Stephanie Niznik died on June 23 in Encino, California. The accomplished actress’s death was unexpected, as reported today by a number of sources, including Variety. Niznik was 52-years-old.
Niznik originally hailed from Bangor, Maine. She matriculated to Duke University — opting for dual majors in theater and Russian — before studying for an advanced degree at Cal Arts.
The brainy blonde had set out to become a geneticist, but ended up with in an enviable career as a thespian. Her ambitions paid off when she landed roles in various television series, including Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Nash Bridges, Vanishing Son, and Murder She Wrote.
She was also seen in Life is Wild, Lost, NCIS, Diagnosis Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Frasier, and CSI: Miami.
Niznik’s most enduring role was arguably as Nina Feeney on Everwood. She was in good company on that television series, which also starred Treat Williams, Chris Pratt, Emily VanCamp, Vivien Cardone, Gregory Smith, Merrilyn Gann, Tom Amandes, Debra Mooney, Scott Wolf, and Sarah Drew, among others.
Nina Feeney was described by Entertainment Tonight as follows.
“Nina is the Browns’ friendly but brash next door neighbor in Everwood, who defends Andy’s children as her own and becomes romantically involved with him on and off throughout the series.”
At the end of the series, which ran for four seasons on The WB, Stephanie’s Nina character married Treat Williams’ Andy character in a surprise ending.
Stephanie’s character was also involved with Scott Wolf’s character during the course of Everwood‘s run. He paid tribute to his former television love interest on Twitter.
“This is heartbreaking. She was so kind, and so fun to work with. I’m lucky to have known her. Rest In Peace Stephanie,” Wolf said, according to TV Line.
Before appearing on Everwood, Niznik took her place on the silver screen when cast in one of the popular Star Trek films. Her character, Trill Starfleet Ensign Kell Perim, was seen in the 1998 film, Star Trek: Insurrection.
Then, just around the time she was cast in Everwood — which first aired on September, 16, 2002 — the actress returned to the Star Trek franchise with a role on Enterprise, the television series. She appeared in the “Rogue Planet” episode.
Niznik, who was single at the time of her death, had been in a relationship with 21 Jump Street actor Richard Grieco from 2001 through 2007. She is survived by her mother, stepfather, brother, extended family and Nucleus and Jake, her two cherished dogs.
Rest in peace, Stephanie Niznik.