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1. None of the TV Liars looks anything like the character descriptions in Shepard’s book. In the book world, Aria has black hair and blue eyes, Spencer has dirty blonde hair and green eyes, Hanna has auburn hair and brown eyes, and Emily is a strawberry blonde with green eyes.
2. Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, and Janel Parrish have all had bit parts on The O.C.
3. Troian Bellisario, who plays uptight, high-achieving Spencer, was actually valedictorian of her high school class.
4. Aria’s parents might have looked very different: Alexis Denisoff, who starred as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was originally slated to play Byron but the part was given to Chad Lowe before the pilot was shot. And Jean Louisa Kelly was first cast as Ella before the role was passed on to Holly Marie Combs.
5. Pretty Little Liars’ January 2014 season debut was the most tweeted season premiere in history; more than 30,000 tweets per minute were tweeted during the show.
6. Sasha Pieterse, who plays Alison, originally auditioned to play Hanna. She was just 13 at the time.
7. Ashley Benson (Hanna) was the one who suggested the show’s theme song “Secret” by The Pierces. “It’s just so spooky and eerie, and it’s perfect for the show,” she said.
8. Aria has cheated on every boyfriend she’s had on the show.
9. Ashley Tisdale was originally slated to star in the series, but she turned it down to star in Hellcats, a short-lived Kevin Murphy show about competitive cheerleading.
10. PLL Is peppered with Hitchcock references — Rosewood’s coffeeshop is called Rear Window Brews, and the Season 1 finale of the show — a struggle in the church tower — paid homage to Hitchcock’s Vertigo pretty directly.
11. Aria’s boyfriend (and sometimes English teacher) Ezra Fitz’s name is likely a reference to Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The character supposedly is related to F. Scott Fitzgerald and dropped the end of his name to separate himself from his mother—and the author.
12. Pretty Little Liars uses some parts of the same set that the Gilmore Girls used. So basically Stars Hollow = Rosewood.
13. Alison’s last name — DiLaurentis — is an anagram of the phrase “Liars united.”
14. Rosewood, Pennsylvania, where PLL takes place, isn’t actually a real town — it’s based on Rosemont, Pennsylvania, an affluent suburb near Philadelphia.
15. Chad Lowe, who plays Aria’s dad, Byron Montgomery, was once married to Hilary Swank. She famously forgot to thank him when she was accepting her Best Actress Academy Award for Million Dollar Baby. They divorced in 2007.
16. Keegan Allen, who plays Spencer’s boyfriend Toby Cavanaugh, originally auditioned for the part of mysterious British doctor guy Wren Kingston. Oh! And Wren Kingston’s original last name was Kim.
17. Chad Lowe got his start in TV on the ground-breaking show Life Goes On, which chronicled a family with a kid with Down Syndrome.
18. Ashley Benson’s first job was in a Domino’s Pizza commercial.
19. Brant Doherty auditioned for both Ezra Fitz and Toby Cavanaugh before finally being cast as Noel Kahn.
20. Bianca Lawson, who played Emily’s girlfriend Maya in the first two seasons of the show, has been playing a 16-year-old for the past 20 years. She got her start playing a teenager on My So-Called Life in 1994.
21. In the books, Emily’s bisexual, not a lesbian.
22. Bellisario is also a filmmaker: In 2013, she produced the short film Exiles, which she starred in with fellow PLL cast member Shane Coffee.
23. Troian Bellisario’s father Donald created the TV shows Quantum Leap, JAG, and NCIS, and she got her start acting on Quantum Leap.
24. At 28, Troian Bellisario is actually the oldest Liar. She’s actually older than Ian Harding, who’s 27, and plays Ezra Fitz.
25. Betty Buckley, who plays Hannah’s sassy southern grandma Regina, is the sister of Pretty Little Liars director Norman Buckley.
26. The song playing during Alison’s funeral during the first episode of PLL? “Begin Again,” by Measure.
27. Ian Harding (Ezra) and Julian Morris (Wren) are DJs.
28. In addition to being an actor, Keegan Allen’s also a photographer. He’s got a book of his photos, titled life.love.beauty coming out in February 2015.
29. Spencer and Toby were ‘shipped up by the show’s producers after they noticed how well Troian Bellisario and Keegan Allen got along.
30. Ironically, Emily Fields’ nickname is Killer.
31. Lucy Hale’s first television appearance was on the reality singing competition show American Juniors in 2003. She finished in the top five and formed a quintet with the other winners. That led to television appearances and acting gigs with Drake and Josh and Wizards of Waverly Place.
32. Hale is also a fashion designer: She designed a limited edition collection for Hollister “inspired by California.”
33. Shay Mitchell’s real first name is Shannon.
34. Lucy Hale had a major crush on a co-star. She told MTV that when the show first started she was crushing hard on someone in the show. “I’m very focused on what I do and very independent, she said, “But there was this certain guy that I was acting like an idiot around. I was fumbling over my words, I was stuttering, I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t look him in the eye. I was just crushing so hard on him.” Hale’s Song “Lie a Little Better” is about said crush. Hale pulled the ultimate Taylor Swift here and wrote a song about her castmate crush.
35. Ashley Benson is the on-set prankster. Shay Mitchell told SmallScreenScoop that Ashley pulls all the pranks. During season 1 she went around secretly putting clothespins on the crew members.
36. Emily’s first girlfriend Maya is Beyoncé’s stepsister. Tina Knowles married Richard Lawson, meaning that Bianca Lawson is now family with the Queen Bey herself (and Solange).
37. Whereas Lucy Hale auditioned for Hanna Marin, Shay Mitchell and Janel Parrish originally auditioned for the role of Spencer Hastings.
38. Lucy Hale hates her finger in the intro. She tweeted, “Hey has anyone noticed how my finger isn’t centered when I am “shhing” the camera in the intro? Yeah, it annoys me too.”
39. Troian Bellisario (Spencer Hastings) admitted she suffered from an eating disorder as a teenager.
40. Tammin Sursok (who plays Jenna Marshall) was born in South Africa (as did Sasha Pieterse) and grew up in Australia.
41. Ian Harding (Ezra Fitz) has been helping to raise funds and awareness for lupus research with the Lupus Foundation of America. His mother has been living with lupus for more than 20 years, since he was seven years old.
42. Before playing Hanna Marin, Ashley Benson spent three years on “Days Of Our Lives” as Abby Deveraux, daughter of Jennifer Horton and Jack Deveraux. You might also recognize Ashley Benson from “Bring It On: In It To Win It,” “Zoey 101,” “CSI: Miami,” “The O.C.” and “Supernatural.” She even appeared in a Lil Romeo music video in 2002!
43. Torrey DeVitto (Melissa Hastings) is a violinist.
44. Lucy Hale was home schooled.
45. Janel Parrish starred as Jade in “Bratz: The Movie” in 2007. She was fated to play the ever-stylish, ever-bratty Mona Vanderwaal!