Hayden Leslie Panettiere (pronounced /ˌpænɨtiˈɛər/; born August 21, 1989) is an American actress and singer, best known as cheerleader Claire Bennet on the NBC television series Heroes. She began her acting career by playing Sarah Roberts on One Life to Live (1994–1997), and Lizzie Spaulding on Guiding Light (1996–2000), before starring at age 10 as Sheryl Yoast in the Disney feature film Remember the Titans, and then achieved wider fame on Heroes. She also had a leading role as Kirby Reed in the 2011 horror film Scream 4.
Panettiere was born in and partly raised in Palisades, New York, the daughter of Lesley R. Vogel, a former soap opera actress, and Alan L. "Skip" Panettiere, a fire department lieutenant. Panettiere is of Italian descent, her surname meaning "baker" in Italian. She has one younger brother, fellow actor Jansen Panettiere.
Although Panettiere attended South Orangetown Middle School in New York, she was homeschooled from grade nine to the completion of high school. For now, Panettiere is postponing higher education in favor of an acting career.
Panettiere first appeared in commercials at 11 months, beginning with an advertisement for Playskool.