Alexander Lavelle Harris is a fictional character created for the action-horror / fantasy television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was developed by Joss Whedon and portrayed throughout the television series by Nicholas Brendon and in two episodes by his twin brother, Kelly Donovan.
Nicholas Brendon was born three minutes after his identical twin brother, actor Kelly Donovan on April 12, 1971, in Los Angeles, California. He attended Chatsworth High School, where he struggled with stuttering but was also a starter on the baseball team. He had dreams of playing for the L.A. Dodgers but had to pursue other options when he hurt his arm about a year after graduating high school.
He got his big break as an actor when he landed the role of Xander Harris on the hugely successful TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997). The series ran from 1997 until 2003, garnering a huge cult following as well as a large fanbase for Brendon. Brendon and brother Kelly appeared together in the episode “The Replacement”, in which Xander has to cope with having a seemingly sinister double. His first major role in a feature film came with the Charles Busch satire Psycho Beach Party (2000). Brendon has also starred in the ABC Family Channel original movie Celeste in the City (2004). Brendon is a spokesperson for the Stuttering Foundation of America, appearing in a print campaign for the organization.
xander harris actor, Nicholas Brendon’s twin brother Kelly Donovan would often stunt double for Xander in the series, most notably in the episode “The Replacement”, where dual Xanders appear on-screen at the same time. They both use stage names; their surname is Shultz; as children, they were inseparable. Before landing the role of Xander, Brendon had hit “rock bottom”: his girlfriend had left him, he was working as a waiter and could barely afford his rent, and had almost given up on getting good work. After buying the wrong kind of Pop-Tarts for his co-workers, his boss fired him and told him “You should be acting.” Brendon was attracted to the pilot script for Buffy because of how much he had hated high school. Brendon recognized that Xander was based on Joss Whedon when he had attended high school, accounting for why Xander “gets all the good lines”. Brendon did not get much-acting work after Buffy finished, and went into an alcoholism rehabilitation center in 2004. As of 2007, as Niki Stafford notes in her Unofficial Guide, the actor has had comparatively more work since with stage productions.
For the season five episode “The Replacement”, where a demon splits Xander into two people along the lines of his immature and his more adult characteristics, Donovan is cast to play the “other” Xander in scenes where both appear onscreen together. Both actors found playing the character together to be a fun experience.