Elisabeth Singleton Moss
July 24, 1982
(m. 2009; div. 2011)
Elisabeth Singleton Moss (born July 24, 1982) is an American actor, producer and director. Dubbed the "Queen of Peak TV" by Vulture, she has received numerous accolades, including three Critics' Choice Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Moss began acting in the early 1990s and first gained recognition for playing Zoey Bartlet, the youngest daughter of President Josiah Bartlet, in the NBC political drama series The West Wing (1999–2006). She earned wider recognition for playing Peggy Olson, a secretary-turned-copywriter, in the AMC period drama series Mad Men (2007–2015), and subsequently won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film for portraying Detective Robin Griffin in the BBC miniseries Top of the Lake (2013). For producing and starring as June Osborne in the Hulu dystopian drama series The Handmaid's Tale (2017–present), Moss won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Drama Series, among other accolades.
In film, Moss had supporting roles in Girl, Interrupted (1999), Get Him to the Greek (2010), and Us (2019); and starring roles in The One I Love (2014), The Square (2017), and The Invisible Man (2020). She has also starred in three films by Alex Ross Perry, including Her Smell (2018). In theater, Moss had roles in the Broadway productions of David Mamet's Speed the Plow and Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles. For the latter, she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. She has also appeared in the West End production of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour.
Moss was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Ronald Charles Moss and Linda Ekstrom Moss, both of whom were musicians; her mother plays jazz and blues harmonica professionally. Moss has one younger brother. She was raised a Scientologist. Her father is English. Her mother is of part Swedish descent.
Initially, Moss aspired to be a professional dancer. 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. She continued to study dance through her teenage years, but started getting acting roles as well. To manage her education and career, she began homeschooling, and graduated in 1999.
Moss's first screen role was in 1990, when she appeared in the NBC miniseries Lucky/Chances. From 1992 until 1995, she appeared as Cynthia Parks in seven episodes of the TV series Picket Fences. 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). 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). She did more voice work, for the animated series Freakazoid! and the television film It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown! (1996).
Beginning in 1999, Moss played the recurring role of Zoey Bartlet in the White House television drama The West Wing, playing the daughter of President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and First Lady Abbey Bartlet (Stockard Channing); she portrayed the character until the series finale in 2006. Her 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."
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, and a minor part in the drama Anywhere but Here. The same year, she had a small role in the movie Mumford (1999), playing the daughter of a woman with a shopping addiction.
In 2002, Moss appeared in a commercial for Excedrin in which she directly addressed the audience about the medication's benefits for people who suffer from migraines. The spot proved enduringly popular and ran for several years, providing Moss with residual income as she struggled to make it as an actress.
Moss appeared in Heart of America and three other films in 2004. That year, she made the movie Virgin, 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).
Moss had a supporting role in the 2005–2006 horror series Invasion, and appeared in television again on a 2007 episode of Grey's Anatomy entitled "My Favorite Mistake", 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 2006, 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 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In 2010, she was nominated for the Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy. Reflecting on her casting in the series, Moss recalled: "I auditioned [for the role]. There were scripts for two pilots that everyone was talking about at the time that were really good, and Mad Men was one of them."
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. She then briefly appeared in the comedy film Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009), playing Sarah Jessica Parker's assistant, followed by a part in the comedy Get Him to the Greek (2010) opposite Jonah Hill.
In 2011, Moss made her West End debut as Martha Dobie in Lillian Hellman's play The Children's Hour, opposite Keira Knightley. The play opened at The Comedy Theatre, London on January 22, 2011. In 2012, she was cast as Galatea Dunkel in the independent drama On the Road, based on Jack Kerouac's novel of the same name.
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. For her role, Moss received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. In 2014, Moss starred in the independent film Listen Up Philip (2014), her first collaboration with writer-director Alex Ross Perry. She also starred in Charlie McDowell's The One I Love (2014) with Mark Duplass.
In September 2014, it was announced that Moss would star on Broadway as Heidi Holland in The Heidi Chronicles. The play opened on March 19, 2015, at The Music Box Theatre. Though the play received some positive reviews, it closed on May 3, 2015, due to low ticket sales. Moss was nominated for a Tony Award for her role. 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 cast in a supporting part in the British dystopian drama High-Rise (2015), opposite Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller.
Moss appeared in the Chuck Wepner biopic Chuck (2016), opposite Liev Schreiber. In 2017, she appeared in Mad to Be Normal, a biopic of the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, and co-starred in the film adaptation of Anton Chekhov's play The Seagull alongside Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, and Corey Stoll. The second season of Top of the Lake, consisting of six episodes, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2017 which is set in Sydney, Australia. That same year, Moss began playing Offred in the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale, for which she has received critical acclaim and a Primetime Emmy Award for Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
In 2018, Moss reunited with Alex Ross Perry for Her Smell, portraying the role of a fictional rock star whose band breaks up over her self-destructive behavior, and appeared in The Old Man & the Gun, directed by David Lowery. Both films received positive reviews from critics. In 2019, Moss co-starred in Jordan Peele's psychological horror film Us alongside Lupita Nyong'o. The film is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Later that year, she starred in The Kitchen, alongside Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish, which follows three housewives who, after their mobster husbands are sent to prison, continue to operate their business.
In 2020, Moss starred in Shirley, opposite Michael Stuhlbarg and directed by Josephine Decker, portraying the role of author Shirley Jackson, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She also had the starring role in the horror-thriller film The Invisible Man, alongside Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Storm Reid, which was released on February 28, 2020, to critical acclaim. Moss will appear in The French Dispatch, directed by Wes Anderson, and Next Goal Wins, directed by Taika Waititi.
Moss holds both British and American citizenship.
She met Fred Armisen in October 2008, and they became engaged in January 2009, marrying on October 25, 2009, in Long Island City, New York. They separated in June 2010, and in September 2010, Moss filed for divorce, which was finalized on May 13, 2011.
Moss practices Scientology and identifies as a feminist. After a fan questioned whether her role in the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale made her think about her involvement with the Church of Scientology, Moss defended her beliefs on Instagram, writing that the idea that Gilead in the series and Scientology "both believe that all outside sources are wrong or evil", as the fan had described, is "actually not true at all". She continued, "Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me."
|1991||Suburban Commando||Little Girl|
|1993||Once Upon a Forest||Michelle||Voice|
|1993||Recycle Rex||Unknown||Voice; Short film|
|1994||Imaginary Crimes||Greta Weiler|
|1995||Separate Lives||Ronni Beckwith|
|1995||The Last Supper||Jenny Tyler|
|1997||A Thousand Acres||Linda|
|1998||Angelmaker||Little Turcott||Short film|
|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|
|2005||Bittersweet Place||Paulie Schaffer|
|2007||The Attic||Emma Callan|
|2007||They Never Found Her||Anna||Short film|
|2008||New Orleans, Mon Amour||Hyde|
|2009||Did You Hear About the Morgans?||Jackie Drake|
|2010||A Buddy Story||Susan|
|2010||Get Him to the Greek||Daphne Binks|
|2011||Green Lantern: Emerald Knights||Arisia Rrab||Voice|
|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||Also producer|
|2016||The Free World||Doris Lamb|
|2017||Mad to Be Normal||Angie Wood|
|2018||The Old Man & the Gun||Dorothy|
|2018||Her Smell||Becky Something||Also producer|
|2019||Light of My Life||Mom|
|2019||Us||Kitty Tyler / Dahlia|
|2019||The Kitchen||Claire Walsh|
|2020||The Invisible Man||Cecilia Kass|
|2021||The French Dispatch||Alumna|
|TBA||Next Goal Wins||TBA||Post-production|
|1990||Bar Girls||Robin||Television film|
|1990||Lucky Chances||Lucky - Age 6||3 episodes|
|1991||Prison Stories: Women on the Inside||Little Molly||Television film|
|1991||Anything but Love||Unknown||Episode: "A Tale of Two Kiddies"|
|1992||Midnight's Child||Christina||Television film|
|1992||Frosty Returns||Holly DeCarlo||Voice; Television short|
|1992||It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown||Girl Player||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, 2 episodes|
|1993||Gypsy||Baby Louise||Television film|
|1995||Escape to Witch Mountain||Anna||Television film|
|1995||Freakazoid!||Kathy / Additional||Voice; 2 episodes|
|1999||Earthly Possessions||Mindy||Television film|
|1999–2006||The West Wing||Zoey Bartlet||25 episodes|
|2003||The Practice||Jessica Palmer||Episode: "Rape Shield"|
|2005||Law & Order: Trial by Jury||Katie Nevins||Episode: "Baby Boom"|
|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, 2017||Top of the Lake||Robin Griffin||12 episodes|
|2013||The Simpsons||Gretchen||Voice; Episode: "Labor Pains"|
|2017–present||The Handmaid's Tale||June Osborne / Offred / Ofjoseph||46 episodes; also producer and director|
|2020||A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote||Herself||Television special|
|TBA||Shining Girls||Kirby||Also executive producer and director|
|2002||Franny's Way||Young Franny - Age 17||Linda Gross Theater, Off-Broadway|
|2008||Speed-the-Plow||Karen||Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Broadway|
|2011||The Children's Hour||Martha Dobie||The Comedy Theatre, West End|
|2015||The Heidi Chronicles||Heidi Holland||Music Box Theatre, Broadway|
Awards and nominations
Moss earned critical acclaim and numerous accolades for her performances in film and television. She received two Golden Globe Awards from four nominations, two Primetime Emmy Awards from fourteen nominations, two Critics' Choice Television Awards from five nominations, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards from fifteen nominations.
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- Grobar, Matt (January 11, 2021). "Elisabeth Moss Finds "Super Rare" Female Antihero In 'Shirley' & "Incredible" First Go-Round Directing 'The Handmaid's Tale'". Deadline. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
- "Guardian and Observer style guide: G". the Guardian. October 15, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
- "Elisabeth Moss talks directing 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 4: 'This show exists in my bones'". Guide. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
- Yuan, Jada. "Elisabeth Moss Is the Queen of Peak TV". Vulture. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
- "Elisabeth Moss (1982–)". Biography Channel. A&E Networks. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- "Elisabeth Moss is the Queen of Peak TV". April 27, 2017.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hughes, Sarah (May 20, 2017). "Elisabeth Moss: the actress whose very presence is a guarantee of quality - Observer profile". the Guardian.
- West, Rachel (April 17, 2018). "Ancestral History Of Margaret Atwood, Elisabeth Moss Offers Uncanny Parallel To 'The Handmaid's Tale'". etcanada.com.
- "Elisabeth Moss- Biography". Movies. Yahoo. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
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- Reid, Joe; Sims, David; O'Keeffe, Kevin (September 12, 2014). "A Definitive Ranking of Every Character on The West Wing". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
- Lynch, Jason (April 20, 2017). "Elisabeth Moss, Rob Lowe and Other TV Stars Reminisce About Their Most Memorable Ads". Adweek. New York City: Beringer Capital. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
- 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.
- "My Favorite Mistake". TV.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- "Elisabeth Moss Emmy Nominated". Emmys.com. May 17, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- "Emmy nominations". Emmys. Archived from the original on July 18, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
- "Nominations Released for Prime-Time Emmys" July 14, 2011, The New York Times
- "2010 Primetime Emmy Nominations".
- "Conversations with Elisabeth Moss". SAG-AFTRA Foundation. May 27, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
- "Elisabeth Moss Joins 'Speed-The-Plow' Cast 2008/07/22". Broadway World. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
- Scheck, Frank. (TV channel)|y "Did You Hear About the Morgans? – Film Review", The Hollywood Reporter, December 15, 2009
- Benedictus, Leo (February 14, 2011). "What to say about … Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss in The Children's Hour". The Guardian. London, England. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
- Seim, Carrie (March 8, 2012). "Mad Woman, Bad Girl". New York Post. New York City: News Corp. Archived from the original on March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
- "Sundance Channel". SundanceChannel.com. August 13, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- Michael Gioia (September 11, 2014). "Elisabeth Moss, Bryce Pinkham, Jason Biggs Set for Broadway Revival of Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles".
- Isherwood, Charles (March 19, 2015). "Review: 'The Heidi Chronicles,' With Elisabeth Moss, Opens on Broadway". The New York Times.
- "'The Heidi Chronicles' with Elisabeth Moss closes early". Crain's New York Business. Associated Press. April 22, 2015.
- Schulte-Hillen, Sophie (June 8, 2015). "Getting Ready for the Tonys With Elisabeth Moss". Vogue.
- Barraclough, Leo. "Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss Join Ben Wheatley's 'High-Rise'". Variety. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
- Hipes, Patrick (October 22, 2015). "Elisabeth Moss Joins 'The Bleeder's Corner With Schreiber & Watts". deadline.com. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- "Current Features - Mad to be Normal". www.gizmofilms.com. Gizmo Films. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- McNary, Dave (October 24, 2017). "Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening's 'The Seagull' Flies to Sony Classics". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
- Mumford, Gwilym (May 23, 2017). "Top of the Lake: this singular drama is still gloriously weird". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- Mulkerrins, Jane (June 10, 2017). "Elisabeth Moss on The Handmaid's Tale: 'It is a feminist story". The Guardian. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (April 27, 2017). "Elisabeth Moss on The Handmaid's Tale and what happens when sex becomes a radical political act". Vox. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
- Huizenga, Tom (June 21, 2018). "Max Richter's 'Blue Notebooks' Offers Moving Portrait For Elisabeth Moss". NPR. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
- Hipes, Patrick (January 29, 2018). "Elisabeth Moss & Alex Ross Perry Reteam For His New Film 'Her Smell'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
- N'Duka, Amanda (March 23, 2017). "Tika Sumpter Joins Casey Affleck In 'The Old Man And The Gun". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
- "The Old Man & the Gun (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
- "Her Smell". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- Hipes, Patrick (May 8, 2018). "Jordan Peele Unveils Title Of New Movie; Lupita Nyong'o In Talks, Winston Duke & Elisabeth Moss Eyed". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "Us (2019)" – via www.rottentomatoes.com.
- Galuppo, Mia; Kit, Borys (March 19, 2018). "Elisabeth Moss Joins Tiffany Haddish in Mob Drama The Kitchen (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- Fleming, Mike, Jr. (May 16, 2018). "Elisabeth Moss And Michael Stuhlbarg To Star In Feature Thriller 'Shirley'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- Siegel, Tatiana (December 4, 2019). "Sundance Unveils Female-Powered Lineup Featuring Taylor Swift, Gloria Steinem, Abortion Road Trip Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
- Hipes, Patrick (May 20, 2019). "'The Invisible Man': Release Date Emerges For Blumhouse Redo". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
- Davids, Brian (April 25, 2019). "Elisabeth Moss on 'Her Smell' and a Feminist Take on 'The Invisible Man'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
- Elisabeth Moss in Talks for Taika Waititi Movie 'Next Goal Wins' (Exclusive)
- N'Duka, Amanda (July 21, 2020). "Elisabeth Moss Launches Love & Squalor Pictures; Inks First-Look Deal With Fox 21 & Hulu". Deadline. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony; Wiseman, Andreas (June 11, 2020). "Elisabeth Moss To Re-Team With 'The Handmaid's Tale' Director For Oz-Set Thriller 'Run Rabbit Run', XYZ To Launch Sales – Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
- Mottram, James (May 29, 2015). "Elisabeth Moss interview: The Mad Men actress talks reunion, theatre and women in Hollywood". The Independent. London, England. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
- Barnes, Brooks (June 5, 2009). "She's Nothing Like Peggy, or Is She?". The New York Times. New York City.
- Barnes, Brooks (January 23, 2009). "Mad Men Actress and SNL Star Are Engaged". People. New York City.
- "Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss Marries SNL's Fred Armisen". People. New York City. October 26, 2009.
- Oh, Eunice (September 20, 2010). "Elisabeth Moss Files for Divorce from Fred Armisen". People. New York City: Time, Inc. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Serpe, Gina (May 19, 2011). "Elisabeth Moss, Fred Armisen divorce official". MSNBC. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- Stern, Marlow (April 8, 2019). "Elisabeth Moss Opens up About Scientology and Resisting Trump: 'The Only Place I Can Speak from is My Own'". The Daily Beast.
- Borge, Jonathan (August 21, 2015). "Elisabeth Moss Explains Why "Taking Ownership of Feminism" Is So Important". InStyle. New York City. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Corinthios, Aurelie (August 8, 2017). "Elisabeth Moss Responds to Handmaid's Tale Fan with Rare Defense of Scientology". People. New York City. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
- Midkiff, Sarah (May 27, 2017). "Elisabeth Moss Requires One Thing To Do Nude Scenes: Final Cut". Refinery29. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
- "Elisabeth Moss- Lortel Archives". Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved July 28, 2017.