Janel Moloney is an American actress best known for her role as Donna Moss on the television drama series The West Wing.
In 1999, Moloney became a recurring guest star on The West Wing as Donna Moss, assistant to Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford).
Moloney was originally intended only to be a guest star, like the many other recurring assistants on the show, but the cast and creator Aaron Sorkin — and the fans — quickly noticed the chemistry between Donna and the rest of the cast, particularly Josh.
She appeared in every episode of the first season as a guest star, but from the second season premiere onward, Moloney was listed in the main credits.
Her character eventually advanced from White House assistant to campaign advisor to the Vice President of the United States, to spokeswoman for Presidential nominee Matthew Santos, and finally to Chief of Staff for the incoming First Lady.
The series ended in May 2006.
Moloney has received two Emmy nominations for the role, one in 2002 and one in 2004, for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama.
Born in Woodland Hills, California, Moloney is the niece of Christine Ebersole, and attended the acting conservatory at SUNY Purchase. Her early work included television guest roles on ER, Sports Night, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and Murder, She Wrote.
She has also acted in the made-for-TV movies To Save a Child (her screen debut in 1991), ...And Then She Was Gone (1991), Double Edge (1992), Bang, Bang, You're Dead (2002) and Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution (2005), in which she played the title role.
Moloney has appeared in the feature films Dream Lover (1994), Safe (1995), Wild Bill (1995), 'Til There Was You (1997), Desperate Measures (1998), The Souler Opposite (1998), and Just Pray (2005).
In May 2007 it was announced that she will be playing the recurring role of a woman who has an affair with ambitious local politician Tommy Caffee (Jason Clarke) in the Showtime drama series Brotherhood.