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

Amber Benson
Benson at Midtown Comics in March 2011
Amber Nicole Benson

(1977-01-08) January 8, 1977 (age 42)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
OccupationActress, writer, director, producer
Years active1993–present

Early lifeEdit

Benson was born January 8, 1977, in Birmingham, Alabama,[1] the daughter of Diane and Edward Benson, a psychiatrist.[2] She has a younger sister, Danielle, who is an artist. Her father is Jewish and her mother was raised Southern Baptist;[3] Benson grew up attending a Reform synagogue in Alabama.[4][5][6][7][8]

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 very quickly began to 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.[9]

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 girlfriend 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 2003, she starred in Latter Days as Traci Levine, alongside Steve Sandvoss and Wes Ramsey.[10]

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[11] on February 24, 2009; Cat's Claw,[12] 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.[13]

Benson is the co-director with Adam Busch of the 2010 comedy film Drones.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16][17]

Benson has narrated the audiobook Lock In by John Scalzi.[18] In October 2014 published her fantasy book The Witches of Echo Park.[19]


During the 2008 campaign season, Benson was featured in a Barack Obama advertisement sponsored by[20]

Personal lifeEdit

As of 2007, Benson resided in Los Angeles. She described herself as a "lapsed vegetarian".[21]

From 2002 to 2009, she dated Adam Busch, who played Warren Mears on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The two have remained close friends.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Jack Reed: Badge of Honor Nicole Reed TV movie
1994 Jack Reed: A Search for Justice Nicole Reed TV movie
1995 Don's Plum Supporting actress
1995 Jack Reed: One of Our Own Nicole Reed TV movie
1998 Promised Land Amy Farnsworth Episode: Out of Bounds
1999 Cracker Amy Episode: "The Club"
1999–2002 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tara Maclay Seasons 4–6; 47 episodes
Recurring role (1999–2002)
Main role (2002:1 episode)
2001 The Enforcers Abby TV miniseries
2004 Cold Case Julia Hoffman Episode: "Volunteers"
2005 The Inside Allison Davis Episode: "The Perfect Couple"
Supernatural Lenore Episode: "Bloodlust"
Episode: "Mommy Dearest"
2006 Holiday Wishes Danni Hartford TV movie
2007 Gryphon Princess Amelia of Lockland TV movie
2008 Long Island Confidential pilot
2008 7 Things to Do Before I'm 30 Lori Madison TV movie
2009 Private Practice Jill Duncan Episode: "Finishing"
2010 Grey's Anatomy Corrine Episode: "That's Me Trying"
2011 Ringer Stripper Mary Curtis Episode: "That's What You Get for Trying to Kill Me"
2012 Husbands Angry Mom Episode: "Appropriate Is Not the Word"
2014 Morganville: The Series Amelie Web TV Series
2016 Red vs. Blue Epsilon Grif Episode: "Get Bent" (Season 14)


Year Title Role Notes
1993 King of the Hill Ella McShane
1993 The Crush Cheyenne
1994 S.F.W. Barbara "Babs" Wyler
1994 Imaginary Crimes Margaret
1995 Bye Bye Love Meg Damico With Buffy co-stars Eliza Dushku and Lindsay Crouse
1998 Can't Hardly Wait Stephanie
1999 Take It Easy Justy
1999 Deadtime Patty
2000 The Prime Gig Batgirl
2001 Hollywood, Pennsylvania Mandy Calhoun
2001 Don's Plum Amy
2002 Taboo Piper
2002 Chance Chance Directed, Produced
Benson Entertainment Inc.
2003 Latter Days Traci Levine
2005 Intermedio Barbie
2005 Race You to the Bottom Maggie
2006 Lovers, Liars & Lunatics Justine Directed, Produced
2007 Simple Things Sally USA DVD title is Country Remedy[23]
2008 Act Your Age Julia
2008 Kiss the Bride Elly
2008 Strictly Sexual Donna
2008 The Blue Tooth Virgin Jennifer
2008 One-Eyed Monster Laura
2009 Tripping Forward Gwen
2009 The Killing Jar Noreen
2009 Another Harvest Moon Gretchen
2010 Drones Co-directed
2012 Dust Up (2012 film) Ella
2015 Desire Will Set You Free Jayne
2016 Selling Isobel Chloe

The crooked man

2018 House of Demons Maya
2018 The Nightmare Gallery Professor Samantha Rand
2018 Glossary of Broken Dreams Pfefferkarree McCormick


Year Title Role Notes
2007–2009 Girltrash! Svetlana "Lana" Dragovich 2 episodes



Ghosts of AlbionEdit

with Christopher Golden

# Title Also In Publication Date Publisher
1 Astray[24] 2004 Subterranean Press
1.1 Legacy Short story, available on the BBC website)[25]
2 Accursed 2005 Del Rey
3 Witchery 2006 Del Rey

Calliope Reaper-JonesEdit

  1. Death's Daughter (February 24, 2009)
  2. Cat's Claw (February 23, 2010)
  3. Serpent's Storm (February 22, 2011)
  4. How to be Death (February 28, 2012)
  5. The Golden Age of Death (Feb 2013)

The Witches of Echo ParkEdit

  1. The Witches of Echo Park (Jan 2015)
  2. The Last Dream Keeper (Jan 2016)
  3. The End of Magic (May 2017)

Other booksEdit

  • The Seven Whistlers (with Christopher Golden. 2006)
  • Star and Marco's Guide to Mastering Every Dimension (with Dominic Bisignano, Disney Press, 2017) ISBN 978-1484774199

Anthologies and CollectionsEdit

Anthology or Collection Contents Publication


21st Century Dead[26] Antiparallelogram Jul 2012
An Apple for a Creature[27] Callie Meet Happy Aug 2012
Life Inside My Mind[28] Therapy: the gift I gave myself Apr 2018


Buffy the Vampire SlayerEdit

Other ComicsEdit

  • Shadowplay #1–4 (with Ben Templesmith. 2005)
  • Among the Ghosts (with Sina Grace, illustrator. August 2010)[29]

Other MediaEdit


  1. ^ Stafford, Nikki (2007). Bite Me!: The Unofficial Guide to 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 104. ISBN 9781550228076.
  2. ^ "Amber Benson Biography (1977–)". Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Amber Benson on Buffy, Tara and Willow, Husbands & more..." Den of Geek. November 4, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2018. Amber Benson: "My dad was Jewish, and my mom was raised by Southern Baptists so I saw both ends of the spectrum."
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Byrnes, Lindsey (June 8, 2010). "An interview with Amber Benson - Page 4 of 5". AfterEllen. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Bloom, Nate (June 6, 2003). "Celebrity Jews". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
  8. ^ Lindsey Byrnes (June 8, 2010). "An interview with Amber Benson". Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  9. ^ "Episode 18: Featuring Amber Benson", RossCarey, accessed May 24, 2011.
  10. ^ "TLA Releasing presents Latter Days" (PDF). TLA Releasing. p. 16. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  11. ^ ISBN 978-0-441-01694-5
  12. ^ ISBN 978-0-441-01843-7
  13. ^ ISBN 978-1-937007-28-7
  14. ^ Roedel, Jeff. "So, you work with an alien" Archived September 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine,, September 25, 2008
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Mangani, Josephine (June 17, 2013). "'Buffy' Star Amber Benson Joins 'Morganville' Web Adaptation". Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  17. ^ Caine, Rachel (June 11, 2013). "Morganville: The Web TV Series". Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  18. ^ Scalzi, John. "The Lock In Audiobook: Two Versions, Two Narrators. Pre-Order and Get Both". Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  19. ^ The Witches of Echo Park
  20. ^ '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.
  21. ^ Benson, Amber. "art vs. commerce", Amber Benson's Official Blog, January 29, 2009 Archived January 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Amber Benson Part 2". Buffyfest. February 26, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  23. ^ "Other Titles for Simple Things". September 27, 2019.
  24. ^ "Cult – Ghosts of Albion – Astray". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  25. ^ "Cult – Ghosts of Albion – Legacy". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  26. ^ "21st Century Dead". September 27, 2019.
  27. ^ "An Apple for a Creature". September 27, 2019.
  28. ^ "Life Inside My Mind". September 27, 2019.
  29. ^ "Among the Ghosts » Blog with Pictures". March 23, 2010. Archived from the original on September 26, 2011. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  30. ^ Benson, Amber. "Cult Vampires – Ghosts of Albion: Illusions by Amber Benson and Christopher Golden". BBC. Retrieved April 5, 2012.

External linksEdit