The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Reality Tv - BY JAY BOBBIN

Alyson Lee Hannigan was born on March 24, 1974, in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. An only child, she started per­form­ing young, do­ing com­mer­cials when she was 4. At age 11, she re­lo­cated with her mother to Hol­ly­wood, con­tin­u­ing her school­ing while au­di­tion­ing – and later get­ting a de­gree in psy­chol­ogy from Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity, Northridge. She also worked for ac­tor-co­me­dian Bob Saget as a babysit­ter.

The 1988 movie “My Step­mother Is an Alien” marked Hannigan’s first sig­nif­i­cant act­ing job, and she fol­lowed that with her first tele­vi­sion se­ries, “Free Spirit.” Eight years later, she be­gan a much longer job – and an iconic one – for seven sea­sons as Wil­low Rosen­berg on “Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer,” a show that still has a siz­able fol­low­ing long after its run ended. Hannigan also crossed over to the “Buffy” spinoff “An­gel” in sev­eral episodes.

The “Amer­i­can Pie” movie-com­edy se­ries was suc­cess­ful for Hannigan and a host of oth­ers in­clud­ing Ja­son Biggs, Chris Klein and Tara Reid. Hannigan also ap­peared with Fred­die Prinze Jr. and Claire For­lani in the film “Boys and Girls.” In 2004, Hannigan starred with the late Luke Perry in a Lon­don stage ver­sion of “When Harry Met Sally ... . ”

After ap­pear­ing on “Veron­ica Mars” dur­ing its orig­i­nal run, Hannigan started a show that ul­ti­mately ran longer than “Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer” did for her: the sit­com “How I Met Your Mother,” which lasted nine sea­sons and still re­mains a sta­ple of syn­di­ca­tion. Hannigan won a Teen Choice Award in 2009 for “Mother” as fa­vorite TV com­edy ac­tress.

Lately, Hannigan’s main TV ex­po­sure has come from a job that was some­thing of a sur­prise when it first was an­nounced: host of The CW’s “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” on which the ti­tle il­lu­sion­ist-co­me­di­ans try to guess how other ma­gi­cians do their acts ... with those who suc­ceed in fool­ing the duo land­ing spots in Penn & Teller’s Las Vegas show. Hannigan also will be seen soon in Lifetime’s true drama “Ab­ducted: The Mary Stauf­fer Story.”

Hannigan is mar­ried to fel­low “An­gel” act­ing alum Alexis Denisof, and they have two daugh­ters.

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