Sarah Paulson is an American actress who shot to fame following her roles in the FX anthology series American Horror Story. That’s not to say that she wasn’t doing amazing work before she landed her part on AHS. This talented actress started her career in the nineties doing stage work and acting in the American Gothic series.
Following the turn of the millennium, her career went from strength to strength and she acted in movies such as What Women Want (2000) and Down With Love (2003). She started to get noticed in Hollywood and was offered a role in the TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which ran from 2006 until 2007. It was this role that earned Sarah her first Golden Globe nomination. Her big break came in 2011 when she started working on American Horror Story, where she plays a different character in each season.
Sarah hasn’t been immune to controversy either and mostly it has to do with her sexuality– particularly the fact that she likes to date women much older than herself. There were even rumors at one stage that she was dating her AHS co-star Jessica Lange but Sarah has confirmed that they are just really good friends.
Here are 15 more things you probably didn’t know about Sarah Paulson:
15 Fan Tattoos?
Sarah Paulson’s fans love her. No, they really love her. So much that they’ll even get her lines inked onto their bodies.
Paulson says that American Horror Story was the first series that she acted in that had such a huge audience, many of whom became obsessed with the show. Yes, AHS really catapulted her into the spotlight.
She describes an encounter with a fan who approached her in the lobby of a theater. She came up to Sarah and rolled up her sleeve to reveal a tattoo inked in Paulson’s own handwriting. Turns out she was asked to write out the text and it was copied to a tattoo. And the text? “I’M TOUGH... BUT I’M NO COOKIE" – a line Lana says in AHS: Asylum.
14 She Loves The Variety of Her Job
During an interview with Glamour, Sarah confessed that one of the things she couldn’t imagine doing was getting up every day and wearing a pantsuit. She said “Then I think, God if I had to put that pantsuit on every day for six years, I'd be really tired of it. I'm saying that because I've had such an extensive costume life on American Horror Story. Two heads, different appendages, it's been very wild.”
She went on to say that while she admires actresses who play the same character for years and years, and who are able to explore the depths of that character she loves playing a new role every season. We can see the appeal!
13 She Dedicated Her Emmy To Marcia Clark
Playing a real living person must be pretty difficult and as you can imagine there would be plenty of pressure to get the portrayal of them just right. That’s how it was for Sarah when she played the role of the prosecutor Marcia Clark in American Crime Story. Sarah met Marcia Clark on the set while filming and couldn’t stop gushing about how much she admired her.
So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that when she was awarded an Emmy for this role in 2016, she dedicated it to Marcia saying, “The responsibility of playing a real person is an enormous one. You want to get it right, not for you, but for them.” And where was Marcia during this awards ceremony? In the audience! That’s right, Sarah took her along as her plus one.
12 When Asked About Her Lips...
Sarah looks outstanding for an actress in her forties, but like a lot of other actresses, she’s had to endure rumors about alleged plastic surgery. Her lips were the source of a lot of controversy with many people saying that they have been surgically enhanced.
Sarah has responded to these rumors saying that her lips are all her own and are the same way now that they were when she was in high school. But that doesn’t mean that she’s unrealistic about aging either. In an interview with Elle in 2015, she said this about plastic surgery, “I know exactly what's going to happen with my face. And it's not going to be good. But I don't feel like I have to go around saying, "God, I'm so excited about aging" to not go and carve up my face.”
11 She Refuses To Watch The Shows She Acts In
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Sarah admitted that she no longer watches any of her shows. She said, “I’m in this new kick of never watching anything I do anymore. I haven’t watched O.J., I didn’t watch my Sally [on AHS: Hotel]. I haven’t watched Season 6 [of American Horror Story] so far.” But what is her reason for this? Is she just tired of seeing herself?
She says that it was her role on American Crime Story that prompted her to stop watching her performances. She said that she decided that rather than rip it to shreds, she would just let go and enjoy the positive feedback. She felt it was better to let her work stand on its own. Pretty good advice actually.
10 Her Relationships
When questioned about her sexuality, Paulson simply replied “the situation is fluid for me”. Up until 2003 Paulson only dated men, and was even engaged for a short time to playwright, Tracy Letts. After they split she became romantically involved with actress Cherry Jones (Erin Brockovich). They dated for five years before breaking up in 2009.
From 2015 up to now Sarah has been in a relationship with another actress, Holland Taylor (The Practice). The age difference between the two has raised quite a few eyebrows. Paulson is 41 while Holland is 73, making Sarah 32 years younger than her girlfriend. In a 2015 radio interview Sarah has acknowledged the public's surprise, but just laughed it off and said that she was pretty surprised herself. Good for you, Sarah.
9 Ocean's Eight
Sarah is scheduled to appear in an Ocean's Eleven spin-off called Ocean's Eight, scheduled for release in 2018. Following Bernie Mac’s death in 2008 it was thought that no more sequels would be made, but Ocean's Eight isn’t quite a sequel...
In this film, the crew will be all female, led by Sandra Bullock, who plays the role of Danny Ocean's sister. As well as Paulson, other actresses who will play in the movie are Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Dakota Fanning. So far the only cast member from the original trilogy who has confirmed that he will play in Ocean's Eight is Matt Damon who will reprise his role as Linus Caldwell. Principal filming for the flick began in New York in October 2016– we can’t wait to see the finished product!
8 She's An AHS Favorite And Played In All 6 Seasons
Sarah is the only actress who has appeared in all six seasons of American Horror Story. Because each season tells a different story, she has acted in a number of roles during this time. In AHS: Murder House she had a supporting role as Billy Dean Howard, a kooky medium. In season two– Asylum– she played a more central role as the reporter, Lana Winters, who ends up imprisoned at a gruesome asylum because she is gay.
In AHS: Coven, she once again had a leading role as Cordelia Foxx, the owner of the academy for young witches, and then in AHS: Freak Show she was back as conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler. In the fifth season, Hotel, she was drug addict, Sally, and in the latest season, My Roanoke Nightmare, she plays a British actress.
7 Internet Bullies Once Drove Her Off Twitter
During an interview in 2013, Sarah was asked about her recent absence from Twitter and what had brought her back. She confessed that while she had been kept away by internet bullies, who posted mean comments about her looks and ridiculed her barely noticeable lisp. After she appeared as Lana Winters in AHS: Asylum she gained a lot of popularity and got some much needed positive feedback. She said it was this positivity that made her feel safe enough to return to the popular social media platform.
It’s easy to think that all actors have thick skin but this just goes to show that they are people just like everyone else. They also have feelings and the people that mock them are probably dissatisfied with their own lives. Sarah is such a nice person that although she has a huge following on Twitter she regularly replies to her fans' comments about her.
6 AHS: Hotel and American Crime Story Were Filmed Simultaneously
Sarah is a talented actress and very much in demand. That’s probably why in 2015 she decided to take on two jobs at the same time– with characters that could not have been further apart. In American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson, she took on the role of real-life prosecutor, Marcia Clark, which involved a professional style. At the same time, she was also playing drug addict, Sally in American Horror Story: Hotel.
If you’ve seen both shows you can imagine that this was quite a lot of work for the makeup artists. In fact, when she had finished filming AHS: Hotel and went over to the Crime Story set, they would need to first remove all the needle pricks, bruises, and track marks she had from playing Sally.
5 Her Best Friend
Sarah Paulson met her best friend, Amanda Peet, on the set of the 90s sitcom Jack and Jill, and within minutes of meeting they were already giggling together. The two have been close ever since. You’ll remember Amanda Peet from movies such as The Whole Nine Yards and Something’s Gotta Give.
In 2006, Amanda and Sarah found themselves working together again on Sunset Strip. Over the years they have remained close, and now they live just four minutes apart. And as if that isn’t enough, they admit they talk on the phone up to eight times a day as well. They even have a little nickname; they each call one another “Bird”. One could almost think that it could be more than friendship, but Peet is happily married to David Benioff; co-creator of Game of Thrones.
4 Playing The Twins In AHS Freak Show
Co-creator of AHS Ryan Murphy has praised Sarah for her remarkable work on the set of AHS: Freak Show, which went on to become one of the franchises most successful instalments.
Sarah played two roles in the season, namely those of Bette and Dot Tattler; conjoined twins with one body and two heads. She did extensive research and was able to give both girls unique personalities and traits and portrayed them each as individuals, even going so far as to develop a walk that would be in keeping with such a deformity.
While other scenes took, on average, 5 hours to film scenes that included Sarah took up to 15 hours as she would first need to record dialogue for one girl and then the other.
3 Working With Cate Blanchett
During the filming of Carol (2015), Paulson was required to drive a stick shift 1950s era car during a scene she did with Cate Blanchett. In the romantic drama flick, Sarah plays the role of Abby, the best friend of the main character, Carol, played by Blanchett. Sarah, who is used to automatic cars only, was given two days to learn her way around the gear shift.
Sarah admitted that she was extremely concerned about getting it right– adding that she didn’t want to accidentally kill Cate– who had just won an Oscar for Blue Jasmine. But she got it right and both her and the Best Actress lived to tell the tale. The movie has since gone on to be named the best LGBT of all time by the British Film Institute.
2 Next Career Move?
Ryan Murphy, co-creator of American Horror Story, has an initiative known as his Half Project. What this means is that he strives to have at least half of his projects directed by women, people of the LGBT status, and those of different ethnicities, in order to find talent among these groups. In October 2016, he excitedly announced that Sarah Paulson will direct an episode of one of his four television shows. Who knows, maybe this will be the next career move for this talented lady?
For the first time in 2016, AHS fans got to watch an episode of the show directed by a woman. And not just any woman either, but the exceptionally talented Angela Basset. She took the reins to direct episode 6 of the most recent instalment, American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare.
1 She's An Award-Winning Actress
Sarah started her career as most young actresses do; in the theater. Since then she has appeared in more than 27 movies and in 22 TV shows. Apart from becoming a household name, she is also being recognized by Hollywood for her acting skills. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for one of her earliest roles in NBC series Sunset Strip. For her work in American Horror Story, she was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards and won two Critics Choice Television Awards.
She’s also been recognized for her role as Marcia Clark in American Crime Story, she won 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 in 2016.