Kristen Noel Swanson (born December 19, 1969) is an American actress, best known for her portrayal of Buffy Summers in the 1992 cult film Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 cult film The Phantom. Her first starring role was in Wes Craven's horror film Deadly Friend (1986), followed by her portrayal of Catherine "Cathy" Dollanganger in the film adaptation of V.C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic (1987). Swanson starred also in several teen films, including Pretty in Pink (1986), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), Hot Shots! (1991), The Program (1993), The Chase (1994), 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997), Big Daddy (1999) and Dude, Where's My Car? (2000).