Kristy Swanson

Kristen Noel Swanson is an American actress. She is best recognized for having played First Draft Buffy in the 1992 film Buffy the Vampire Slayer and appeared in the 1996 film The Phantom.[1]

Kristy Swanson
Kristy Swanson Photo Op GalaxyCon Raleigh 2019.jpg
Swanson at GalaxyCon Raleigh in 2019
Kristen Noel Swanson

Years active1984–present
(m. 2009)

Her first starring role was in Wes Craven's horror film Deadly Friend (1986), followed by her portrayal of Catherine "Cathy" Dollanganger in the film adaptation of V. C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic (1987). Swanson also starred in several films, including Hot Shots! (1991), The Program (1993), The Chase (1994), 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997), Big Daddy (1999), and Dude, Where's My Car? (2000), and appeared in Pretty in Pink (1986) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).

Early lifeEdit

Swanson was born and raised in Mission Viejo, California.[2] At the age of nine, she expressed interest in acting to her parents, and began pursuing roles in television commercials. She landed her first job appearing in a doll house commercial, which was followed with several more commercial appearances.[2]


Swanson began her acting career at The Actors Workshop with R. J. Adams and promptly moved into TV advertising roles and several one-off appearances in TV series such as Cagney and Lacey and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1986, she debuted on the big screen in two John Hughes films: Pretty In Pink, in a non-speaking cameo, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off as a character who announces a convoluted excuse for Ferris' absence in class. Her first starring role was later in 1986, in Wes Craven's Deadly Friend as Samantha – "the girl next door." The next year she played Cathy in the adaptation of V. C. Andrews' best-seller, Flowers in the Attic.

Swanson described how she was cast in Pretty in Pink: "[Writer] John Hughes said, 'We're re-shooting the end of Pretty in Pink. I was wondering if you would come be in this scene with our main character, Ducky, because the way we tested it in the movie theater, it didn't work. We need him to end up with somebody else at the end of the movie. So would you play the part?'"[3]

By 1990, Swanson had made many television appearances, including multiple appearances in Knots Landing (1987–1988), Nightingales (1989), her first starring role in a TV series, although it only lasted a season, and a short-lived Burt Reynolds television series called B.L. Stryker (1989).

Throughout the 1990s, she starred mostly in films. She played the title role in the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although not a hit at the box office originally, it had a profitable rental life. She appeared in both starring and supporting roles in movies such as Hot Shots!, The Program, The Chase, or her most critically acclaimed role, playing Kristen Connor, a student discovering her sexuality, in John Singleton's Higher Learning. She also appeared in the film adaptation of the comic-book The Phantom and the dark comedy 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag with Joe Pesci. Most of these films failed at the box office and she reverted to TV work in the late 1990s.[citation needed]

In the 1998–99 season of Early Edition, Swanson played Erica Paget, a love interest of the main character, Gary Hobson. In 1999, Swanson played Vanessa, the ex-girlfriend of Adam Sandler in the movie Big Daddy. In 2000, she returned to a television series, as the star of Grapevine, a revamp of a 1992 TV series that was canceled after five episodes. The same year, she starred in the successful movie Dude, Where's My Car?, alongside Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott and Jennifer Garner.

Swanson posed nude for Playboy magazine in November 2002 in a cover-featured pictorial. She appeared in and won the 2006 Fox television program Skating with Celebrities, partnered with Lloyd Eisler.

On May 8, 2007, Swanson appeared in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Bombshell," playing a fictionalized variation on Anna Nicole Smith.

In 2007, she became a spokesperson of the Medifast diet. In the following year, she guest-starred in three episodes of the lesbian web series 3Way.

In July 2009, she filmed What If..., co-starring Kevin Sorbo and Debby Ryan, released on August 20, 2010. It was her first theatrical film in 10 years.

Swanson made a cameo appearance in the "Don't You Forget About Me" episode of One Tree Hill, which aired on February 1, 2010. The episode was a homage to John Hughes as Swanson appeared in two films produced by him in the 1980s.

In 2018, she was cast in the lead role in Hallmark Channel original movie Winter's Dream along with other TV projects. She also appeared in a Hallmark Christmas movie called A Christmas Wish (2011).

In May 2021 Swanson announced a scheduled release date of 15 June for the Jennifer Nichole Lee and Paul Schneider collaboration, Just Another Dream. She co-stars with long-time friend Dean Cain.

Personal lifeEdit

Swanson married her Skating with Celebrities partner Lloyd Eisler in 2009. They have one son.[4]

Swanson is a Republican.[5] Swanson said that she and fellow actor Dean Cain received death threats for taking part in Obamagate, a stage play that focused on Donald Trump, due to their support of Trump.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Mr. Boogedy Jennifer Davis Disney TV film and Pilot
1986 Pretty in Pink Duckette
1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off Simone Adamson
1986 Deadly Friend Samantha Pringle
1987 Flowers in the Attic Catherine "Cathy" Dollanganger
1990 Dream Trap Sue Halloran
1990 Diving In Terry Hopkins
1991 Mannequin Two: On the Move Jessie
1991 Hot Shots! Kowalski
1991 Highway to Hell Rachel Clark
1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy Summers
1993 The Program Camille Shafer
1994 The Chase Natalie Voss
1994 Getting In Kirby Watts
1995 Higher Learning Kristen Connor
1995 The Chili Con Carne Club Julie Short film
1996 The Phantom Diana Palmer
1997 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag Laurie Bennett
1997 Lover Girl Darlene Ferrari / "Sherry"
1997 Tinseltown Nikki Randall
1998 Ground Control Julie Albrecht
1999 Big Daddy Vanessa
2000 Meeting Daddy Laurel Lee
2000 Dude, Where's My Car? Christie Boner
2001 Soul Assassin Tessa Jansen
2003 Silence Dr. Julia Craig
2005 Bound by Lies Laura Cross Video
2005 Six Months Later Linda Short film
2006 Living Death Elizabeth Harris Video
2009 The Closer Kaitlyn Short film
2010 What If... Wendy Walker
2011 Chick Magnet Kristy Video
2012 Little Women, Big Cars Rocky
2013 The Bouquet Terri Benton
2013 Storm Rider Jody Peterson Video
2014 Beethoven's Treasure Tail Anne Parker Video
2014 A Belle For Christmas Daniella Downy Video
2015 Angels in the Snow Judith Montgomery Video
2017 A Parent's Worst Nightmare Kathrin Television film
2017 A Mother's Sacrifice Joanna
2017 Crowning Jules[7] Victoria


Year Title Role Notes
1984 It's Your Move Laura Episode: "Love Letters"
1985 Call to Glory Sally Episodes: "JFK: Parts 1 & 2"
1985 Cagney & Lacey Stephanie Brandon Episode: "On the Street"
1985 Joan Rivers and Friends Salute Heidi Abromowitz Young Heidi Abromowitz
1986 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Female Student #2 Episode: "The Gloating Place"
1986 Miracle of the Heart: A Boys Town Story Stephanie Gamble Television film
1986 Mr. Boogedy Jennifer Davis Television film (ABC)
1986 The Hogan Family Linda Perkins Episode: "The Big Fix-Up"
1987 Juarez Cathy Dodge Television film
1987 Growing Pains Rhonda Episode: "Thank God It's Friday"
1987 Not Quite Human Eron Jeffries Television film (ABC)
1987–1988 Knots Landing Jody Campbell Recurring role (8 episodes)
1988 The Loner Sherry Spicer Television film
1988 Ohara Episode: "X"
1988 Nightingales Rebecca "Becky" Granger Television film (NBC)
1989 Nightingales Rebecca "Becky" Granger Main role (13 episodes)
1989 B.L. Stryker Lynn Ellingsworth Episodes: "The Dancer's Touch", "Blues for Buder"
1996 Marshal Law Lilly Nelson Television film (Showtime)
1997 Bad to the Bone Francesca Wells Television film (ABC)
1998–1999 Early Edition Erica Paget Main role (20 episodes)
1999 Supreme Sanction Jenna Television film (HBO)
2000 Grapevine Susan Crawford Regular role (5 episodes)
2001 Untitled Charles Randolph Project TV pilot
2001 Zebra Lounge Louise Bauer Television film
2003 Just Shoot Me! Allison Cavanaugh Episode: "There's Something About Allison"
2003 Red Water Dr. Kelli Raymond Television film (TBS)
2004 CSI: Miami Roxanne Price Episode: "Complications"
2005 Forbidden Secrets Alexandra Kent Lambeth Television film
2006 The Black Hole Shannon Muir Television film (Syfy)
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Lorelai Mailer Episode: "Bombshell"
2008 3Way Leslie Lapdalulu Episodes: "Fatal Distraction: Parts 1 & 2", "The Dinah Monologues"
2009 Hell's Kitchen Herself Season 6 Episode 4: "13 Chefs Compete"
2010 One Tree Hill Woman in Car Episode: "Don't You Forget About Me"
2011 Swamp Shark Rachel Bouchard Television film (Syfy)
2011 A Christmas Wish Martha Evans Television film (Hallmark)
2011–2014 Psych Marlowe Viccellio Recurring role (6 episodes)
2012 Operation Cupcake Janet Carson Television film
2014 A Lesson in Romance[8] Megan Mills Television film (PixL)
2014 Merry Ex-Mas Noelle Television film (ION)
2015 Driven Underground Sarah Palmer Television film (Lifetime)
2015 Angels in the Snow Judith Montgomery Television film (UP)
2018 Bad Stepmother Louise Television film (Lifetime)
2018 Winter's Dream Kat Television film (Hallmark)
2019 SEAL Team Julia Logan Episodes: "Payback", "Medicate and Isolate", "Rock Bottom"

Awards and nominationsEdit


  • 1989: Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Horror or Mystery Motion Picture – Flowers In The Attic


  • 1988: Young Artist Award for Best Young Female Superstar in Motion Pictures – Deadly Friend
  • 1987: Young Artist Award for Exceptional Young Actress Starring in a Television Special or Movie of the Week – Mr. Boogedy
  • 1986: Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress – Guest in a Television Series – Cagney & Lacey episode "On The Street"


  1. ^ O., Jimmy (July 24, 2015). "Where in the Horror are they Now? Kristy Swanson". Arrow in the Head. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Vanderknyff, Rick (July 31, 1992). "Will 'Buffy' Role Slay 'Em? : Mission Viejo's Kristy Swanson Is No Stranger to Outrageous Parts". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  3. ^ "Kristy Swanson, Lead Role in 1992 Film "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"—Guest 06/04/2015". June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  4. ^ Benet, Lorenzo (February 7, 2009). "Kristy Swanson and Lloyd Eisler Get Married!". Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Swanson, Kristy [@kristyswansonxo] (August 16, 2017). "I've always been a proud republican" (Tweet). Retrieved April 24, 2019 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Moniuszko, Sara M. (May 23, 2019). "Pro-Trump star Kristy Swanson: Dean Cain and I got 'death threats' over play". USA Today. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  7. ^ "Video: Crowning Jules Trailer". Brian Harrington. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  8. ^ "Kristy Swanson - A Lesson in Love - Cast - Hallmark Channel".

External linksEdit