I love celebrating the birthdays of Joss Whedon cast members, but boy did I hate Julie Benz’s character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel! Benz began her career with a small role in a segment of the Dario Argento/George Romero horror film Two Evil Eyes, as well as a role in the short-lived TV show Hi Honey, I’m Home in 1991. Following her graduation from NYU, Benz moved to Los Angeles and played a small role on an episode of Married with Children. She followed it up with roles in the TV series Hang Time, High Tide, Step by Step, and Boy Meets World, as well as playing a small role in the 1996 Chris Farley movie Black Sheep. In 1997, Joss Whedon cast Benz as the character of Darla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she was so well-received in the role that the character returned again and again across Buffy‘s seven seasons and the spin-off series Angel. The role of Darla helped launch Benz’s career, and she has appeared in numerous film and television roles ever since, with parts in movies including As Good as It Gets, George of the Jungle 2, Saw V, Punisher: War Zone, Rambo, and The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, and television roles in TV series such as Roswell, NCIS, CSI, CSI: Miami, Supernatural, Law & Order, Dexter, and Desperate Housewives. But of course, she’ll always be Darla to me. Julie Benz turns 40 today.