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Michelle Christine Trachtenberg (born October 11, 1985) is an American television and film actress. She is perhaps best known for playing Dawn Summers in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer from seasons 5 through 7. She also played Georgina Sparks during the first season of Gossip Girl.
Michelle made her first television appearance at the age of three, in a commercial for Wisk Detergent. She went on to feature in over 100 more commercials. She appeared in her first credited role as Nona F. Mecklenberg in The Adventures of Pete & Pete from 1994 until 1996. During the same period she played Lily Montgomery in All My Children, in which she first worked with future Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Michelle Trachtenberg was born in New York City to a Jewish family, the younger of two daughters of Lana, a bank manager, and Michael Trachtenberg, a fiber-optics engineer. Her father is from Germany and her mother was born in Russia, and Trachtenberg can speak Russian fluently. Her family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah; her grandparents live in Israel. Trachtenberg was raised, along with older sister Irene, in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn and attended P.S. 99 Elementary School and The Bay Academy for the Arts And Sciences Junior High School.
Trachtenberg’s film career began in 1996 with the lead role in Harriet the Spy. She then returned to television for Meego, for which she won a Young Artist Award. She returned to film in 1999 for Inspector Gadget, as the gadget-master’s niece, Penny. She also starred in the film Can’t Be Heaven. In the summer of 2000, Trachtenberg took up the role of Dawn Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She remained in the role until the show ended in 2003. She also hosted Truth or Scare from 2001 to 2003. After Buffy and Truth or Scare, she returned to film in the comedy movie EuroTrip, co-starring Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts and Travis Wester and directed by Jeff Schaffer. She also had a recurring role in the HBO series Six Feet Under as Celeste, a spoiled pop star for whom Keith Charles served as a bodyguard.
In November 2006, Trachtenberg guest-starred in the sixth season of the Emmy-nominated crime drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In the episode “Weeping Willow”, she played the role of Willow, a kidnapped video blogger based on lonelygirl15. Trachtenberg also made a cameo in the Fall Out Boy music video for “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” (with Buffy the Vampire Slayer costar Seth Green), Joaquin Phoenix-directed video “Tired of Being Sorry” for Balthazar Getty’s band Ringside, and Trapt’s video “Echo”. She was recently cast as the female lead in an ABC comedy pilot called The Hill, set in Washington, D.C. Trachtenberg provided the voice of Tika Waylan for Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, a direct-to-video animated movie based on the novel of the same name.