Actress Elisabeth Moss wasted no time getting her career off the ground. Starting as a child actor, Moss graduated high school two years early. As a result of her unusually mature work ethic, Moss was rarely without a job. After working steadily in film and television for years, Moss landed her big break in 1999 when she was cast as Martin Sheen's daughter on "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006). Moving from her supporting berth at the White House, Moss took on an even more high-profile role as 1960s-era secretary-turned-copywriter Peggy Olson on "Mad Men" (AMC, 2007-15), the critically acclaimed drama from "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) writer-producer, Matthew Weiner. As that series continued, Peggy became one of its most important characters as a foil to and protégé of conflicted adman Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Even before "Mad Men" ended in 2015, Moss went on to strong work as the lead of Jane Campion's murder mystery "Top of the Lake" (Sundance 2013) and its sequel "Top of the Lake: China Girl" (Sundance 2017) before starring as Offred in the Emmy Award-winning drama "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu 2017- ). Poised and talented, Moss seemed ready for any acting challenge on the big or small screen.
Born in Los Angeles, CA on July 24, 1982, Elisabeth Moss gravitated toward acting from an early age. Inspired to pursue an acting career at by her screen idol, Bette Davis, Moss made her acting debut at age six with a small role in "Lucky/Chances" (CBS, 1990), a miniseries based on the novel by Jackie Collins. Starting out as a voice actor in animation, Moss gradually moved to performing in front of the cameras. A small role in the Hulk Hogan family comedy "Suburban Commando" (1991) led the 13-year-old Moss to a recurring stint on David E. Kelley's quirky suburban drama "Picket Fences" (CBS, 1992-96).
Moss' true big break, however, arrived three years later when she was cast as First Daughter Zoey Bartlet in the Emmy Award-winning "The West Wing." As the youngest daughter of U.S. President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen), Zoey provided the somber political drama with a much-needed shot of adolescent angst. A hopeless romantic by nature, Zoey's heart often led her into problematic situations, as it did during the first season when she fell for Charlie Young, one of her father's chief advisors. In fact, Zoey and Charlie's clandestine relationship would continue off-and-on for the life of the series.
On the big screen, Moss turned in a smart performance as Polly Clark, one of the inmates at an all-female mental institution in "Girl, Interrupted" (1999). After years of being a reliable supporting player in films, Moss got her chance to shine in her first leading role in the indie feature "Virgin" (2003). The story of a young woman who believes she has been subject to an immaculate conception, "Virgin" stirred some mild controversy from within the Roman Catholic Church, but the brouhaha soon faded. Moss returned to television as a regular on the short-lived aliens-among-us drama "Invasion" (ABC, 2005-06).
After that show's premature demise, Moss returned to series work with a regular role on "Mad Men" (AMC, 2007-15), a drama set in a 1960s-era Madison Avenue advertising agency that depicted the time period's chauvinistic social mores and period detail in exquisite fashion. She played Peggy Olson, a young but not-so-naïve secretary who works the desk for the agency's darkly complicated creative director (Jon Hamm) and eventually moves up to copywriter despite confronting roadblocks in the form of routine sexism from her male coworkers. The show was a huge critical success, earning numerous accolades and awards, while Moss received an Emmy Award nod in 2009 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, as well as sharing in consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Ensemble. On the big screen, Moss played Sarah Jessica Parker's assistant in the flop "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" (2009), but drew more attention playing Jonah Hill's sexually adventurous doctor girlfriend in "Get Him to the Greek" (2010).
After co-starring in Lawrence Kasdan's "Darling Companion" (2012) and the Jack Kerouac adaptation "On the Road" (2012), Moss landed the lead role in Jane Campion's New Zealand-set murder mystery "Top of the Lake" (Sundance 2017). Moss landed her first starring roles on the big screen in indie comedy-drama "Listen Up Philip" (2014) and science fiction thriller "The One I Love" (2014). After "Mad Men" ended in 2015, Moss starred in psychological thriller "Queen of Earth" (2015) and drama "The Free World" (2016) and appeared in ensemble dramas "Meadowland" (2015), "Truth" (2015) and "High-Rise" (2015). Co-starring roles opposite David Tennant in British drama "Mad to Be Normal" (2017) and Liev Schreiber in boxing drama "Chuck" (2016) followed before Moss returned to television as Offred, the star of feminist dystopian drama "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu 2017- ), based on the novel by Margaret Atwood. The critically-acclaimed series won the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy Award in 2017, while Moss won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. That same year, Moss returned to an earlier role as Detective Robin Griffin in "Top of the Lake: China Girl" (Sundance 2017).
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Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made her acting debut at the age of six in the NBC miniseries "Lucky Chances"
Made feature debut in the comical "Suburban Commando"
Provided the voice of Michelle in Hanna-Barbera animated feature "Once Upon a Forest"
Played Fairuza Balk's younger sister in the independent feature "Imaginary Crimes"
Portrayed a young Ashley Judd in the CBS miniseries "Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge"
Starred in ABC's remake of the 1974 film "Escape to Witch Mountain"
Played a conservative 12-year-old facing the wrath of a group of lethal liberals in "The Last Supper"
Appeared in "A Thousand Acres" opposite Michelle Pfeiffer
Played first daughter Zoey Bartlet on the American political drama "The West Wing" (NBC)
Had a supporting role as Polly, the burn victim, in "Girl, Interrupted" co-starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie
Made New York stage debut in the title role of Richard Nelson's "Franny's Way"
Gave a lauded performance in the indie drama "Virgin"
Played Christina on the drama series "Invasion" (ABC)
Had Breakthrough TV role as secretary-turned-copywriter Peggy Olson on the AMC drama series "Mad Men"
Cast in the pivotal role of Karen in the revival of David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow"
Co-starred with Jonah Hill and Russell Brand in "Get Him to the Greek"
Made her West End debut in the revival of Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour"
Nominated for the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Drama Series
Cast opposite Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, and Kristen Stewart in feature adaptation of "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac
Starred on "Top of the Lake"
Played June/Offred on Hulu's literary adaptation "The Handmaid's Tale"
Appeared in Jordan Peele's "Us"