The Maine-born actress, who was a National Merit Scholar and a valedictorian at her high school, once dreamed of becoming a geneticist but chose an acting career instead. She appeared in movies like Exit to Eden and Star Trek: Insurrection but she found her biggest success on the small screen. Niznik showed up in series as diverse as Murder, She Wrote, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and JAG, before snagging a series regular role in Diagnosis: Murder from 1998-2000. Two years later, she was cast in Greg Berlanti’s drama Everwood as Nina — a role she played for four seasons.
More recently, she appeared in episodes of Lost, NCIS, and CSI: Miami.
Berlanti and fellow Everwood scribe Rina Mimoun released a statement Saturday via social media, calling Niznik a “nurturing mother figure” and an “incredible friend.” The tweet was shared by Williams, who added, “so true.”
Variety reports that Niznik was active in children and animal rescue organizations, and also worked with Four Winds Heart-Centered Healing. She is survived by her mother and stepfather; brother and sister-law; her niece and nephews; aunt and uncle; and her dogs Nucleus and Jake.