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Adrien Brody, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Lawrence Bush
April 13, 2017
Two prominent Gen-X actors were born on this date in New York: Adrien Brody, whose Oscar-winning performance in Roman Polanski's The Pianist (2002) brought to life the chaos and cruelty of life in the Warsaw Ghetto, was born in Woodhaven, Queens, in 1973; Sarah Michelle Gellar, best known as television's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), was born in Manhattan in 1974. Brody is the son of Sylvia Plachy, a well-known photographer (who had a Czech Jewish mother but was raised Catholic) and Elliot Brody, a history professor and artist; Gellar's mother was a nursery school teacher, her father a garment worker, and their marriage dissolved when she was 7. Both Brody and Gellar were child actors. ("My dad told me, 'It takes fifteen years to be an overnight success,' and it took me seventeen and a half," said Brody, the youngest actor, at 29, to receive the Best Actor Academy Award. He has appeared in numerous films, including The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Midnight in Paris (2011), and as Leonard Chess in Cadillac Records (2008). Gellar has won Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on All My Children (1994-95) and dozens of awards for her years starring on the highly influential Buffy show. "In the world of Buffy the problems that teenagers face become literal monsters. A mother can take over her daughter's life . . . a strict stepfather-to-be really is a heartless machine . . . a young lesbian fears that her nature is demonic . . . a girl who has sex with even the nicest-seeming guy may discover that he afterwards becomes a monster . . ." --Rhonda Wilcox and David Lavery, Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.