Hilary Duff first made a name for herself on the enormously successful Disney Channel/ABC Kids show Lizzie McGuire, which she parlayed into dual careers as a pop singer and film actress. Like most overnight successes, however, she paid her dues for several years before her big break. Appearances in the 1997 western True Women, 1998's Casper (as the Friendly Ghost's human friend Wendy), and 1999's The Soul Collector paved the way for her best-known role. Lizzie McGuire, which chronicled the ups and downs of a junior high schooler's life using live-action and animated clips, debuted in 2001 and quickly became a hit with the preteen set. Aside from the show's unique format, one of the main reasons for its success was Duff herself. As Lizzie, she was pretty, funny, and smart, but not intimidatingly so; she had two best friends, Gordo and Miranda, so she wasn't super-popular or an outcast; and she was confident enough to blaze her own trail, but still vulnerable enough to have crushes on unattainable boys.