Amber Nicole Benson is an American actress, writer, film director, and film producer. She is best known for her role as Tara Maclay on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but has also directed, produced and starred in her own films Chance (2002) and Lovers, Liars & Lunatics (2006). She is also co-director with Adam Busch of the upcoming film Drones.
Benson was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Her parents are Edward (a psychiatrist) and Diane Benson, and she has a younger sister, Danielle, who is an artist. She had a mixed Christian and Jewish upbringing.
As a child, Amber studied music and dance, and performed in the Birmingham Children's Ballet, as well as in local theater. She attended high school (one of her classmates being Joey Fatone) in Orlando, Florida after her family moved there, in part to help Amber pursue acting opportunities, the most prominent of which was an unsold television series called Kids News, in which Amber was to have been one of two main anchors. The Bensons then relocated to Los Angeles, and Amber began to very quickly land roles in films and on television.
While still working on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Benson wrote, directed, produced, edited, and acted in a digital video feature called Chance (2002) which also featured her Buffy co-star James Marsters. After her time on Buffy, Benson began production on a series of animation films for the BBC with co-creator Christopher Golden and animation studio Cosgrove Hall. Ghosts of Albion: Legacy (2003) and its sequels are available on the BBC Cult website. In 2006, Benson released her second independent feature film Lovers, Liars & Lunatics through her own production company, Benson Entertainment. The film was shot on film and was partly financed by the sale of limited edition Triangle Tara Buffyverse action figure. The project, initially called The Dirty Script, was ultimately titled Lovers, Liars and Lunatics by producer Diane Benson, Amber's mother. She is the co-director with Adam Busch of Drones, a comedy film due for release in 2010.
Benson sang in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode Once More, with Feeling. She provided vocals for the songs Ive Got a Theory/Bunnies/If Were Together, Under Your Spell (her solo), Walk Through the Fire, 'standing/Under Your Spell (Reprise) and Where Do We Go from Here In 2002, she appeared in two songs on Buffy colleague Anthony Stewart Head's album Music for Elevators. She also sang Toucha Toucha Touch Me (aka Creature of the Night) at VH-1's celebrity karaoke tribute to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
In 1997 she co-wrote the movie The Theory of the Leisure Class with director Gabriel Bologna.
Benson also writes novels and comic books mostly in collaboration with Christopher Golden. In 2001, Benson worked with Golden, Terry Moore, and Eric Powell of Dark Horse Comics to create the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara comic book titled WannaBlessedBe. The following year (2002), she worked with Christopher Golden and AJ (Ajit Jothikaumar) of Dark Horse Comics to create the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara comic books titled Wilderness #1 and Wilderness #2. In 2005, Benson collaborated with artist Jamie McKelvie on a short story within the Image Comics collection Four Letter Worlds. In 2006, Benson collaborated with artist Ben Templesmith on Demon Father John's Pinwheel Blues published by IDW as a four-part split-book, Shadowplay (with work by Ashley Wood and Christina Z). Benson and Golden have also collaborated on two supernatural thrillers: Ghosts of Albion: Accursed and Ghosts of Albion: Witchery. These books follow the fortunes of Tamara and William Swift, who first appeared in the BBC computer animated web movie Ghosts of Albion: Legacy. In December 2006, Benson and Golden released yet another collaboration, the short novel The Seven Whistlers which is distributed through Subterranean Press in a limited number of signed copies. In September 2007, Benson signed a three-book deal with Ginjer Buchanan of Penguin Books. The first book was Death's Daughter, an Ace imprint paperback which was released on February 24, 2009, and the second book is Cat's Claw, released on February 23, 2010. She completed the third book in June 2010, and in an interview indicated there might be a fourth.