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Janel Moloney Biography


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Birth Name: Janel Moloney
Born: 10/03/1969
Birth Place: Woodland Hills, California, USA


When she was a little older, Moloney would often watch the performances being put on at the local junior high. But she didn't get her own taste of the stage until high school, where her first part was Bianca in Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew." Moloney continued to act throughout high school and applied to go to college at the world-famous Julliard School in New York City. She didn't get accepted and instead went to the State University of New York at Purchase, a school also known for its arts programs.

Moloney spent one very unhappy year at Purchase and at one point penned a sorrowful letter to famed acting coach Roy London. London replied to her letter and told her to come back to Los Angeles and study with him. Moloney promptly took his advice and, in 1989, flew back to her native coast. She studied intensely with London and cites his teachings as having a profound influence on her career.

Success did not come quickly or easily to Moloney. She went on auditions constantly and managed to land a few bit parts here and there. She waitressed during this time to support herself and relied on the support of her family to keep her going. It was not until 1998, when Moloney got a guest appearance on ABC's "Sports Night," that Moloney would find fortune on her side. Writer/creator Aaron Sorkin and executive producer Tommy Shlamme took a shine to Moloney and gave her a bit part in their upcoming pilot for NBC, "The West Wing." She was cast in a small role as a White House staffer in the pilot. Sorkin and Schlamme felt she did such a good job that she needed a larger part. Her role was changed to Donatella Moss, assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman. By the end of the first season, she was made a regular cast member. The romantic tension between Moloney's character and her boss, Josh Lyman (played by Brad Whitford), became a constant focal point in the show and a huge topic of speculation for "West Wing" fans.

Moloney has appeared in several features, such as "'Till There Was You" (1997) and the critically accliamed independent "The Souler Opposite" (1998). She also appears in the Showtime movie "Bang, Bang, You're Dead," inspired by the one-act play of the same title by award-winning writer William Mastrosimone, about the social challenges and physical violence in high schools today.