The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Alyson Hannigan

b. March 24, 1974

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Alyson Hannigan until we are able to commission a full entry.

Alyson Hannigan at the Buffy wrap party in 2003.

Image courtesy of Patrick Lee via Wikimedia Commons.

From her role as an unconventional flautist in American Pie to that of a lesbian witch on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, actress Alyson Hannigan has delighted in turning audience expectations on their heads. Hannigan began acting in commercials at age four and landed her first major film role in My Stepmother is an Alien in 1988. She took time out to earn a degree in psychology from the University of California, Northridge before being cast as Willow Rosenberg on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997, playing a Jewish character who eventually comes out as a lesbian. That plot development caused a media firestorm in 1998, just one year after Ellen Degeneres came out as a lesbian both in real life and through her sitcom character. Hannigan then landed a central role in the American Pie trilogy. In 2005 she began playing Lily Aldrin on the wildly popular How I Met Your Mother, which ran from 2005–2014, and for which she won the People’s Choice Award for Best Actress in 2010 and 2012.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Alyson Hannigan." (Viewed on February 4, 2023) <>.


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