Madeline Zima
Born (1985-09-16) September 16, 1985 (age 36)
Years active1992–present

Madeline Zima (born September 16, 1985) is an American actress. She portrayed Grace Sheffield on the CBS sitcom The Nanny (1993–1999), Mia Lewis on the Showtime comedy drama series Californication (2007–2011), and Gretchen Berg on the NBC series Heroes (2009–2010).[1]

Early life

Zima was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of Marie and Dennis. Her surname means "winter" in Polish and comes from her maternal grandfather, who was of Polish descent.[2] Zima has two younger sisters, Vanessa and Yvonne, both of whom are also actresses.[3]


Zima began her career when she was two years old, after she was chosen as a child to appear in a television commercial for Downy fabric softener.[4]

From 1993 to 1999 she played the role of Grace Sheffield on the television show The Nanny throughout its six seasons. Zima, then aged 22, played Mia Lewis on the first two seasons of the series Californication and overall appeared in the series from 2007 to 2011. In promotion of the fictional book her character wrote, Fucking & Punching, Zima starred in several Californication webisodes featured on YouTube. From 2009 to 2010, Zima joined the cast of Heroes as Gretchen Berg, Claire Bennet's quirky bisexual roommate and tentative love interest.[5]

Zima has also become known for her work in films such as The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, A Cinderella Story, Dimples, Looking for Sunday, Once in a Very Blue Moon, Legacy and The Collector.

Zima appeared as a guest star on several TV shows, including Law & Order, JAG, and Touched by an Angel. She also guest starred in an episode of The Vampire Diaries, and in two episodes of the 2017 Twin Peaks The Return. In 2012, she was cast in a co-starring role in the ABC drama pilot Gilded Lilys,[6] but the series was not picked up by ABC.

Zima starred in The Blondes (2019), a scripted podcast series, where her sister Yvonne Zima appeared.[7] In 2020, she appeared in HBO's Perry Mason.



Year Title Role Notes
1992 The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Emma Bartel
1993 Mr. Nanny Kate Mason
1997 'Til There Was You Gwen Moss (Age 12)
1998 The Rose Sisters
1998 Second Chances Melinda Judd
2004 A Cinderella Story Brianna
2006 Looking for Sunday Trisha
2008 Legacy Zoey Martin Direct-to-video film; also known as Pretty Little Devils
2008 Dimples Frances
2009 The Collector Jill Chase
2010 Trance Jessica
2010 First Dates Kelly Direct-to-video film
2011 The Family Tree Mitzy Steinbacher
2011 A Monster in Paris Maud Voice role (English dub)
2012 Breaking the Girls Alex Layton
2012 Crazy Kind of Love Annie
2012 Crazy Eyes Rebecca
2012 Lake Effects Lily
2014 #Stuck Holly
2014 From A to B Samantha
2015 Weepah Way for Now Lauren
2018 Painkillers Chloe Clarke
2019 Bombshell Edie
2021 Bliss Doris
2021 Insight Abby


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Law & Order Samantha Silver Episode: "Extended Family"
1993–1999 The Nanny Grace Sheffield Main role
1996 JAG Cathy Gold Episode: "Sightings"
1997 Touched by an Angel Alexandra "Ally" Episode: "Children of the Night"
1999 Chicken Soup for the Soul Katie Episode: "Starlight, Star Bright"
1999 Chasing Secrets Jo Ann Foley Television film
1999 Lethal Vows Danielle Farris Television film
2000 The Sandy Bottom Orchestra Rachel Green Television film
2001 The Nightmare Room Alexis Hall 2 episodes
2001 King of the Hill Susan Clemmons Voice role; 2 episodes
2001 Gilmore Girls Lisa Episode: "Like Mother, Like Daughter"
2003 7th Heaven Alice Miller Episode: "Go Ask Alice"
2003 Lucy Teen Lucille Ball Television film
2004 Strong Medicine Pam Episode: "Like Cures Like"
2006 3 lbs Cassie Mack Episode: "Lost for Words"
2007 Ghost Whisperer Maddy Strom Episode: "Mean Ghost"
2007 Grey's Anatomy Marissa Episode: "Forever Young"
2007–2011 Californication Mia Lewis Main role (seasons 1–2), 28 episodes
2009–2010 Heroes Gretchen Berg Recurring role, 11 episodes
2010 My Boys Ashley Episode: "Be a Man!"
2010 My Own Love Song Billie Television film (Lifetime)
2011 Royal Pains Toby Thompson Episode: "Me First"
2012 The Vampire Diaries Charlotte Episode: "We'll Always Have Bourbon Street"
2013 Gilded Lilys Abigail Unsold television pilot
2013–2014 Betas Jordan Alexis Recurring role, 6 episodes
2015 Grimm Emily Troyer Episode: "Maiden Quest"
2015 Agent X Brenda Pelton / Molly Episode: "Truth, Lies and Consequences"
2016 I Am Watching You Nora Television film
2017 Twin Peaks Tracey Barberato Episodes: "Part 1", "Part 2"
2019 You Rachel Episode: "Farewell, My Bunny"
2020 Good Girls Lila Episodes: "Nana", "Incentive"
2020 Perry Mason Velma Fuller Episode: "Chapter One"
2021 Hacks Cat Episode: "Falling"

Awards and nominations

Zima was nominated three times for a YoungStar Award, in 1995, 1997 and 1999, all for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series for The Nanny.

She was also nominated 13 times for a Young Artist Award:


  1. ^ "FHM's 100 Sexiest Women 2009". Archived from the original on July 7, 2009.
  2. ^ "Interview: Californication's Madeline Zima is 'Haute'". Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2007. Madeline Zima: "[...] my grandfather on my mom's side was Polish. It means 'winter.'. Zima comes from that; it's my mother's maiden name."
  3. ^ "Madeline Zima on". Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2007.
  4. ^ "'Hand' Keeps 5-Year-Old's Career Rocking". January 20, 1992. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Zima joins Heroes for recurring role". Archived from the original on June 6, 2009. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  6. ^ Nellie Andreeva (February 10, 2012). "Blythe Danner, Sarah Bolger & Madeline Zima Cast In ABC Pilot 'Gilded Lilys'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  7. ^ "5 Reasons We're Excited For 'The Blondes' Podcast!". Villain Media. June 12, 2019. Retrieved June 27, 2019.