The Eight Alter Egos of Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss, star of both AMC’s Mad Men and SundanceTV’s TOP OF THE LAKE, said at the Sundance Film Festival 2013 (where the latter premiered), “Coming from an environment where I’m used to reading great television scripts, I kind of have a high standard.” Based on her resume, who wouldn’t agree? Take a look back at some of her most memorable accomplishments.
1. Peggy Olson, Mad Men (2007-2014)
It took a trip back to the ’60s for wider audiences to come to appreciate Moss’ extraordinary talent. Her secretary-turned-copywriter Peggy Olson is creative, confident and unabashedly ambitious in an environment where women aren’t “supposed” to succeed. Genius.
2. Robin Griffin, TOP OF THE LAKE (2013)
Moss gives an incredibly nuanced and ambitious performance as Robin Griffin, the New Zealand detective who returns home and becomes deeply involved in the case of a missing, pregnant 12-year-old girl. Under Oscar-winner Jane Campion’s expert cinematic shepherding, TOP OF THE LAKE was a TV event that snagged Moss a well-deserved Golden Globe.
3. Daphne Binks, Get Him to the Greek (2010)
As Daphne Binks, the exhausted doctor dating an aspiring music rep, Moss got to venture into comic territory alongside costars Jonah Hill and Russell Brand — they even engage in a hysterically awkward threesome.
4. Zoey Bartlet, The West Wing (1999-2006)
Here as Zoey, the youngest daughter of the President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen), Moss got to show off her chops as a young woman with an independent streak, a propensity for flouting the rules, and a whip-smart intelligence.
5. Christina, Invasion (2005-2006)
OK, so maybe this alien-body-snatching series didn’t last long enough to really find its audience, but in its one season, it was a fantastically thrilling ride. To her credit, Moss provided a highpoint as the utterly chilling Christina, a young mother-to-be suspiciously unfazed by the fact that she’s carrying a “litter” of… somethings.
6. Polly “Torch” Clark, Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Wait, was Elisabeth Moss in this Winona Ryder-Angelina Jolie mental-hospital drama? We wouldn’t fault for you for not realizing it. But yes, she was. In fact, as Polly Clark (aka “Torch”), she was both sweet and haunted as a burn victim whose disfiguring scars render her virtually unrecognizable.
7. Ashley Judd, Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge (1995)
Chronicling the struggles and eventual success of country music stars The Judds, this TV movie also featured actress Ashley Judd — with Moss stepping in to play Ashley’s teenage self.
8. Cynthia Parks, Picket Fences (1992)
When she was just 10 years old, Moss was cast as local girl Cynthia in this beloved David E. Kelley drama about a small-town sheriff, his family, and the American-heartland community — and way of life — he fights to protect.