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Julie Benz (born May 1, 1972, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American actress best known for her role as the Vampiress Darla in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Benz grew up in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Franklin Regional High School. She later graduated from New York University. For her role as Rita Bennett on Dexter, Benz won the 2006 Satellite Award for Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. Julie Benz's father is a Pittsburgh surgeon. The family settled in nearby Murrysville when Julie was two, and she started ice skating when she was three. She competed in the 1988 U.S. Championships in junior ice dancing with her partner David Schilling, coming in 13th. Her older brother and sister, Jeffrey and Jennifer, were the 1987 U.S. Junior Champions in ice dancing and competed internationally. When Julie was 14, she had a bad stress fracture and had to take time off. By 1989, with her figure skating career over, Julie turned to acting and got involved in the local theater. Her first movie role was a small, credited, speaking part in "The Black Cat" segment of the Dario Argento/George A. Romero co-directed horror flick Two Evil Eyes (1990). In 1996, Julie auditioned for the role of Buffy in the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997), but lost out to Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, she was offered a small role as a vampire girl in the unaired pilot in which she did such a good job that her part was expanded to a few more episodes in playing the vampire Darla. With that, her career had finally taken off. She also had a recurring role on the show Roswell, starred in the TV movie Satan's School for Girls and had a lead role in the horror movie parody Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth as Barbara. She reprised her role as Darla in 2000 for the Buffy spin-off series Angel appearing in every season of the show for at least one episode. She plays the lead female Sarah in Rambo and plays Angela Donatelli in the Punisher sequel The Punisher: War Zone. She was previously married to actor John Kassir. The date of the divorce is unknown but presumably late 2007/early 2008.
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