Elisabeth Moss

For the photographer, see Elizabeth Moss.
Elisabeth Moss

At the Paley Center, 2014
Born Elisabeth Singleton Moss
(1982-07-24) July 24, 1982
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Fred Armisen
(m. 2009; div. 2011)

Elisabeth Singleton Moss[1] (born July 24, 1982)[2] is an American film, stage, and television actor. She is known for her roles as Zoey Bartlet, the youngest daughter of President Josiah Bartlet, on the NBC television series The West Wing (1999–2006); Peggy Olson, secretary-turned-copywriter on the AMC series, Mad Men (2007–2015), which earned her six Emmy Awards nominations and one Golden Globe nomination; and Det. Robin Griffin in the BBC miniseries Top of the Lake (2013), the last of which won her a Golden Globe and Satellite Awards for Best Actress in a Miniseries and/or TV film.

Early life

Elisabeth Moss was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Ron and Linda Moss, both of whom were musicians.[3] Moss has one younger brother.[4] She was raised a Scientologist.[5]

Moss had initially had aspirations of being a professional dancer.[4] In her adolescence, she traveled to New York City to study ballet at the School of American Ballet, after which she studied with Suzanne Farrell at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.[3] Moss continuted to study dance throughout her teenage years, but began obtaining acting roles as well. In order to manage her education and career, she began homeschooling, and graduated in 1999 at age sixteen.[3]


1991–2004: Early work

Moss's first screen role was in 1990, when she appeared in the NBC miniseries Lucky/Chances.[6] From 1992 until 1995, Moss appeared as Cynthia Parks in seven episodes of the TV series Picket Fences.[6] She provided the voice of Holly DeCarlo, a main character in the TV special Frosty Returns (1992) and of Michelle in the animated film Once Upon a Forest (1993). She appeared in the television remake of the 1993 film Gypsy and played Harvey Keitel's younger daughter in the film Imaginary Crimes (1994). The following year, she appeared in the remake of the Walt Disney Pictures film Escape to Witch Mountain (1995) and played a young Ashley Judd in the TV-movie biopic Love Can Build A Bridge (1995).[6] She also had a supporting role in the drama Separate Lives (1995) opposite Jim Belushi and Linda Hamilton, and a minor part in the black comedy The Last Supper (1995).[7] Moss would again provide voice work for the animated series Freakazoid! and the television film It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown! (1996).

Beginning 1999, Moss portrayed the recurring role of Zoey Bartlet in the White House television drama The West Wing, playing the daughter of Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing; she would portray the character until the series finale in 2006.[6] Moss's character became integral to the fourth season of the show; in a retrospective on the series, The Atlantic noted: "Aaron Sorkin made [Moss] the centerpiece of the explosive fourth-season finale where he basically engineered the most insane cliffhanger possible. It required Zoey to be a bit of a pain with her fancy French boyfriend, but Moss always made her relatable, even when the plot required otherwise."[8]

In 1999, she had a supporting role as a patient in a mental institution in James Mangold's Girl, Interrupted, opposite Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie,[6] and a minor part in the drama Anywhere But Here. That same year, she had a small role as Katie Brockett in the movie Mumford (1999), playing the daughter of a woman with a shopping addiction.

Moss went on to do Heart of America and three other films in 2004. That year, she also made the movie Virgin,[6] for which she was nominated for a 2004 Independent Spirit Award. Moss also had a supporting part in Ron Howard's Western thriller The Missing (2003).[9]

Moss at the Satellite Awards, 2007.

2005–2014: Mad Men and other roles

Moss had a supporting role in the 2005–2006 horror series Invasion,[6] and appeared in television again on an a 2007 episode of Grey's Anatomy entitled "My Favorite Mistake,"[10] and on the series Medium opposite Patricia Arquette. She also appeared in Mary Lambert's 2007 horror film The Attic, and the independent drama Day Zero (2007).

In 2007, she was cast as Peggy Olson, secretary-turned-copywriter in the AMC dramatic series Mad Men. Between 2009 and the series' final season in 2015, Moss was nominated for five Emmy awards for the role[11] for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.[12][13] In 2010, she was nominated for the Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy.[14] Reflecting on her casting in the series, Moss recalled: "I auditioned [for the role]. There were scripts for two pilots that everyone were talking about at the time that were really good, and Mad Men was one of them."[15]

While a series regular on Mad Men, Moss made her Broadway debut in October 2008, playing the role of Karen in the 20th Anniversary revival of Speed-the-Plow by David Mamet.[16] She then appeared in the comedy film Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009), playing Sarah Jessica Parker's assistant,[17] followed by a part in the comedy Get Him to the Greek (2010) opposite Jonah Hill.

Moss's West End debut was as Martha Dobie in Lillian Hellman's play The Children's Hour, which opened at The Comedy Theatre, London on January 22, 2011.[18] In 2012, she was cast as Galatea Dunkel in the independent drama On the Road, based on the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name.[7]

Moss played detective Robin Griffin in the 2013 Sundance Channel miniseries Top of the Lake, a co-production by the Sundance Channel, the UK's BBC Two and Australia's UKTV, written and directed by Oscar-winner Jane Campion.[19][20] For her role, Moss received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Miniseries or Television Film. The following year, Moss starred in the independent film Listen Up Philip (2014), her first collaboration with writer-director Alex Ross Perry.[7]

2015–present: Film and stage

In September 2014 it was announced that Moss would star on Broadway as Heidi Holland in The Heidi Chronicles.[21] The play opened on March 19, 2015.[22] Though the play received some positive reviews,[22] it closed on May 3, 2015 due to low ticket sales.[23] Moss was nominated for a Tony Award for her role.[24]

After production on Mad Men had wrapped, Moss collaborated again with Alex Ross Perry, starring in Queen of Earth (2015), a psychological thriller opposite Katherine Waterston and Patrick Fugit, in which she plays a mentally unstable woman who unravels at a vacation home in the company of her close friends. She was also cast in a supporting part in the British dystopian drama High-Rise (2015), opposite Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller.[25]

In 2016, Moss appeared in the Chuck Wepner biopic The Bleeder (2016), opposite Liev Schreiber[26] and The Seagull (2016), an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's play of the same name. She is also due to star in Mad to be Normal, a biopic of the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing.[27]

Personal life

After meeting Fred Armisen in October 2008,[28] they became engaged in January 2009,[29] and married on October 25, 2009, in Long Island City, New York.[30] They separated in June 2010,[31] and in September, Moss filed for divorce,[31] which was finalized on May 13, 2011.[32]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 Suburban Commando Little Girl
1993 Once Upon a Forest Michelle Voice role
1993 Recycle Rex (voice) Short film
1994 Imaginary Crimes Greta Weiler
1995 Separate Lives Ronni Beckwith
1995 Last Supper, TheThe Last Supper Jenny Tyler
1997 Thousand Acres, AA Thousand Acres Linda
1998 Angelmaker Little Turcott Short film
1999 The Joyriders Jodi
1999 Mumford Katie Brockett
1999 Anywhere but Here Rachel
1999 Girl, Interrupted Polly 'Torch' Clark
2002 West of Here Cherise
2002 Heart of America Robin Walters
2003 Temptation Wind / Morgan
2003 Virgin Jessie Reynolds
2003 Missing, TheThe Missing Anne
2005 Bittersweet Place Paulie Schaffer
2007 Attic, TheThe Attic Emma Callan Direct-to-DVD
2007 They Never Found Her Anna Short film
2007 Day Zero Patricia
2007 Honored Katie Short film
2008 El camino Lily
2008 New Orleans, Mon Amour Hyde
2009 Did You Hear About the Morgans? Jackie Drake
2010 Buddy Story, AA Buddy Story Susan
2010 Get Him to the Greek Daphne Binks
2011 Green Lantern: Emerald Knights Arisia Rrab Voice role; Direct-to-DVD
2012 Smoking/Non-Smoking Diana Whelan
2012 Darling Companion Grace Winter
2012 On the Road Galatea Dunkel
2014 Listen Up Philip Ashley
2014 The One I Love Sophie
2015 Queen of Earth Catherine
2015 Meadowland Shannon
2015 Truth Lucy Scott
2015 High-Rise Helen Wilder
2016 The Free World Doris Lamb
2016 The Bleeder Phyllis Wepner
2017 The Seagull Masha


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Bar Girls Robin Television film
1990 Lucky Chances Lucky - Age 6
1991 Anything but Love Episode: "A Tale of Two Kiddies"
1992 Midnight's Child Christina Television film
1992 Frosty Returns Holly (voice) Television short
1992–1995 Picket Fences Cynthia Parks 7 episodes
1993 Batman: The Animated Series Kimmy Ventrix (voice) Episode: "See No Evil"
1993 Johnny Bago Agnes Episode: "Hail the Conquering Marrow"
1993 Animaniacs Katrina (voice) Episode: "O Silly Mio/Puttin' on the Blitz/The Great Wakkorotti"
1993 Gypsy Baby Louise Television film
1995 Escape to Witch Mountain Anna Television film
1995 Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge Early Teen Ashley Judd Television film
1995 Freakazoid! Kathy / Additional Voices Episode: "Candle Jack/Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet/The Lobe"
1996 It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown Girl Player (voice) Television short
1999 Earthly Possessions Mindy Television film
1999–2006 West Wing, TheThe West Wing Zoey Bartlet 25 episodes
2001 Spirit Kelly Television film
2003 Practice, TheThe Practice Jessica Palmer Episode: "Rape Shield"
2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury Katie Nevins Episode: "Baby Boom"
2005–2006 Invasion Christina 5 episodes
2006 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Rebecca Colemar Episode: "The Good"
2007 Grey's Anatomy Nina Rogerson Episode: "My Favorite Mistake"
2007 Medium Haley Heffernan / Jennie Episode: "No One to Watch Over Me"
2007 Ghost Whisperer Nikki Drake Episode: "Unhappy Medium"
2007–2015 Mad Men Peggy Olson 88 episodes
2008 Fear Itself Danny Bannerman Episode: "Eater"
2008 Saturday Night Live Peggy Olson Uncredited
Episode: "Jon Hamm/Coldplay"
2009 Mercy Lucy Morton Episode: "The Last Thing I Said Was"
2013–present Top of the Lake Robin Griffin 11 episodes
2013 The Simpsons Gretchen (voice) Episode: "Labor Pains"
2017 The Handmaid's Tale Offred


Year Title Role Venue
2008 Speed-the-Plow Karen Ethel Barrymore Theatre
2011 The Children's Hour Martha Dobie The Comedy Theatre
2015 The Heidi Chronicles Heidi Holland Music Box Theatre

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Production Result
2001 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress The West Wing Nominated
2004 Director's Choice Award Best Actress Virgin Won
Independent Spirit Award Best Female Lead Nominated
2008 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Mad Men Nominated
2009 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
Satellite Award Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2010 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
Golden Nymph Outstanding Actress - Drama Series Nominated
2011 Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
PRISM Award Performance in a Drama Series Episode Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Drama Actress Nominated
2012 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Drama Actress Nominated
2013 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Drama Actress Nominated
Best Movie/Miniseries Actress Top of the Lake Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Mad Men Nominated
Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Top of the Lake Nominated
2014 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Won
Satellite Award Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Nominated
Equity Ensemble Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Miniseries or Telemovie Won
2015 Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Play The Heidi Chronicles Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Mad Men Nominated


  1. According to "California Birth Index, 1905–1995: Elisabeth Moss". State of California Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California.
  2. "Elisabeth Moss". TVGuide.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 "Elisabeth Moss (1982–)". Biography Channel. A&E Networks. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  4. 1 2 LaPorte, Nicole (March 21, 2012). "Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss: 'I've learnt a lot about trusting people'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  5. Shone, Tom (March 12, 2016). "'I don't take acting that seriously. I'm a Valley girl': Elisabeth Moss on life after Mad Men". The Guardian. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Elisabeth Moss- Biography". Movies. Yahoo. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 "Elisabeth Moss Filmography". Fandango. Rovi. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  8. Reid, Joe; David Sims, and Kevin O'Keeffe (September 12, 2014). "A Definitive Ranking of Every Character on The West Wing". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  9. Keeps, David A. (July 13, 2013). "Elisabeth Moss: I don't ever want to feel I've made it". Radio Times. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  10. "My Favorite Mistake". TV.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  11. "Elisabeth Moss Emmy Nominated". Emmys.com. May 17, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  12. "Emmy nominations". Emmys. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  13. "Nominations Released for Prime-Time Emmys" July 14, 2011, The New York Times
  14. "2010 Primetime Emmy Nominations".
  15. "Conversations with Elisabeth Moss". SAG-AFTRA Foundation. May 27, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  16. "Elisabeth Moss Joins 'Speed-The-Plow' Cast 2008/07/22". Broadway World. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  17. Scheck, Frank. (TV channel)|y "Did You Hear About the Morgans? – Film Review", The Hollywood Reporter, December 15, 2009
  18. "Children's Hour". Ambassadortickets. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  19. "Mad Woman, Bad Girl". New York Post. March 8, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  20. "Sundance Channel". SundanceChannel.com. August 13, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  21. Michael Gioia. "Elisabeth Moss, Bryce Pinkham, Jason Biggs Set for Broadway Revival of Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles".
  22. 1 2 Isherwood, Charles (March 19, 2015). "Review: 'The Heidi Chronicles,' With Elisabeth Moss, Opens on Broadway". The New York Times.
  23. "'The Heidi Chronicles' with Elisabeth Moss closes early". Crain's New York Business. Associated Press. April 22, 2015.
  24. Schulte-Hillen, Sophie (June 8, 2015). "Getting Ready for the Tonys With Elisabeth Moss". Vogue.
  25. Barraclough, Leo. "Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss Join Ben Wheatley's 'High-Rise'". Variety. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  26. Hipes, Patrick (October 22, 2015). "Elisabeth Moss Joins 'The Bleeder's Corner With Schreiber & Watts". deadline.com. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  27. "Current Features - Mad to be Normal". www.gizmofilms.com. Gizmo Films. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  28. Barnes, Brooks (June 5, 2009). "She's Nothing Like Peggy, or Is She?". The New York Times.
  29. "Mad Men Actress and SNL Star Are Engaged". People. January 23, 2009.
  30. "Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss Marries SNL's Fred Armisen". People. October 26, 2009.
  31. 1 2 Oh, Eunice (September 20, 2010). "Elisabeth Moss Files for Divorce from Fred Armisen". People. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  32. "Elisabeth Moss, Fred Armisen divorce official". MSNBC. May 19, 2011.
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