Pennsylvania native Elizabeth Marvel began her acting career on the New York stage after studying at the prestigious Juilliard School. She made her Broadway debut in 1992 as an understudy in a revival of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull" before moving on to key roles in critically-acclaimed plays like Ronald Harwood's "Taking Sides" and Wendy Wasserstein's "An American Daughter". As she focused on her stage career, Marvel did as so many other New York-based actors do and began supplementing her income via guest roles on television series that filmed in New York. Her first small-screen role was in a 1998 episode of the acclaimed police drama "Homicide: Life on the Street". Following her feature film debut in a supporting role as a blind attorney in the indie drama "Ten Hundred Kings", Marvel moved into a full-time television part in the role of police officer Nancy Parras on the procedural drama "The District". The show lasted for four seasons, with Marvel's character becoming more visible as she was promoted to detective. After "The District" left the air in 2004, Marvel began working more regularly in film, with supporting roles in Charlie Kaufman's peculiar fantasy "Synecdoche, New York" and two films by the Coen Brothers: the espionage comedy "Burn After Reading" and their remake of the Western classic "True Grit".