Yahoo! on Thursday, March 8, 2001. Here's the transcript, provided by Coax, sans chat typos". The Essence of Amber. March 8, 2001. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved December 13, 2006. 
  5. ^ Bloom, Nate (June 6, 2003). "Celebrity Jews". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Retrieved December 13, 2006. 
  6. ^ Lindsey Byrnes (June 8, 2010). "An interview with Amber Benson". Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Episode 18: Featuring Amber Benson", RossCarey, accessed May 24, 2011.
  8. ^ ISBN 978-0-441-01694-5
  9. ^ ISBN 978-0-441-01843-7
  10. ^ ISBN 978-1-937007-28-7
  11. ^ Roedel, Jeff. "So, you work with an alien",, September 25, 2008
  12. ^ Vary, Adam B (June 28, 2012). "'Husbands': EP and star on season 2 of their gay-marriage web series – EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ Mangani, Josephine (June 17, 2013). "'Buffy' Star Amber Benson Joins 'Morganville' Web Adaptation". Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  14. ^ Caine, Rachel (June 11, 2013). "Morganville: The Web TV Series". Retrieved June 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ Scalzi, John. "The Lock In Audiobook: Two Versions, Two Narrators. Pre-Order and Get Both". Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  16. ^ 'It Could Happen to You'. The video was produced, written and directed by Alex Barreto and brothers Rider Strong and Shiloh Strong who also acted in the ad with Amber. The ad won MoveOn's contest for funniest Obama ad in 2008.
  17. ^ Benson, Amber. "art vs. commerce", Amber Benson's Official Blog, January 29, 2009
  18. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Amber Benson Part 2". Buffyfest. February 26, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Cult – Ghosts of Albion – Astray". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Cult – Ghosts of Albion – Legacy". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  21. ^ Benson, Amber. "Cult Vampires – Ghosts of Albion: Illusions by Amber Benson and Christopher Golden". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Among the Ghosts » Blog with Pictures". March 23, 2010. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 

External links[edit]