Alexis Denisof: How He Battled Bell’s Palsy, Married Willow, And Fought The Avengers

By Rick Gonzales | 3 weeks ago

Alexis Denisof

Actor Alexis Denisof has built an impressive acting resume. Big TV series and bigger movies. He has also done his fair share of smaller productions but productions that are none the less impressive. He’s in some of the biggest movies you’ve seen, and you might not have even known it. Did you spot him in The Avengers?

Here’s where Alexis Denisof has been and where he’s going next.

HANGING WITH DRACULA

First Knight

Alexis Denisof started his career with an uncredited role in George Harrison’s music video, Got My Mind Set On You. He then found himself co-starring with Dracula legend Christopher Lee in the feature film Murder Story as Tony Zonis, an up-and-coming thriller writer who wants to study the master crime writer Willard Hope (Lee). Together they search for stories that will make a great crime novel but instead, they find real murder. Not a bad way to start acting.

Alexis Denisof moved on from hanging with Dracula to a couple of TV series such as Shrinks and Soldier Soldier, while also continuing to find work in features. He was in Dakota Road, Innocent Lies, True Blue, and was even part of the legendary King Arthur’s Round Table in the Sean Connery/Richard Gere-led film First Knight.

The mid-to-late ‘90s saw Alexis Denisof lean more toward TV as he was seen in episodes of Crime Traveller, Sharpe, Screen One, Highlander: The Series, and Ruth Rendell Mysteries. Denisof even found himself in the pilot as the lead for a series Ghost Cop which never made it past the pilot episode. His work on many TV series was simply laying the groundwork for his big break.

ALEXIS DENISOF ON BUFFY AND ANGEL

Wesley on Buffy

Alexis Denisof was introduced to Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans during the show’s third season as Wesley Wyndam-Price, the new Watcher of Buffy. His role was to be brief and then killed off, but he gained immediate popularity as an ineffective, though somehow pompous, Watcher and fans took to him. He was to be the foil of Rupert Giles, his predecessor, which he definitely was. His popularity, though, allowed series creator Joss Whedon, to re-think the role of Wesley and ultimately expand it. He lasted nine episodes on Buffy when Whedon had other plans for his character.

His role became so popular that Whedon decided to bring him over to the Buffy spin-off Angel. Thankfully Alexis Denisof lasted much longer on Angel, the entire series, and forged himself as one of the more likable TV characters. His character was able to convince Angel to become part of Angel Investigations and renamed himself a rogue demon hunter, a part he played for the series five seasons.

Alexis Denisof

Unfortunately, his demon-hunting caught up to him during the series finale, as he lost his battle against the mighty warlock Cyvus Vail. It should be noted that during season five of Angel, Alexis Denisof was stricken with Bell’s palsy that he would eventually recover from but because of paralysis on the left side of his face, producers were forced to structure his scenes so that only the right side could be seen.

AFTER ANGEL

Alexis Denisof

As Angel was wrapping up its run, Denisof took a bit of time to regroup. After a short period of downtime, Alexis Denisof found a recurring role in the comedy How I Met Your Mother, where coincidentally, he was to reunite with his wife, Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), whom he met on the set of Buffy. The pair married in 2003, shortly before Angel’s run ended and have two children.

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Alexis Denisof continued to find himself in both big and small productions. During his How I Met Your Mother run, he also was seen in Private Practice, Dollhouse (another Joss Whedon creation), Little Women, Big Cars (which was both a movie and series), Perception, and H+.

Avengers
Alexis Denisof in The Avengers

Not that Buffy and Angel or How I Met Your Mother weren’t big, but Alexis Denisof did find some bigger game. The first was as The Other in Marvel’s The Avengers. The Other was Thanos’ personal servant. Alexis Denisof would reprise his role as The Other in Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy. Another big gun that included Alexis was on the TV series Grimm. It was a recurring role that got him three seasons on the hit series.

ALEXIS DENISOF NOW

Alexis Denisof

Alexis Denisof moved on from Grimm over to Finding Carter. From there he was in the series I Love Bekka & Lucy, then found another recurring role in the reimaging of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a more horrific take on the Sabrina character of the Archie comics. Finally, Denisof has found himself on another popular series, Legacies. Again, it was a recurring role, but it has kept the popular actor busy.

With Alexis Denisof’s relationship to Joss Whedon (he has starred in Whedon creations such as Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, The Avengers, and even Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing), Denisof just may have more big gigs coming down the pike. Then again, the firestorm that is Whedon’s reputation may put a hold on that part of Denisof’s future.

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