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Another talent has been tragically lost. Stephanie Niznik -- known to television fans for her work on the fan-favorite series Everwood and to film fans in Star Trek: Insurrection -- passed away suddenly. Niznik died just a few months after turning 52.
The actress died unexpectedly in Encino, California, per Variety. Although the news was just made public in mid-July, Stephanie Niznik died on June 23. She is reportedly survived by her mother, stepfather, brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephews, an aunt and uncle, and her dogs, Nucleus and Jake. No further details regarding the cause of death have been made available at this time.
Stephanie Niznik was a regular screen presence throughout the ‘90s and 2000s. Her television work saw her traverse everything from science fiction to small-town dramas. News of her shocking passing has rippled through social media. On Twitter, Niznik’s Everwood co-star Brenda Strong, who played Julia Brown on the series, shared the following tweet:
Responding to Brenda Strong’s tweet, her Desperate Housewives co-star Marcia Cross wrote “What!!!!” Cross was also a former co-star of Stephanie Niznik. The pair both starred on The WB’s Everwood together. Cross played Dr. Linda Abbott during Season 2 of the series.
Those familiar with Everwood will remember Stephanie Niznik for her portrayal of Nina Feeney. Nina was an original character who starred in all four seasons of the show, which ran from 2002 to 2006 on The WB. It was one of the series that did not survive The CW merger. Niznik’s Nina was a recurring love interest for Treat Williams’ central protagonist, Andy. For reference, Brenda Strong (who posted the tweet above), played the late wife of Williams’ character.
UPDATE: Scott Wolf, who played Dr. Jake Hartman -- another love interest for Stephanie Niznik's Everwood character in the final two seasons -- tweeted his own tribute later on Saturday, July 13:
This is heartbreaking. She was so kind, and so fun to work with. I’m lucky to have known her. Rest In Peace Stephanie.
UPDATE: Everwood creator Greg Berlanti and showrunner Rina Mimoun tweeted a joint statement Friday evening, paying tribute to Stephanie Niznik:
Everwood was more than a television show. It was a family. We recently lost the mother of our tribe, Stephanie Niznik. Stephanie played Nina, the next door neighbor to Andy Brown, and the woman who helped raise his children as he struggled with being a single father. She continued that role offscreen by being an incredible friend, a nurturing mother figure to our younger cast members and an artist who brought warmth, compassion and humor to every episode and our set. Everyone who was lucky enough to know and work with her will miss her dearly.
Fans of The CW will also recall Stephanie Niznik on the short-lived series, Life Is Wild. She starred opposite Leah Pipes, who would eventually star as Camille O’Connell on The Originals. Following the end of that series, Niznik’s activity started to lessen.
Stephanie Niznik had not been credited for an acting role since ten years ago in 2009. Her last credited television role was on ABC’s cult favorite, Lost. She guest-starred in Season 5, Episode 4, which was entitled “The Little Prince.” Niznik played the role of Dr. Evelyn Ariza.
As news of Stephanie Niznik’s passing begins to spread, there will undoubtedly be more mournful messages to come. So far, Niznik’s Everwood co-stars, Treat Williams, and Chris Pratt have yet to react to the news on Twitter. Williams has starred on the CBS series Blue Bloods in recent years. Future Parks and Recreation breakout, Pratt, played the role of Bright on Everwood.
Star Trek fans know Stephanie Niznik from two roles -- she played Trill Starfleet Ensign Kell Perim in the 1998 film Star Trek: Insurrection, and also played the Wraith on Star Trek: Enterprise in Season 1's "Rogue Planet" episode. You can currently stream her episode on Netflix. The series would go onto have a controversial finale.
You can watch Stephanie Niznik’s work as Nina in all four seasons of Everwood via Hulu. The series is currently streaming there.
News of Stephanie Niznik’s unexpected death comes shortly after the sudden passing of Disney star Cameron Boyce. The actor who starred on Descendants actor passed away at the age of 20. Boyce's cause of death was later revealed to be related to epilepsy. So far, no cause has been announced for Niznik.
Sending condolences to Stephanie Niznik’s family and loved ones.