Lizzy Caplan

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Lizzy Caplan
Lizzy Caplan at PaleyFest 2014.jpg
Caplan at the 2014 PaleyFest
Elizabeth Anne Caplan

(1982-06-30) June 30, 1982 (age 40)
Years active1999–present
(m. 2017)
RelativesHoward Bragman (uncle)

Elizabeth Anne Caplan (born June 30, 1982) is an American actress. Her first acting role was on the cult television series Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000). She received wider recognition with roles in the films Mean Girls (2004) and Cloverfield (2008), the latter of which earned her a nomination for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. Caplan has also starred on the television shows Related (2005–2006), The Class (2006–2007), and Party Down (2009–2010).

From 2013 to 2016, Caplan played Virginia E. Johnson on the Showtime series Masters of Sex, a role for which she received nominations for a Primetime Emmy, two Satellite Awards, and a Critics' Choice Award. In 2019, she portrayed Annie Wilkes in the Hulu anthology series Castle Rock. Her other film appearances include Hot Tub Time Machine, 127 Hours (both 2010), Save the Date, Bachelorette (both 2012), The Interview (2014), Now You See Me 2, Allied (both 2016), and Extinction (2018).

Early life[edit]

Elizabeth Anne Caplan was born on June 30, 1982, in Los Angeles, California,[1] and grew up in its Miracle Mile district.[2] Her family are Reform Jews of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.[3][4][5] She had a Bat Mitzvah and attended Jewish summer camp.[6][7][8] Her father, Richard Caplan, was a lawyer and her mother, Barbara (née Bragman), was a political aide.[9] She is the youngest of three children with a brother, Benjamin, and a sister, Julie.[10] Her mother died of cancer[11] when she was 13 years old.[2][12][13] Her uncle is publicist Howard Bragman.[14] Caplan attended Alexander Hamilton High School,[15] and attended the school's Academy of Music. She first focused on playing the piano, then later decided to pursue drama.[16] She was also on her school's soccer team.[17] She graduated in 2000, but did not attend college because she wanted to focus on acting.[17]


Caplan at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con

Caplan began her acting career in 1999, first playing a girl named Sara in the critically acclaimed series Freaks and Geeks.[18] Due to her performance, her character became the girlfriend of Jason Segel's character.[19] She then had a series of guest appearances on numerous shows, and appeared in Jason Mraz's music video "You and I Both". In 2000 she appeared in her first film From Where I Sit which was released straight to television.[20] In 2001, she played Tina Greer in an episode of Smallville, and reprised her role on the show in 2003. She appeared in two episodes of the ABC series Once and Again. In 2003, she starred in the television series The Pitts, playing Faith Pitt. She gained wider notice for playing Janis Ian in the 2004 film Mean Girls. She played Avery Bishop in the second season of Tru Calling.

In 2005, Caplan played troubled sister Marjee Sorelli in Related, a one-hour comedy-drama on The WB that was canceled after one season. In 2006, she starred as Sara Weller in the thriller film Love is the Drug and was named one of "10 Actors to Watch" by Variety.[21] After Related ended, Caplan was cast in the CBS sitcom The Class, which premiered in September 2006 and lasted for one season. She played Kat Warbler, one of several elementary school friends that reunite after 20 years.[21]

In 2008, Caplan played Marlena Diamond in the film Cloverfield and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also appeared as Ami in the romantic comedy My Best Friend's Girl. Later that year, she guest-starred as Amy Burley on the HBO vampire show True Blood. She was the voice of Faith Pitt in the proposed animated version of The Pitts, which was developed in 2007. She also appeared in the critically acclaimed Starz ensemble comedy Party Down, playing a struggling comedian who is part of a catering crew. In 2010, she appeared in 127 Hours.[22]

In early 2012, Caplan premiered two films at the Sundance Film Festival: Save the Date and Bachelorette. Also in 2012, she appeared as Julia in several episodes of the Fox sitcom New Girl.

She played Agent Lacey in the 2014 film The Interview.

Masters of Sex (2013–2016)[edit]

In 2013, she began playing 1960s human sexuality pioneer Virginia E. Johnson on the Showtime series Masters of Sex.[23] Caplan also provided her own vocals for a cover version of the song "You Don't Know Me" in the Masters of Sex episode "Phallic Victories".[24] Her performance on the show was well-reviewed, and on July 10, 2014, she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.[25]

Caplan was cast in her role as Johnson before they signed her co-star Michael Sheen as William H. Masters because he was busy working on another production. Producer Sarah Timberman said of Caplan, "The minute we met Lizzie we thought that she just embodied so much of the spirit of Virginia Johnson."[26] Caplan also stated herself that as a single woman pursuing her career above a family, she identified with many of Johnson's characteristics.[2] Once she met the producers, it took several months before Caplan was officially signed, and she turned down several other roles in the meantime.[27]

Virginia Johnson worked alongside William H. Masters as they completed research of human sexual response and sexual dysfunction beginning in the late 1950s. To learn about the characters they were portraying Caplan along with her other co-stars read Thomas Maier's 2009 biography Masters of Sex.[28] The author also allowed Caplan to listen to some of his interview tapes with Johnson. Caplan also attempted to spend some time with Johnson before she died in 2013, but Johnson was ambivalent about the development of the show.[2] It was the first time Caplan portrayed a real person and she mentioned in an interview that she felt a "deep responsibility" to Johnson, but that she had some wiggle room because most people have no idea what Johnson looked or sounded like.[29] Maier stated that the developers of the show have remained mostly accurate to his book and have included other events that are historically relevant to St. Louis, where the series takes place and where Masters and Johnson lived.[30] Caplan has discussed becoming comfortable with the large number of sex scenes in Masters of Sex.[19][27][31]

Her portrayal of American sexologist Virginia E. Johnson was her first serious dramatic role, resulting in nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award, Satellite Award and Critics' Choice Television Award, all for Outstanding Lead Actress.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Caplan dated Matthew Perry from 2006 to 2012.[33][34][35] Caplan became engaged in May 2016 in New York to British actor Tom Riley.[36] They had met in January 2015 while the actress was filming Now You See Me 2[37] in London, and made their red carpet debut as a couple at the Prague Opera Ball in February 2016.[38] The two were married in September 2017.[39] They had a son in 2021.[40]



Year Title Role Notes
2002 Orange County Party Girl
2003 Hardcore Action News Lizzy Lyons Short film
2004 Mean Girls Janis Ian
2006 Love Is the Drug Sara Weller
2007 Crashing Jacqueline
2008 Cloverfield Marlena Diamond
My Best Friend's Girl Ami
2009 Crossing Over Marla
2010 Successful Alcoholics Lindsay Short film
Hot Tub Time Machine April Drennan
The Last Rites of Ransom Pride Juliette Flowers
127 Hours Sonja Ralston
2011 High Road Sheila
2012 Save the Date Sarah
Bachelorette Gena Myers
3,2,1... Frankie Go Boom Lassie
Queens of Country Jolene Gillis
Item 47 Claire Wise Short film
2014 The Interview Agent Lacey
2015 The Night Before Diana
2016 Now You See Me 2 Lula May
Allied Bridget Vatan
2017 The Disaster Artist Herself Cameo
2018 Extinction Alice
TBA Cobweb Carol Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1999–2000 Freaks and Geeks Sara 4 episodes
2000 From Where I Sit Lily Television film
2001 Undeclared Beautiful girl Episode: "Prototype"
2001–2003 Smallville Tina Greer 2 episodes
2001 Once and Again Sarah Episode: "Tough Love"
2002 Everybody's Doing It Angela Television film
2003 The Pitts Faith Pitt Main role
2005 Tru Calling Avery Bishop 4 episodes
2005–2006 Related Marjee Sorelli Main role
2006 Family Guy Woman Arguing With Quagmire (voice) Episode: "Chick Cancer"
2006–2009 American Dad! Debbie (voice) 4 episodes
2006–2007 The Class Kat Warbler Main role
2008 True Blood Amy Burley 6 episodes
The Life & Times of Tim (voice) Episode: "Insurmountable High Score/Tim vs. the Baby"
2009–2010 Party Down Casey Klein Main role
2010–2011 Childrens Hospital Harmony / Casey Klein 2 episodes
2011 The Cleveland Show Patty Donner (voice) Episode: "The Essence of Cleveland"
Mr. Sunshine Vivian Cornelli Episode: "Ben and Vivian"
Wainy Days Arielle Episode: "Kelly and Arielle – Part 2"
2012 New Girl Julia Cleary 4 episodes
2013 Newsreaders Anya Turpo Episode: "Hedge Fun"
2013–2016 Masters of Sex Virginia E. Johnson Main role; also producer
2013–2014 The League Rebecca Ruxin 3 episodes
2014 Kroll Show Signing Bonus Contestant #1 Episode: "Krolling Around with Nick Klown"
Comedy Bang! Bang! Herself Episode: "Lizzy Caplan Wears All Black & Powder Blue Espadrilles"
2017 The Simpsons Virginia Johnson (voice) Episode: "Kamp Krustier"
Angie Tribeca Deirdre Episode: "If You See Something, Solve Something"
Ill Behaviour Nadia 3 episodes
I'm Sorry Jessica Episode: "Too Slow"
2018 Das Boot Carla Monroe 8 episodes
2019 Castle Rock Annie Wilkes Main role (season 2)
2019–2020 Truth Be Told Josie and Lanie Burhman Main role
2021– Inside Job Reagan Ridley (voice) Main role
TBA Fleishman is In Trouble Libby Upcoming miniseries
TBA Fatal Attraction Alex Forrest Upcoming miniseries

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2007 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Cloverfield Nominated
2010 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress – Comedy Hot Tub Time Machine Nominated
2014 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Masters of Sex Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Masters of Sex Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Masters of Sex Nominated
2015 Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Masters of Sex Nominated
2016 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Star: Female Now You See Me 2 Nominated


  1. ^ "Lizzy Caplan: Film Actor/Film Actress, Television Actress (1982–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Rodrick, Stephen (August 25, 2014). "The Liberation of Lizzy Caplan". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  3. ^ Miller, Gerri (2005). "Mean girl no more". American Jewish Life Magazine. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
  4. ^ Huver, Scott (2012-09-25). "Lizzy Caplan Tackles "Masters of Sex" and the Marvel Universe". NBC New York. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  5. ^ Bloom, Nate (October 20, 2011). "Jewish Stars". Cleveland Jewish News.
  6. ^ "Lizzy Caplan".
  7. ^ "Jews in the News: Lizzy Caplan, Tiffany Haddish and Craig Gerber | Tampa JCCS and Federation".
  8. ^ "From nice Jewish girl to master of sex". The Times of Israel.
  9. ^ Hoby, Hermione (July 25, 2014). "Lizzy Caplan interview for Masters of Sex: Sex is easy to fake; comedy isn't". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12.
  10. ^ theoffcamerashow (July 13, 2015). "Lizzy Caplan Reveals Why She Wanted to Be a Boy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-09. Retrieved December 8, 2015 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ "Actors on Actors: Lizzy Caplan and Allison Janney (Full Version)". Archived from the original on 2021-11-14 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "Lizzy Caplan on Her New Show, Masters of Sex". Vulture. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
  13. ^ "Lizzy Caplan – Guest DJ Project on KCRW". 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
  14. ^ "Howard Bragman on Twitter: "Could I be any prouder of my niece Lizzy Caplan who just got a pilot picked up for Showtime? An amazing actor..."". 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
  15. ^ "Lizzy Caplan  — Bios  — The Class on CBS". May 23, 2007. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  16. ^ Brink, Rob (February 2008). "Hey, You're Cool! Lizzy Caplan". Mass Appeal Magazine. p. 48.
  17. ^ a b "The naked truth: Lizzy Caplan on Masters of Sex". The Independent. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  18. ^ Rohan, Virginia (July 3, 2000). "Like its title, Freaks and Geeks just not accepted". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  19. ^ a b Made Man (December 23, 2013). "Masters of Sex's Lizzy Caplan Commands Respect – Speakeasy". Archived from the original on 2021-11-14. Retrieved December 8, 2015 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "Lizzy Caplan | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos | AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  21. ^ a b Saval, Malina. "Lizzy Caplan: The _Heeb_ Interview". Heeb. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  22. ^ Indrisek, Scott (April 27, 2010). "Lizzy Caplan on Party Down and Her True Blood Nude Scenes". BlackBook Magazine. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  23. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2 February 2012). "UPDATE: Michael Sheen & Lizzy Caplan To Star In Showtime Pilot Masters Of Sex". Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  24. ^ "Phallic Victories". IMDb. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  25. ^ "66th Primetime Emmys Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2014-07-10.
  26. ^ ScreenSlam (March 26, 2014). "Masters of Sex: Sarah Timberman (Executive Producer) Exclusive Premiere Interview". Archived from the original on 2021-11-14. Retrieved December 8, 2015 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ a b "Masters of Sex's Lizzy Caplan talks Auditioning & Nudity with BGB Magazine! The Bramon Garcia Braun Studio". Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  28. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (2013-07-26). "Masters of Sex Recalls the Work of Masters and Johnson". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  29. ^ "Masters of Sex star Lizzy Caplan on nudity, the 1950s and typecasting". HitFix. Archived from the original on 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  30. ^ "The facts, fictions of Masters of Sex : Entertainment". Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  31. ^ "Masters of Sex's Lizzy Caplan on Nudity: "It's as Close [to Comfortable] As It's Going to Get"". The Hollywood Reporter. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  32. ^ "Virginia Johnson from Masters of Sex on Showtime". Showtime. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  33. ^ "Matthew Perry's Student Body Hookup". TMZ. November 16, 2006. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  34. ^ Fisher, Kelly (September 10, 2011). "Matthew Perry And Lizzy Caplan: Another Hollywood Odd Couple? (PHOTO)". HuffPost.
  35. ^ Takeda, Allison (October 18, 2013). "Matthew Perry, Lizzy Caplan Quietly Split, "Haven't Been Together for a Long Time"". Us Weekly. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  36. ^ Schnurr, Samantha (July 22, 2016). "Lizzy Caplan and Tom Riley Are Engaged". E! News. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  37. ^ Francis, Marcus. "Chit Chat with Marcus". Instagram. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  38. ^ Martin, Annie (July 25, 2016). "Lizzy Caplan engaged to English actor Tom Riley". United Press International. Archived from the original on September 5, 2017. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  39. ^ Brianne, Tracy (September 4, 2017). "Lizzy Caplan Marries Tom Riley in Italy — See Their Adorable Wedding Photo!". People. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  40. ^ "Tom Riley, Lizzy Caplan and Their Infant Had an Explosive In-Flight Mishap". Late Night Feud. January 28, 2022. Retrieved January 30, 2022.

External links[edit]