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14 Future Stars Who Appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Pop Culture
5 Killer Pieces of Rock History Up for Auction Now (Including Prince’s Guitar)
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If you’ve ever wanted to own a piece of rock history, now is the time. A whole host of cool music memorabilia from the 20th century is going up for sale through Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles as part of its “Icons and Idols” sale. If you’ve got the dough, you can nab everything from leather chairs from Graceland to a shirt worn by Jimi Hendrix to never-before-available prints that Joni Mitchell signed and gave to her friends. Here are five highlights from the auction:


Elvis’s nunchucks
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

Elvis’s karate skills sometimes get a bad rap, but the King earned his first black belt in 1960, and went on to become a seventh-degree black belt before opening his own studio in 1974. You can cherish a piece of his martial arts legacy in the form of his nunchaku. One was broken during his training, but the other is still in ready-to-use shape. (But please don’t use it.) It seems Elvis wasn’t super convinced of his own karate skills, though, because he also supposedly carried a police baton (which you can also buy) for his personal protection.


A blue guitar used by Prince
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

Prince’s blue Cloud guitar, estimated to be worth between $60,000 and $80,000, appeared on stage with him in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The custom guitar was made just for Prince by Cloud’s luthier (as in, guitar maker) Andy Beech. The artist first sold it at a 1994 auction to benefit relief efforts for the L.A. area’s devastating Northridge earthquake.


Kurt Cobain wearing a cheerleader outfit in the pages of Rolling Stone
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

The Nirvana frontman wore the bright-yellow cheerleader’s uniform from his alma mater, J.M. Weatherwax High School in Aberdeen, Washington, during a photo shoot for a January 1994 issue of Rolling Stone, released just a few months before his death.


A white glove covered in rhinestones
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

A young Michael Jackson wore this bejeweled right-hand glove on his 1981 Triumph Tour, one of the first of many single gloves he would don over the course of his career. Unlike later incarnations, this one isn’t a custom-made glove with hand-sewn crystals, but a regular glove topped with a layer of rhinestones cut into the shape of the glove and sewn on top.

The auction house is also selling a pair of jeans the star wore to his 2003 birthday party, as well as other clothes he wore for music videos and performances.


A piece of wood in a frame under a picture of The Beatles
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

You can’t walk the halls of Abbey Road Studios, but you can pretend. First sold in 1986, the piece of wood in this frame reportedly came from Studio Two, a recording space that hosted not only The Beatles (pictured), but Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, and others.

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5 Dubious Historical Antidotes for Poison (and What Actually Works)
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An artificial bezoar stone from Goa, India
Wellcome Images // CC BY 4.0

When it comes to their health, humans will believe just about anything. In this extract from the new book Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, authors Lydia Kang, MD, and Nate Pedersen discuss some of the more questionable ways people once tried to protect themselves from poison—whether or not the methods actually worked.

Poison is everywhere. Naturally or unnaturally, it can be in the soil (arsenic), in the air (carbon monoxide), in your drinks (lead), and in your food (cyanide). With so much danger around, it’s no wonder humans have obsessed over finding a universal antidote—the one thing that could save us from all toxins. Imagine you’re a medieval prince about to inherit the throne. Chances are, there are a lot of power-hungry wannabes waiting in the wings. A little arsenic or hemlock might be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Just in case, best have an antidote on standby.

For millennia, a certain amount of magical thinking was employed when arming oneself against poison because science was inconveniently slow to catch up. So grab your handy unicorn horn and a bezoar, and let’s take a look.


Bezoars have been used for centuries as antidotes to poisons. A bezoar is solid mass of undigested food, plant fibers, or hair found in the digestive tracts of animals, including deer, porcupines, fish, and, yes, humans. Anyone with a cat is familiar with the less-cool feline version: hairballs.

Bezoars and other stone-like items created by animals often had a good story behind them. Legends told of deer that would eat poisonous snakes and become immune or cry tears that solidified into poison-curing stones. First-century Arabic author al-Birumi claimed bezoars could protect against one poison called “the snot of Satan,” which we hope never ever to encounter. By the 12th century, when Europe became plagued with, uh, plagues, the bezoar crept into pharmacopeias as panaceas and alexipharmics (poison antidotes).

Bezoars were a seductive notion for the rich and royal, who were at risk of assassination. The stones were often enclosed in bejeweled gold for display or worn as amulets. Indian bezoars, in particular, were sought for life-threatening fevers, poisonous bites, bleeding, jaundice, and melancholy. Consumers were also known to scrape off a bit of bezoar and add it to their drinks for heart health and kidney stones. These tonics were sometimes adulterated with toxic mercury or antimony, which caused vomiting and diarrhea, making buyers think they were effective.

But were they? One team of researchers soaked bezoars in an arsenic-laced solution and found that the stones absorbed the arsenic or that the poison was neutralized. Hard to say if it worked well enough to cure a fatal dose. Ambroise Paré, one of the preeminent French physicians of the 16th century, was also a doubter. The king’s cook, who’d been stealing silver, was given the choice between hanging or being Paré’s lab rat. He chose the latter. After the cook consumed poison, Paré looked on as a bezoar was stuffed down his throat. Six hours later, he died wracked with pain. Perhaps he chose ... poorly?


This antidote was named after Mithridates VI, the king of Pontus and Armenia Minor. Born in 134 BCE, he pretty much invented the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” by consuming poisons daily to prevent his own assassination. His royal home was stocked with stingray spines, toxic mushrooms, scorpions, mineral poisons, and a poisonous plant–filled garden. He was so unpoisonable that after his son took over his kingdom and he faced execution, he couldn’t even commit suicide by poison! He begged a guard to stab him to death. (It worked.)

Though the king’s actual recipe for the antidote is nowhere to be found, versions began to circulate after his death, and they became synonymous with the king himself. Compounds with lengthy and expensive ingredient lists prevailed, including iris, cardamom, anise, frankincense, myrrh, ginger, and saffron. In the first century, Pliny the Elder snarkily remarked, “The Mithridatic antidote is composed of fifty-four ingredients ... Which of the gods, in the name of Truth, fixed these absurd proportions? ... It is plainly a showy parade of the art, and a colossal boast of science.”

Showy or not, people would take the extensive mix of herbs, pound them together with honey, and eat a nut-sized portion to cure themselves. At least it endowed them with expensive-smelling breath.


An apothecary shop sign in the shape of a unicorn
An ivory pharmacy sign in the shape of a unicorn's head
Wellcome Images // CC BY 4.0

Unicorn horns have been considered a part of antidote legend since the mythical beast galloped into literature around 300 BCE. For centuries afterward, real earthly beasts would sacrifice their lives and their horns to slake our thirst for the miraculous, nonexistent animal, including rhinoceroses, narwhals, and oryx. Even fossilized ammonites were used. It was believed that drinking vessels made of such horns might neutralize poisons, and wounds could be cured by holding them close by. In the 16th century, Mary, Queen of Scots reportedly used a unicorn horn to protect her from poisoning. Too bad it didn’t prevent her beheading.


Pearls have long been thought to be powerful antidotes. A beautiful, rare gem created by the homely oyster, a pearl is born out of annoyance (the mollusk secretes iridescent nacre to cover an irritant, like a parasite or grain of sand). Pretty as they are, they’re about as useful as the chalky antacid tablets on your bedside table; both are chiefly made of calcium carbonate. Good for a stomachache after some spicy food, but not exactly miraculous.

Pearl powder has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of diseases, and Ayurvedic physicians used it as an antidote in the Middle Ages. It was also reported to make people immortal. An old Taoist recipe recommended taking a long pearl and soaking it in malt, “serpent’s gall,” honeycomb, and pumice stone. When softened, it would be pulled like taffy and cut into bite-sized pieces to eat, and voilà! You would suddenly no longer need food to stay alive. Cleopatra famously drank down a large and costly pearl dissolved in wine vinegar, though in that case she wasn’t avoiding poison. She didn’t want to lose a bet with Antony—which might have fatally injured her pride.


Albarello vase for theriac, Italy, 1641
A vase for theriac, Italy, 1641
Wellcome Images // CC BY 4.0

Theriac was an herbal concoction created in the first century by Emperor Nero’s physician, Andromachus, who was reported to have Mithridates’s secret notes. It was a mashed formula of about 70 ingredients, including cinnamon, opium, rose, iris, lavender, and acacia in a honey base. In the 12th century, theriac made in Venice was branded as particularly special, and Venetian treacle (derived from a Middle English translation of theriac) became a hot commodity. Its public, dramatic production often attracted curious crowds.

By the 18th century, cheaper golden syrup was substituted for honey. As treacle began to lose its luster as a treatment, its definition as an herbal remedy disappeared from common vernacular. But the sweet syrup remained. Which is why when we think of treacle, we think of treacle tarts, not a fancy means of saving ourselves from a deathly poisoning.


Thankfully, science has brought us a wide range of antidotes for many items we shouldn’t be exposed to in dangerous quantities, if at all. N-acetylcysteine, fondly referred to as NAC by doctors, saves us from acetaminophen overdoses. Ethanol can treat antifreeze poisoning. Atropine, ironically one of the main components of plants in the toxic nightshade family (such as mandrake), can treat poisoning from some dangerous fertilizers and chemical nerve agents used as weapons. For years, poisonings were treated with emetics, though it turns out that plain old carbon—in the form of activated charcoal—can adsorb poisons (the poisons stick to the surface of the charcoal) in the digestive system before they’re dissolved and digested by the body.

As long as the natural world and its humans keep making things to kill us off, we’ll keep developing methods to not die untimely deaths.

We’ll just leave the fancy hairballs off the list.

The cover of the book Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
Workman Publishing

Excerpt from Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang, MD and Nate Pedersen/Workman Publishing. Used with permission.


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