Gretchen Mol

The blonde, ruddy-cheeked Mol is a face you'd recognize on the street without necessarily knowing why: She's been in over 30 films, but never really cracked the A-list.

Born in 1972, Mol was raised in Deep River, Connecticut to a school principal father and artist mother. She began acting at a young age performing in school musicals and plays, with her first acting break coming in Godspell and 110 In The Shade during summer stock theater in Vermont. Mol was discovered by an agent while coat checking at Michael's restaurant in NYC, and landed her first film role—a tiny part in Spike Lee's Girl 6 in 1996. Typecast as "The Girlfriend" in the nineties, she was in Rounders, Celebrity, and Donnie Brasco before being dubiously marked for stardom as the the next "it girl" on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1998. The magazine suffered a bit of premature speculation—not only did her movies flop—but Mol virtually vanished from the spotlight.

After nursing her wounds with small roles for the rest of the nineties, she resurfaced playing Jenny in Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things both onstage and on film in ‘01 and ‘03 respectively. Mol played legendary pin-up Bettie Page in Mary Harron's, The Notorious Bettie Page in 2005 to positive reviews. Perhaps her most notable role to date is on HBO's Boardwalk Empire as Gillian Darmody, mother of Jimmy Darmody (played by Michael Pitt) and a showgirl at the Beaux Arts. This time the press has again spun her return to television as her chance at another "big break"—here's hoping.

Mol is married to film director Kip Williams. They had their first child, Ptolemy John Williams, in September 2007 and a daughter Winter Morgan Williams in 2011. She has a brother—Jim Mol—a director and editor in the film industry. She lives and works in NYC.

[Image via Getty]