14 Future Stars Who Appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy Wikia/Getty Images
Buffy Wikia/Getty Images

In its seven season run, the sci-fi/fantasy series Buffy the Vampire Slayer was responsible for launching the careers of a number of its stars, including Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendan, Charisma Carpenter, David Boreanaz, and Julie Benz, among others. A number of future famous faces stopped by the Hellmouth, too.

1. Carmine Giovinazzo // Season 1, Episode 1

Getty Images

You might recognize him as the first-ever person killed on Buffy—in the pilot’s cold-open, by "damsel in distress"-turned-vampire Darla. You might also recognize Carmine Giovinazzo from his role on CSI: New York; he played Danny Messer.

2. Clea Duvall // Season 1, Episode 11

In "Out of Mind, Out of Sight," Clea Duvall played Marcie Ross, a student who feels so invisible she actually becomes invisible—and also goes crazy, setting her sights on popular girl Cordelia Chase. She later reunited with Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Grudge, appeared in the Oscar winning film Argo, starred in the second season of American Horror Story, and appeared in Lifetime's The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, The Newsroom, and Better Call Saul..

3. Eion Bailey // Season 1, Episode 6

In his first on-screen role, Eion Bailey played Kyle DuFours, a Sunnydale High student, who—along with four other students, including Xander—is possessed by the spirit of demonic hyenas. In one memorable scene of "The Pack," the group—minus Xander—kills and eats Sunnydale High Principal Bob Flutie. Bailey later appeared in six episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers, had a 10-episode arc on ER, and starred as August Booth on the hit ABC series Once Upon a Time. And, oh yeah, he won a Daytime Emmy.

4. Jordana Spiro // Season 2, Episode 5

Getty Images

In “Reptile Boy,” Jordana Spiro played Callie Anderson, a student at Kent Preparatory School, who was offered up as a sacrifice to a demon by a fraternity alongside Buffy and Cordelia. Spiro, who had just three screen credits to her name before she appeared on Buffy, went on to star in the TBS series My Boys and had an arc on CBS' The Good Wife.

5. Laura Silverman // Season 2, Episode 5

Getty Images

Comedian Sarah Silverman’s sister Laura had her first on-screen role in “What’s My Line? Part 1,” playing Vampire #2 (she was uncredited). She went on to play Jan in Half-Baked and appear in the TV series Nurse Jackie and The Comeback. These days, she voices Andy, one of Jimmy Pesto’s twins, in Bob’s Burgers. (Sarah plays the other twin, Ollie.)

6. Wentworth Miller // Season 2, Episode 20

Wentworth Miller played Gage Petronzi, a member of the Sunnydale High Swim Team who becomes a Gill Monster, in the episode “Go Fish.” It was his first on-screen role. Later, he appeared in a pair of Mariah Carey music videos, starred in the TV series Prison Break and The Flash, and appeared in films, including Underworld and Resident Evil: Afterlife.

7. Shane West // Season 2, Episode 20

Shane West had a number of bit parts on other shows, including Boy Meets World and California Dreams, before he booked the role of Sean Dwyer in “Go Fish." Look for him in the scene where the swim team is in the sauna: He's the one who tells Xander that the steroids the swim team is taking—which the coach has laced with fish DNA to improve the swimmers’ performance (and is unknowingly turning them into sea monsters)—are in the steam. After Buffy, West starred in A Walk to Remember and on the TV series ER, Nikita, and Salem.

8. Pedro Pascal // Season 4, Episode 1

Before he was getting his skull crushed as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones, Pedro Pascal was Pedro Balmaceda, and he played Eddie, a potential friend for Buffy, in “The Freshman.” In a Reddit AMA, Pascal explained that his character was “kind of [Buffy’s] first friend in college, or she finally meets a nice person that's in the same boat as her. And unfortunately I am turned into a vampire by the head campus vampire, and Buffy is forced to kill her first college friend. Or her first new college friend.” It was one of his first jobs out of college, which Pascal said “made my sister and friends very very proud.” Pascal has also appeared in The Adjustment Bureau, on The Mentalist, and this August, on Netflix's Narcos.

9. Kal Penn // Season 4, Episode 5

Harold & Kumar star Kal Penn’s third screen credit was a role as a stereotypical college guy—i.e., one who loves beer—in “Beer Bad." He played Hunt, a UC Sunnydale student who would go with his friends to a local pub to drink pitchers. One night, they entice Buffy to join them, and when they drink the Black Frost beer—which the pub's bitter owner, who is sick of being mocked by students, has put a spell on with the help of his warlock brother-in-law—they temporarily revert back to cavemen (and a kinda-cavelady, though Gellar doesn't get the full-on Neanderthal makeup), wreaking general havoc and setting the pub on fire.

Not content with having just one role in the Buffyverse, Penn also appeared on the Buffy spin-off Angel; he played “Brain Man” in “That Vision Thing,” the second episode of the third season. Penn also worked with Buffy actress Alyson Hannigan again on an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Most recently, he appeared on CBS' Battle Creek as Fontanelle White. 

10. Amy Adams // Season 5, Episode 6

Amy Adams had appeared in the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous and had a number of guest-starring roles on other TV shows when she guest-starred in the Buffy episode “Family,” but was by no means a household name. Adams played Beth, a cousin of Willow’s girlfriend (and fellow witch) Tara, who comes to Sunnydale with Tara’s father and older brother Donny. They all seem pretty OK at first, but it turns out they're not so nice at all: They're there to bring Tara home, claiming that on Tara's 20th birthday, she’ll suddenly become evil thanks to some demonic heritage. (Spoiler alert: Tara's not a demon.) Memorable Adams line: "I hope you'll all be happy hanging out with a disgusting demon!"

11. Amber Tamblyn // Season 6, Episode 6

No doubt soap fans knew who Amber Tamblyn was when she played Dawn Summers' best friend Janice in the season six episode "All the Way"—she had played Emily Bowen/Quartermaine on General Hospital for six years. But Tamblyn wouldn't become really famous until she starred in the hit adaptation of YA novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The actress also appeared with Gellar in The Grudge 2, and had arcs on House MD and Two and a Half Men. 

12. Zach Woodlee // Season 6, Episode 7

Getty Images

Post-Buffy, Woodlee made a name for himself as a choreographer on, and producer of, the Fox series Glee. But back in the day, he did some acting and dancing on camera. One of his first roles was “Demon/Henchman” in the musical episode “Once More, With Feeling.”

13. Rachel Bilson // Season 7, Episode 18

In just her second on-screen role—her first was “Gum Chewing Girl” on an episode of 8 Simple Rules—Rachel Bilson played Colleen, a potential Slayer, in the episode “Dirty Girls.” Xander has a very saucy dream featuring Colleen and Caridad, another potential Slayer. Bilson got her big break playing popular girl Summer Roberts in the Fox series The O.C. that same year.

14. Felicia Day // Season 7, Episodes 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Getty Images

Now known for creating, writing, and starring in The Guild and playing Penny in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Felicia Day had just eight screen credits to her name when she played Vi, a potential Slayer, in eight episodes of the seventh (and final) season of Buffy.

7 Top-Rated Portable Air Conditioners You Can Buy Right Now

Black + Decker/Amazon
Black + Decker/Amazon

The warmest months of the year are just around the corner (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway), and things are about to get hot. To make indoor life feel a little more bearable, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the top-rated portable air conditioners you can buy online right now.

1. SereneLife 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner; $290

SereneLife air conditioner on Amazon.

This device—currently the best-selling portable air conditioner on Amazon—is multifunctional, cooling the air while also working as a dehumidifier. Reviewers on Amazon praised this model for how easy it is to set up, but cautioned that it's not meant for large spaces. According to the manufacturer, it's designed to cool down rooms up to 225 square feet, and the most positive reviews came from people using it in their bedroom.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Black + Decker 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner and Heater; $417

Black + Decker portable air conditioner

Black + Decker estimates that this combination portable air conditioner and heater can accommodate rooms up to 350 square feet, and it even comes with a convenient timer so you never have to worry about forgetting to turn it off before you leave the house. The setup is easy—the attached exhaust hose fits into most standard windows, and everything you need for installation is included. This model sits around four stars on Amazon, and it was also picked by Wirecutter as one of the best values on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Mikikin Portable Air Conditioner Fan; $45

Desk air conditioner on Amazon

This miniature portable conditioner, which is Amazon's top-selling new portable air conditioner release, is perfect to put on a desk or end table as you work or watch TV during those sweltering dog days. It's currently at a four-star rating on Amazon, and reviewers recommend filling the water tank with a combination of cool water and ice cubes for the best experience.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Juscool Portable Air Conditioner Fan; $56

Juscool portable air conditioner.

This tiny air conditioner fan, which touts a 4.6-star rating, is unique because it plugs in with a USB cable, so you can hook it up to a laptop or a wall outlet converter to try out any of its three fan speeds. This won't chill a living room, but it does fit on a nightstand or desk to help cool you down in stuffy rooms or makeshift home offices that weren't designed with summer in mind.

Buy it: Amazon

5. SHINCO 8000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner; $320

Shinco portable air conditioner

This four-star-rated portable air conditioner is meant for rooms of up to 200 square feet, so think of it for a home office or bedroom. It has two fan speeds, and the included air filter can be rinsed out quickly underneath a faucet. There's also a remote control that lets you adjust the temperature from across the room. This is another one where you'll need a window nearby, but the installation kit and instructions are all included so you won't have to sweat too much over setting it up.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Honeywell MN Series Portable Air Conditioner and Dehumidifier; $400

Honeywell air conditioner on Walmart.

Like the other units on this list, Honeywell's portable air conditioner also acts as a dehumidifier or a standard fan when you just want some air to circulate. You can cool a 350-square-foot room with this four-star model, and there are four wheels at the bottom that make moving it from place to place even easier. This one is available on Amazon, too, but Walmart has the lowest price right now.

Buy it: Walmart

7. LG 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner; $699

LG Portable Air Conditioner.
LG/Home Depot

This one won't come cheap, but it packs the acclaim to back it up. It topped Wirecutter's list of best portable air conditioners and currently has a 4.5-star rating on Home Depot's website, with many of the reviews praising how quiet it is while it's running. It's one of the only models you'll find compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, and it can cool rooms up to 500 square feet. There's also the built-in timer, so you can program it to go on and off whenever you want.

Buy it: Home Depot

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Maestro: 10 Facts About Ennio Morricone

Peter Tea via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Peter Tea via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Famed composer Ennio Morricone died on July 6, 2020 at the age of 91, leaving behind a body of work that eclipses the idea of “productivity” itself. It’s not just that Morricone composed thousands of hours of music for hundreds of movies. It’s that he managed to create so many original, indelible moments over and over again, in such a broad variety of genres for so long, without acquiescing to repetition or compromising his creativity. The last, best comfort to take in his absence is the thrilling—and rather intimidating—volume of music he left for us to revisit and, more likely, discover while celebrating his legacy in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

In spite of his seemingly constant presence in the film industry for more than 70 years, there are many details about Morricone's life and career that even longtime fans may not know. In honoring the man and the artist, we’ve collected a handful of facts and figures about the Oscar-winning composer and his vast, incredible, and unforgettable body of work.

1. Ennio Morricone made music for 85 of his 91 years.

Ennio Morricone was encouraged to develop his natural musical abilities at a young age—he created his first compositions at age 6. He was taught music by his father and learned several instruments, but gravitated toward the trumpet. When he was just 12 years old, Morricone enrolled in a four-year program at the prestigious National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome, where he was born, and completed his studies within six months.

2. Ennio Morricone's career primarily focused on film, television, and radio compositions, but he also worked in popular music.

Morricone’s professional career began in 1950 as an arranger for jazz and pop artists. He helped compose hits for a diverse slate of stars including Nora Orlandi, Mina, Françoise Hardy, Mireille Mathieu, and Paul Anka, whose song “Ogni Volta” (“Every Time”) sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.

Morricone later worked with Pet Shop Boys, k.d. lang, Andrea Bocelli, and Sting. From 1964 to 1980, he was also part of Gruppo di Improvvisazione Consonanza (or “The Group”), an ensemble focused on avant-garde improvisations. Although it was reissued a few years ago, original copies of their 1970 album The Feed-back once fetched as much as $1000 on the collector’s market.

3. Ennio Morricone hit the ground running as a composer—and never slowed down.

Many of Morricone’s first efforts in the movies were as an orchestrator for more established composers, but he quickly joined their ranks. Between 1955 and 1964, when he created his breakthrough score for A Fistful of Dollars, he either orchestrated or composed (or both in some cases) some 28 film scores. During this time, he was already working with Michelangelo Antonioni (L’Avventura), Vittorio De Sica (The Last Judgment), Lucio Fulci (twice!), Lina Wertmüller (I basilischi), and Bernardo Bertolucci (Before the Revolution).

4. Ennio Morricone helped turn A Fistful of Dollars into a worldwide classic.

When Sergio Leone hired Morricone for his first Western, he’d already embarked on an iconoclastic journey, referencing Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. Leone’s initial “concession” was to evoke Dimitri Tiomkin’s score for Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo in its music. Morricone combined ideas from Tiomkin’s music with an arrangement of folk singer Peter Tevis’s cover of the Woody Guthrie song “Pastures of Plenty” to create what became the opening title theme. The music won the Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists and forged a longtime partnership between Morricone and Leone.

5. During their heyday, Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone worked in a way that was virtually unprecedented outside of musicals.

The music in Leone’s films is at once one of their most distinctive features, and also one of their most inextricable. Later in his career, Morricone explained that he would often compose portions of the music for Leone’s films before shooting began, and then scenes were staged and shot to match the timing and rhythm of the composer’s music. “That’s why the films are so slow,” Morricone joked in 2007. His use of so many then-unconventional instruments, including electric guitars, the mouth harp, and sound effects like gunshots redefined the musical landscape of the genre, while Leone razed its traditional morality tales to explore darker, more complex stories.

6. A Fistful Of Dollars spawned a lifetime of awards.

Morricone won his only competitive Oscar just four years ago, and had previously received an honorary Oscar in 2007. But after that recognition from the Italian National Syndicate of Journalists, he racked up hundreds of nominations and awards from the Motion Picture Academy (five other nominations), the American Film Institute (four), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (six nominations, three wins), the Grammys (five nominations and four awards including their Grammy Hall of Fame and Trustees Award), and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (a Career Achievement award and a win for his score for Once Upon a Time in America). Somewhat predictably, much of the work he did in “genre” films, even the acclaimed “Spaghetti Westerns,” was marginalized at the time, but went on to be appropriately recognized and reevaluated for its impact and artistry.

7. Ennio Morricone was both a critical and a commercial success.

Morricone's work with Leone raised his profile as a formidable collaborator for filmmakers and gave him worldwide chart success. His score for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly sold more than 2 million copies, and the soundtrack to Once Upon A Time In The West, his fourth collaboration with Leone, sold approximately 10 million copies worldwide. It remains one of the top five best-selling instrumental scores in the world today. To date, Morricone has sold more than 70 million records worldwide.

8. Ennio Morricone’s partnership with Sergio Leone was exemplary, but he wasn’t the composer’s only frequent collaborator.

From A Fistful of Dollars to Once Upon a Time in America, Leone’s final film, he and Morricone always worked together. While working primarily in Italy, he often teamed up with Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Dario Argento, among others. After being courted by Hollywood, Morricone began developing long-term partnerships with American and international filmmakers like Brian De Palma, Warren Beatty, Samuel Fuller, and Roland Joffe. By the late 1970s, he was working with John Boorman and Terrence Malick, and by the 1980s and ‘90s, he was regularly collaborating with John Carpenter, Barry Levinson, George Miller, and Pedro Almodóvar.

Beginning in 1988, Morricone began working with Giuseppe Tornatore on the Oscar-winning Italian film Cinema Paradiso, and subsequently worked on all of Tornatore's other films, including 2016’s The Correspondence and the director's commercials for Dolce & Gabbana.

9. Quentin Tarantino championed Ennio Morricone’s work even before the two of them ever worked together.

Quentin Tarantino’s films are always an exciting pastiche of past and present influences, and he has used cues from Morricone scores in many of his films, beginning with Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2. Tarantino first hoped to work with the composer on Inglorious Basterds, but when the timing couldn’t be worked out, the filmmaker utilized eight older tracks by Morricone on the soundtrack.

Morricone composed the song “Ancora Qui” for Django Unchained, but it wasn’t until The Hateful Eight that he composed a full score for Tarantino, who still used archival tracks—namely, some unreleased cues from his score for John Carpenter’s The Thing—to expand the film’s musical backdrop. In 2016, Morricone won his first competitive Oscar for his work on Tarantino's film after being nominated six times over the course of nearly 40 years. Morricone also earned an Honorary Oscar in 2007 "For his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music."

10. Morricone’s discography remains an embarrassment of riches—at least, whatever’s left of it.

Though the extent of the loss hasn’t been reported, Morricone’s was among the work reportedly destroyed in the 2008 fire on the Universal backlot where the company’s Music Group stored original recording and master tapes from some of the world’s best-selling artists. But Morricone recorded more than 400 film scores throughout his career and more than 100 classical pieces, not counting the thousands of pieces licensed for use. More and more of them have been restored and re-released digitally, on CD and vinyl. Meanwhile, his work continues to elicit as strong reactions from moviegoers as the images they were originally written to accompany.

Yo-Yo Ma released an album of performances of Morricone pieces in 2004 that sold more than 130,000 copies. His work tested and redefined the boundaries of film composition, what instruments could be used, and how music and imagery could work together to tell stories and generate powerful feelings. And each listen of those recordings, whether of transgressive experimentation, pointed drama, or lush sentimentality, honors Morricone's enormous talent and evokes his irreplaceable spirit.