Legions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans know Nicholas Brendon as the goofy but loyal character Xander, which he played for seven seasons between 1997 and 2003. Born in Los Angeles in 1971, Brendon was surrounded by the bright lights of Hollywood from the womb, but unlike a lot of hopeful stars, he didn't dive into show business as a child. Brendon's first love was baseball, and he had aspirations to pursue a career in sports until an injury forced him to change his plans. Addled with a stuttering problem that had plagued him from a young age, he tried his hand at acting at the age of 20 as a way to overcome his problem. The method worked, both curing his stuttering and offering him an avenue for career success -- eventually. Brendon's first shot at acting ended after two years, with Brendon frustrated by the shallow politics of Hollywood. He subsequently tried his hand as a janitor, daycare counselor, plumber's assistant, waiter, and even medical school student before giving acting another chance. After less than a week of auditions, he landed the role of Xander. After Buffy ended in 2003, Brendon followed the show with a starring role in the series Kitchen Confidential. Though the show was canceled after just one season in 2006, the actor had no shortage of projects lined up, soon working on both sides of the camera by producing and starring in the 2007 horror film Unholy. A short time later, he appeared in the horror comedy Blood on the Highway before assuming a recurring role on the procedural crime drama Criminal Minds. In 2009 he had a main role in the family-friendly A Golden Christmas.