Hayden Leslie Panettiere is an American actress and singer. She came to professional prominence at the age of eleven with her portrayal of Sheryl Yoast in Disney's Remember the Titans, although for half of her life immediately before that, Panettiere had held roles in each of two soap operas. She portrayed Sarah Roberts on One Life to Live from 1994-1997, and Lizzie Spaulding on Guiding Light from 1996-2000. Panettiere reached a wider audience with her starring role as Claire Bennet on the 2006 NBC television series Heroes.
Panettiere was born and partly raised in Palisades, Rockland County, New York, the daughter of Lesley R. Vogel, a former soap opera actress, and Alan L. "Skip" Panettiere, a fire department lieutenant. Panettiere, whose surname means "baker" in Italian, is of Italian descent. She has one younger brother, fellow actor Jansen Panettiere.
Although Panettiere attended South Orangetown Middle School in New York, she was educated at home from the 8th grade through high school. For now, Panettiere is postponing higher education in favor of an acting career.
Panettiere began modeling when she was four months old. She first appeared in commercials at 11 months, beginning with an advertisement for Playskool. She landed a role as Sarah Roberts on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live (1994-1997), and she followed that up by playing the part of Lizzie Spaulding on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light (1997-2000). While on Guiding Light, Panettiere's character Lizzie battled leukemia. For drawing the attention of daytime viewers to the disease, and for improving national awareness, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society gave her its Special Recognition Award.
Panettiere appears as Claire Bennet in the NBC series Heroes as a high school cheerleader with regenerative healing powers. Thanks to her role on Heroes, she became a regular on the science fiction convention circuit, invited to attend conventions around the world in 2007, including GenCon, New York Comic-Con, and Fan Expo Canada. Panettiere has complained that her acting options are sometimes limited because "people look at [her] as either the 'popular cheerleader' type or just 'the blonde'."
She has appeared in over a dozen full-length feature films, several made-for-TV movies and provided the voice for Dot in A Bug's Life. She played the role of Coach Yoast's daughter, Sheryl, in the 2000 Disney film Remember The Titans. In addition, she voiced Kairi in the Kingdom Hearts series of video games for the PlayStation 2. Panettiere appeared on Fox's Ally McBeal as Ally McBeal's daughter, and had a recurring guest role on Malcolm in the Middle and guest starred in Law & Order: SVU. She starred in Bring It On: All or Nothing as a cheerleader and had a supporting role as Adelaide Bourbon in the recently released independent film Shanghai Kiss. She appeared in the Disney Channel film Tiger Cruise, playing the main role of a Navy brat, in Raising Helen, as the adolescent niece and in Ice Princess, as a popular student and rival skater.
She appeared in the drama film Fireflies in the Garden as a younger version of Emily Watson's character, Jane Lawrence. In June 2007, she signed with the William Morris Agency, after previously being represented by United Talent Agency. Forbes estimated that she earned $2 million in 2007.
In early 2007, Panettiere appeared on the syndicated Ashton Kutcher-produced show, Punk'd. The appearance was engineered by her mother and involved a male "fan" discussing her work with her, instigating a jealous reaction from the man's spouse. In December 2007 Panettiere was named GQ Magazine's Obsession Of the Year.
In September 2008, Panettiere appeared in a satirical video, a mock-PSA (public service announcement) on funnyordie.com entitled "Hayden Panettiere PSA: Your Vote, Your Choice". Again, in October, Panettiere appeared in another satirical PSA video on funnyordie.com entitled "Vote for McCain: He's just like George Bush, except older and with a worse temper".
In July 2009, Panettiere starred in the teen comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper. She is listed as a star in the provisional cast of a teenage comedy still in development, Daydream Nation, to be written and directed by Michael Goldbach.
Panettiere was nominated for a Grammy in 1999 for A Bug's Life Read-Along (2000). She recorded a song called "My Hero Is You" with a video for the Disney Channel movie she starred in, Tiger Cruise. She recorded a song titled "I Fly" for the Disney movie Ice Princess in which she co-starred. She recorded a song for the compilation Girlnext and another song for Girlnext 2. She also recorded a cover for DisneyMania 5. She recorded a song titled "Try" for the 2007 Bridge to Terabithia soundtrack and a ballad called "I Still Believe" for Cinderella III: A Twist in Time.
Panettiere's first single, "Wake Up Call", was digitally released on August 5 with Candie's premiering an ad campaign for the single in late July. Candie's will also provide additional promotion for the single with a television advertisement and a music video.
In late 2006, Neutrogena made Panettiere the cover girl for their new worldwide ad campaign; following in the footsteps of actresses Kristin Kreuk, Josie Bissett, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mandy Moore, Mischa Barton, Gabrielle Union and Jennifer Freeman.
In September 2007, Panettiere appeared in a Heroes-themed Got Milk? ad photographed by Annie Leibovitz.
In February 2008, Kohl's announced that Panettiere would be their next Candie's spokesperson. She will be following the likes of Fergie, Hilary Duff, and Kelly Clarkson.
In 2006, Panettiere began dating Stephen Colletti, the former Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, star. The couple broke up in September 2007. In December 2007, it was widely reported that she was dating her Heroes co-star Milo Ventimiglia, though Panettiere denied these reports in an interview with GQ.
These reports continued through the early part of 2008, and several sources had reported that she asked Ventimiglia to move in with her. In April 2008, during an interview on the BBC's The Chris Moyles Show to promote the second season of Heroes, Ventimiglia confirmed that he was dating Panettiere. They ended their relationship in February 2009.
Hayden has a tattoo of the Italian words Vivere senza rimipianti running down the length of her left flank. The word rimpianti is misspelled in what otherwise would have meant "To Live Without Regrets."