Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar could teach the Spice Girls a thing or two about "Girl Power". Best known for her role as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the petite beauty shares more than a little of her character's independent spirit.

Born in New York on April 14, 1977, Sarah enjoyed an early start to her movie career, even by child star standards. She had barely learned to talk when a movie agent approached the family in a restaurant to ask if the four year old had considered going into acting. Soon afterwards she was appearing in her first movie, the made-for-TV drama An Invasion Of Privacy.

Her debut on the small screen was to be a taste of things to come and while these days her movie career is blossoming, Sarah is proud of her TV queen status. "Television realised, faster than movies, that women can be heroes," she says. "I think Buffy succeeded because although it seems like a fantasy show, it was based in reality. She was the girl that you might actually know – she wasn't the smartest girl, she wasn't the prettiest, but she could take care of herself and she was confident."

Growing up in the Big Apple, Sarah spent her childhood appearing in advertisements and small TV and stage roles, while shepherded by her mother who remains her closest friend and mentor. And when asked about her phenomenal success, the actress is in little doubt about who she has to thank. "One of the greatest gifts my job has given me is that my mother, who gave up her whole life for me, doesn't have to work any more. I am now in a position to repay her for her devotion." And she firmly rejects the suggestion that child stars lose out on a normal childhood: "I didn't miss anything because of my acting – my life was enriched by it – it wasn't detrimental to any area of my life."

Family life wasn't all a bed of roses, however, and Sarah still refuses to talk about her father Arthur Gellar with whom she had virtually no relationship. He died in mysterious circumstances in 2001.

Despite her image as America's favourite girl-next-door Sarah has her own "wild" side, sporting a number of tattoos, including a Celtic motif on her hip, a Chinese symbol on her lower back and a heart on her ankle. And, as a brown belt in taekwondo, she has little trouble performing Buffy's challenging fight scenes.

Now married to Scooby-Doo co-star Freddy Prinze Jr, the girl nicknamed Sassy by her friends lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her dogs Thor and Akita – a family unit which grew by one when the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Charlotte Grace, on September 19, 2009.

These days, despite having given up her role in Buffy – much to the distress of her fans – the actress remains one of America's most popular screen stars. There's a Scooby-Doo sequel already in the pipeline, and all indications point to Sarah remaining at the top for a long time to come.
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