Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson

Born Sarah Catharine Paulson
(1974-12-17) December 17, 1974
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Occupation Actress
Years active 1994–present
Partner(s) Cherry Jones (2004–09)
Holland Taylor (2015-present)

Sarah Catharine Paulson (born December 17, 1974) is an American actress. After beginning her acting career on stage, she starred in the 1990s television series American Gothic (1995–96) and Jack & Jill (1999–2001). Paulson later appeared in comedy films such as What Women Want (2000) and Down with Love (2003), and had dramatic roles in films such as Path to War (2002) and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). From 2006 to 2007, Paulson played the role of Harriet Hayes in the NBC comedy-drama series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, for which she received her first Golden Globe Award nomination.[1] In 2008, she starred as Ellen Dolan in the superhero noir film The Spirit.

Paulson has appeared on Broadway in the plays The Glass Menagerie (2005) and Collected Stories (2010).[2][3] She also starred in a number of independent films, and had a leading role on the ABC comedy series Cupid in 2009. She later starred in the independent drama Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), and received Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her performance as Nicolle Wallace in the HBO film Game Change (2012).[1] Paulson starred as Mary Epps in the 2013 historical drama film 12 Years a Slave and as Abby Gerhard in the 2015 drama film Carol. Both films received widespread critical acclaim and were nominated for multiple Academy Awards.

In 2011, Paulson began starring in the FX anthology series American Horror Story, playing different characters in each of the show's six seasons. For her work throughout the series, she has been nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards and won two Critics' Choice Television Awards. In 2016, Paulson portrayed real life prosecutor Marcia Clark in the first season of the anthology series American Crime Story, subtitled The People v. O.J. Simpson. For her work in the series, she has been awarded the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

Early life

Paulson was born on December 17, 1974 in Tampa, Florida, to Catharine Gordon (née Dolcater) and Douglas Lyle Paulson II.[4] She lived in South Tampa until she was 5, when her parents divorced.[5] She then spent time in Maine, before moving to New York City at the age of 5 with her mother. She lived in Queens and Gramercy Park, before settling in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She spent her summers in Florida visiting her father.[5] Paulson attended Manhattan's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School[6][7] and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[5]


Paulson at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

Paulson began working as an actress right out of high school. She appeared in the Horton Foote play Talking Pictures at the Signature Theatre, and in an episode of Law & Order in 1994. Paulson then appeared in the Hallmark film Friends at Last (1995) opposite Kathleen Turner. She went on to star in the short-lived television series American Gothic. Paulson then played Elisa Cronkite in The WB comedy-drama series Jack & Jill (1999).[8]

Paulson had a minor role in the HBO series Deadwood and was a focal character in an episode of the critically acclaimed FX series Nip/Tuck. She appeared in the short-lived NBC series Leap of Faith as the main character. In 2004, she had a supporting role in the ABC series The D.A., which ended after only a few episodes. Paulson starred in a revival of The Glass Menagerie on Broadway and has appeared Off-Broadway in Killer Joe, and Colder Than Here. Paulson's film credits include Down with Love, What Women Want, The Other Sister, Levitation, and Serenity.

In the 2006–07 television season, Paulson co-starred in NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip playing Harriet Hayes, one of the stars of the show-within-a-show. This role earned her a nomination for Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film. In December 2008, Paulson appeared in the screen adaptation of Will Eisner's comic book The Spirit, playing an updated version of the character Ellen Dolan.

On August 25, 2008, ABC ordered her pilot Cupid to series. It was a remake of the 1998 series starring Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall. In the new version, Paulson starred opposite Bobby Cannavale. It debuted in late March 2009 on ABC but was cancelled on May 19, 2009, after only six episodes. In February 2010, Paulson portrayed the circa 1982 mother of main character Meredith Grey, on the ABC drama Grey's Anatomy.[9] She played Nicolle Wallace in the HBO film Game Change (2012), based on events of the 2008 U.S. presidential election campaign.

In 2011, Paulson guest starred in three episodes of the FX anthology series American Horror Story, playing medium Billie Dean Howard. Paulson returned for season two, American Horror Story: Asylum, in which she played a new character, Lana Winters, a writer who is committed to an asylum for being gay. She appeared in the third season of the series, titled American Horror Story: Coven as Cordelia Foxx, a witch who runs an academy for other young witches. She appeared in the fourth season of the show, titled American Horror Story: Freak Show, portraying conjoined twin sisters Bette and Dot Tattler. She returned for the fifth season, subtitled Hotel, portraying the role of Hypodermic Sally.[10] She also portrayed Billie Dean Howard again for the last episode of the season. Paulson is currently starring in the sixth iteration of the series, subtitled Roanoke. She portrays British actress Audrey Tindall, who appears in the My Roanoke Nightmare documentary as tortured wife and yoga instructor Shelby Miller.

Paulson has starred in numerous critically acclaimed films. She played the role of Mary Lee in the 2012 film Mud. In 2013, she starred as Mary Epps in the historical drama film 12 Years a Slave. She then portrayed Abby Gerhard in the 2015 romantic drama film Carol.

Paulson has also had a successful theatre career. In 2005, she starred as Laura Wingfield in a revival of Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie alongside Jessica Lange, Josh Lucas, and Christian Slater. In 2010, Paulson starred in Donald Margulies's Collected Stories alongside Linda Lavin. Paulson starred in a revival of Lanford Wilson's Talley's Folly alongside Danny Burstein in 2013.

In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting; in the video, Paulson and others told the stories of the people killed there.[11]

In 2016, Paulson starred in the true crime anthology series American Crime Story. She portrayed prosecutor Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson.[12] She received critical praise for her performance and won multiple awards, including the TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama and her first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her role in the series. In 2016, it was announced that Paulson would be part of the ensemble cast of the upcoming heist film Ocean's Eight. She will also be starring as Geraldine Page in the upcoming drama anthology series Feud.

In October 2016, Ryan Murphy announced that Paulson will direct an episode of one of his television shows, as part of his Half project. Murphy's initiative involves at least half of one of his four projects being directed by women, people of LGBT status, and different ethnicities.[13]

Personal life

Paulson dated actress Cherry Jones from 2004 to 2009.[14] In an interview with in 2013, referring to her sexuality, she said "the situation is fluid for me."[15] Prior to her relationship with Jones, she had only dated men, including playwright Tracy Letts to whom she was engaged.[16] In 2015, Paulson began dating actress Holland Taylor.[17]

At age 25, Paulson developed a melanoma on her back. The mole was later removed before the cancer could spread.[18]


Awards and nominations

See also


  1. 1 2 "Sarah Paulson Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  2. Brantley, Ben (March 23, 2005). "A 'Menagerie' Full of Stars, Silhouettes and Weird Sounds". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  3. Isherwood, Charles (April 29, 2010). "A Literary Life Can Turn Lonely When the Cheering Stops". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  4. "Full text of "Record of the Hampden-Sydney Alumni Association"". Internet Archive.
  5. 1 2 3 Persaud, Babita (March 28, 2002). "A big leap from Tampa". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  6. "A Conversation with Actor: Sarah Paulson". Broadway World. February 4, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  7. Yant, Monica (January 3, 1996). "'Gothic' door to stardom opens Series: CONNECTIONS". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  8. "Sarah Paulson – Movies and Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  9. Ausiello, Michael (January 20, 2010). "Exclusive: 'Grey's Anatomy' recasts Richard and Ellis!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  10. Birnbaum, Debra (October 14, 2015). "'American Horror Story's' Sarah Paulson on That Fall, Lady Gaga and Sally's True Addiction". Variety. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  11. "49 Celebrities Honor 49 Victims of Orlando Tragedy". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  12. Goldberg, Lesley (December 9, 2014). "Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson to Star in FX's 'American Crime Story: People v. O.J. Simpson'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  13. "Why Tonight's American Horror Story Is a Major First for Women in the Franchise". E! Online. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  14. "Cherry Jones, Sarah Paulson Split". Us Weekly. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  15. "Talley's Folly Star Sarah Paulson on Not Starring in Annie, Not Playing Kristin Chenoweth and Not 'Boffing' Jessica Lange". Key Brand Entertainment. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  16. Schulman, Michael (March 2, 2016). "Sarah Paulson Opens Up About Acting, Marcia Clark and Dating Older Women". The New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  17. Webber, Stephanie. "Holland Taylor and Sarah Paulson Have Been Dating for How Long?". Us Weekly. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  18. Allen, Jane E. (June 25, 2002). "Skin Cancer Cases On The Rise Among Teens, Young Adults". Orlando Sentinel.

External links

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