Mia Kirshner

Playing women who led twisted lives and harbored dark secrets to perfection, Mia Kirshner displayed great emotional range in roles that often called on her to perform sexually charged scenes in films like "Love and Human Remains" (1993) as a young dominatrix and in "Exotica" (1994) as a teen stripper with a past. Kirshner took a bite out of television with appearances on the high-octane drama "24" (Fox, 2001-2010) as a hired killer and also played a once-vampire mother on the teen series "The Vampire Diaries" (The CW, 2009-17). But it was her role as Jenny Schecter, a sexually ambiguous and self-indulgent woman, on the groundbreaking series "The L Word" (Showtime, 2004-09) that made Kirshner a star. Drawing upon her many experiences portraying dysfunctional, oversexed characters, she effectively essayed a woman torn between two sexes who indiscriminately manipulates to get what she wants. In spite of her character's risqué scenes, Kirshner managed to convey a real sadness and fragility, proving she was undoubtedly one of the best and most intense actresses of her time.