Elisabeth Moss

Active - 1991 - 2021  |   Born - Jul 24, 1982 in Los Angeles, California, United States  |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

A talented actress, Elisabeth Moss may be best known to television viewers for her work on Mad Men, though thoughtful characterizations in such features as Girl, Interrupted and Imaginary Crimes have been a testament to an actress not afraid to court more challenging and emotionally demanding roles unusual for an actress of her age.

Born to music manager and a mother who specialized in the blues harp in 1983, Moss spent her childhood in Los Angeles and was inspired to pursue acting at an early age by screen idol Bette Davis. Working with some of the most respected actors in the industry by the age of 16, Moss made her acting debut at the age of seven in the television miniseries Lucky Chances. Continuing through the mid-'90s with numerous television roles (including a stint on the popular series Picket Fences), Moss' early film roles range from both lightly comical (Suburban Commando [1991]) to increasingly dramatic (Imaginary Crimes [1994]). A humorous bit-part as a conservative 12-year-old facing the wrath of a group of lethal liberals in 1995's The Last Supper dropped a dollop of humor in the mix before Moss returned to more dramatic roles in Separate Lives (1995) and A Thousand Acres (1997), and the talented young actress continued her winning streak with roles in such diverse films as The Joy Riders and Mumford (both 1999). The year before the new millennium proved to be a successful period for Moss as she gained wide recognition for her roles in television's The West Wing and as a sympathetic, mentally disturbed teen in the psychological drama Girl, Interrupted. Moss' personal connection with her Girl, Interrupted persona's inability to relate to others brought a warmth to the role that shined through the screen. Touching audience's sympathies and drawing them into her personal destruction, the talented actress lent the film a performance worthy of praise and recognition. An avid reader in her free time, Moss fancies Shakespearian fare and finds motivation in roles that inspire her and challenge her to be the things that she might not be in real life.

She worked steadily in projects like West of Hare, Virgin, and Bittersweet Place, but she had her greatest success so far in 2007 when she was cast as Peggy Olson on the award-winning drama series Mad Men garnering multiple Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations for her work on the program. She parlayed her small-screen success into roles in the comedy Get Him to the Greek, and the long-awaited adaptation of On the Road. She was married to Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen for less than two years.

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  • Wanted to be a ballerina and studied at the School of American Ballet in New York and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
  • Landed her first TV role in 1990, appearing in the miniseries Jackie Collins' Lucky/Chances.
  • Garnered critical acclaim for her portrayal of emotionally troubled teen Polly "Torch" Clark in the 1999 drama Girl, Interrupted.
  • Played the recurring role of President Bartlet's daughter, Zoey, for seven seasons on NBC's The West Wing.
  • Made her Broadway debut in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow in 2008, opposite Jeremy Piven.