Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon

Active - 1992 - 2017  |   Born - Jun 23, 1964 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Action, Adventure, Drama

Share on

Biography by AllMovie

Born June 23rd, 1964, screenwriter Joss Whedon earned fame and industry standing as the writer, director, and producer of the popular WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which he based on his 1992 film of the same name. A third-generation television writer (both his father and grandfather wrote for the medium), Whedon grew up in Manhattan and spent his high school years at an all-boys school in England. Following higher education at Connecticut's Wesleyan University, he spent a year mired in creative and career frustration, an ordeal that ended when he was hired as a writer for the sitcom Roseanne.

Whedon stayed with the show for a year, quitting when he sold his first film script. The resulting movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), was a disappointment, and Whedon subsequently found work writing (often in an uncredited capacity) for a number of high-profile films, including the lavishly praised and hugely popular Toy Story (1995). In 1997, Whedon resurrected his story of a teenaged vampire-slaying valley girl, creating the much more popular TV version; within a short time, the series was hailed as one of the best on television, and it had accumulated a large and loyal fan base. That same year, Whedon wrote the script for Alien Resurrection. In 1999, as a measure of Buffy's success, Whedon created Angel, a spin-off of his original show. Like Buffy, it soon boasted a loyal fan base, as well as largely favorable reviews. The next year, he co-wrote the script for the animated sci-fi adventure Titan A.E. He was also nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the almost entirely silent Buffy episode "Hush," a considerable achievement given the show's supernatural/fantasy bent and the fact that it did not air on a major network.

In 2002, Whedon created yet another TV series, this time a "sci-fi Western" called Firefly. The showed was short-lived, lasting only 12 episodes before being canceled (three more episodes were unaired but eventually released on DVD). The next year saw the final season of Whedon's much-loved Buffy, which had lasted seven seasons, with Angel quick to follow suit. Though fans rallied to keep the series on the air, Angel was canceled in 2004 after five seasons. With fans mourning the end of the "Buffy-verse" and amidst rampant speculation of more spin-offs, Whedon surprisingly announced that his next project would be a movie version of his failed television show Firefly. He quickly had a script ready, and the film, entitled Serenity (after the spaceship from the series), went into production that same year and was released in 2005.

Whedon had a similar experience with Dollhouse in 2009, which was cancelled due to low ratings after a two season run. 2012 would prove a much better year for Whedon, who produced the hit horror comedy Cabin in the Woods, and directed the summer blockbuster The Avengers.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Began his writing career as a story editor for Rosanne in 1989.
  • Third-generation TV writer behind his father and grandfather. His grandfather, originally a playwright, later wrote for sitcoms such as The Donna Reed Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show. His father was a television writer for Benson and The Golden Girls.
  • As well as writing and directing, he also wrote all the songs for the classic musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Once More With Feeling," which were eventually released on CD.
  • First acted on his TV show Angel, playing a demon called Numfar of the Deathwok Clan in the episode "Through the Looking Glass."
  • Regards Stephen Sondheim as "the single most influential artist" in his life.
  • Is a feminist and an avid supporter of the international human-rights organization Equality Now, which promotes equal rights for women.