Two weeks later, she auditioned for a part in the television film An Invasion of Privacy, with Valerie Harper, Carol Kane and Jeff Daniels.At the audition, Gellar read both her own lines and those of Harper, impressing the directors enough to cast her in the role.
Her television breakthrough came in 1993, when she originated the role of Kendall Hart on the ABC daytime soap opera All My Children, winning the 1995 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series.
Gellar received widespread recognition for her portrayal of Buffy Summers on the WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), which earned her five Teen Choice Awards, a Saturn Award and a Golden Globe Award nomination. Gellar also gained significant attention for her appearances in the slasher movies I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) and Scream 2 (1997), and for her portrayal of Kathryn Merteuil in Cruel Intentions (1999).
She subsequently appeared in numerous smaller scale films, such as The Return (2006) and Southland Tales (2007), and provided her voice for TMNT (2007).
Her later film credits include The Air I Breathe (2008), Possession (2009) and Veronika Decides to Die (2009).
The character was widely popular during the airing of the show and became recognized as one of the greatest female characters in U. She appeared as Daphne Blake in Scooby-Doo (2002), her biggest live action commercial success.