Today on Glimpse.org, we are going to take a glimpse into the life of Molly Ephraim, a thirty-four-year-old American actress. To date, she is mostly known for her role as Mandy Baxter in the ABC/Fox TV series, Last Man Standing, and for her role as Irene Kelly in the movie, The Front Runner.
Molly Ephraim – Who is she?
Molly Ephraim was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 22nd, 1986, to her mother Nina Zebooker and her father, William Ephraim. Along with her parents, she quickly moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where she grew up with her brother, Max.
In public and throughout the interviews that she regularly gives the press, Molly Ephraim exhibits a fun and easy-going personality. One of her main hobbies, she claims, is music. “I go to concerts with friends,” she says, “Whenever I can. I’m passionate about music and I love seeing live bands.” Her favorite genre is grunge, and her two favorite bands are Nirvana and Soundgarden. She once told journalists that would name Smells Like Teen Spirit as her preferred “feel good” song. “I’m just into those guys who rain emotion you know, and who pour their heart and souls into every lyric and note. That’s art. But it’s also so much more than that. It’s just raw emotion. I don’t think anyone does it quite like those guys can. And I’m a total sucker for it!” she also declared. Sadly, however, it seems that Ephraim never attempted to pursue any kind of professional singing career herself. She is an actor through and through.
As of November 2020, Ephraim is not married and does not have any children. She has publicly identified as an Ashkenazi Jew, and said that she was brought up within the Jewish faith, along with her brother, Max.
As a teenager, Molly Ephraim attended Central Bucks East before moving on to the prestigious Princeton University for college. There, she pursued and obtained a B.A. in Religious Studies. She however, also continued her acting career on the side, as a member of the Triangle Club. She performed in and choreographed a number of shows for the Princeton University Players and Theatre Intime.
Molly Ephraim – Career
Molly Ephraim’s interest in acting started at a young age, her career taking a very early start. She first began performing as a child actor in her local Bucks County Playhouse, mostly acting in comedies. As a teenager, she quickly branched out into the Philadelphia theater scene, starring in plays at the Arden Theater Company and the Prince Music Theater. At age thirteen, she was involved in a production of The Snow Queen as well as an early production of Into The Woods as Little Red Riding Hood. This is a role that she would then reprise a few years later, but this time, on Broadway.
Indeed, throughout her early life and career, and until the late 2000s, Molly Ephraim mostly worked as a theater actor. After performing the role of Little Red Riding Hood at home in Philadelphia, Ephraim made her Broadway debut in 2002, at just sixteen years old, in the Broadway revival of Into the Woods in the same role as the one she’d previously taken on as a younger teenager. In 2004, she also played the character of Bielke in Filddler on the Roof, another Broadway play. Ephraim then continued her career off-Broadway with the role of Rachel Stein in End Days. Lastly, in 2008, she played Olive in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Barrington Stage Company.
A couple years later, this time with the Wesport County Playhouse, she was given the incredible opportunity to play Anne Frank in a play inspired by the famous Diary of Anne Frank. With Ephraim’s Jewish heritage, this story particularly hit home as the play focused on the life of young Anne, a German, Jewish emigrant living in hiding in Amsterdam at the height of World War II. Studied in most primary and secondary schools throughout Europe, the tale is a sad one as Anne was ultimately deported to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen where she died of typhus before the end of the conflict.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Molly Ephraim also began starring in film and television. In 2010, she became a more recognizable face to the wider public when she took on the role of Ali Rey in the widely successful horror movie Paranormal Activity 2, then reprising the role in its 2014 sequel: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. Regarding this first mainstream cinema experience, Ephraim declared: “I was only acting for the most part, but there were definitely some scary moments on set! There would be sounds and noises and that freaked me out a little. I knew there were people all around the set and it was daytime but I would still get a little scared when I heard the noises.”
A year later, Molly Ephraim also got her first main part in a television series. She starred in the incredibly successful American sitcom Last Man Standing as Mandy Baxter, the onscreen daughter of Mike Baxter, played by Tim Allen. This is a role that she kept throughout the first run of the show until 2017 when it was temporarily cancelled. When asked how she felt about the role, Molly Ephraim told the Red-Carpet Roundup: “I think I’m more relaxed doing comedy and I like being able to play a character so much different than myself, so it’s been a nice change of pace for me personally. But yeah, it’s definitely different from anything I’ve ever done. In real life, I’m so much different than the character I play on the show, so it’s a challenge, but I love every second of it.”
During her six-year run in Last Man Standing, Mmolly Ephraim also gained invaluable experience working alongside seasoned co-star Tim Allen. On that topic, she once noted: “Tim is so funny. He constantly has the entire set in stitches! He’s so much fun to work with. And I remember watching “Home Improvement” when I was real little. So, to be playing his daughter now is almost surreal!” In the same interview, she additionally stated that she regretted not having enough free time to hang out with the other stars from the show as much as she would like to.
A very hard worker, Molly Ephraim also starred in a number of other TV productions like Law and Order, Royal Pains, Halt and Catch Fire and Brockmire during this period of time. In 2015, she shortly reconnected with theater, taking on the role of Daphna Feygenbaum in Bad Jews at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. She once told journalists that while she wouldn’t call it a “professional goal” she still loved performing on stage and would gladly do it again, if the right opportunity came along.
In 2018, after its initial ABC run and cancellation, Last Man Standing was saved by Fox and offered another season a few months later. However, unfortunately, Molly Ephraim could not continue with her original role of Mandy Baxter due to scheduling conflicts. Indeed, in the span of time that it took for the show to be recommissioned, Ephraim had already committed to other projects. On this topic, Matt Berry who worked on the show with Ephraim declared: “When the show was canceled… [Molly] got involved in some different things, so when [Last Man Standing] came back, she was not able to do it. It’s unfortunate. We love her deeply. She’s a big part of who we were. But [it’s] exciting for us to look around and see who we can get to play that character. We want someone to come in and not play Molly Ephraim. We want somebody to come in and play Mandy. We’ve seen a lot of great actresses.”
Molly Ephraim’s other commitments quickly became apparent since in 2018 alone, she had appeared in two feature films: Casual and The Front Runner, the latter in which she played the role of Irene Kelly. In an interview appearing on the YouTube channel Movie Roar, Molly Ephraim explained that she truly enjoyed shooting The Front Runner where she was lucky enough to co-star with Hugh Jackman. On Hugh, she stated “he’s so much nicer [than you already think he is]”. Later in 2019, she also held significant parts in The Act, Modern Family, and College Road Trip, among many others.
For her work in theater, she was been nominated for two awards: the Barrymore Award and Drama League Award, both for her role in the productions of Into the Woods.
Molly Ephraim has also been successful at building a following on social media, totaling over 90,000 followers on Instagram. She routinely uses her platform to defend causes that she believes in, like supporting the LGBTQ+ community or encouraging people to vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 US election.
Reportedly, Molly Ephraim’s net worth is valued around $1 million.
Molly Ephraim – What is she doing now?
In 2020, Molly Ephraim appeared as Della Street’s lover, Hazel Prystock, in the first season of HBO’s Perry Mason show.