American Horror Story is one of the most unusual TV shows someone can watch today. From the first season to the seventh, we have been disgusted, terrified, and awed at every single episode of this franchise. It has been going on for almost seven years, and we cannot help but hope to see the series return for seven more years and so on. With that much to build on, it is no surprise that American Horror Story is a series that carries a lot of peculiarities and secrets behind the scenes. And while we could go on and on about those little facts, we decided to focus on the actresses who make up the large female cast of the series. We will not focus on a single season, but we will make sure to talk about the actresses who appear in multiple arcs of the series.
Just like their characters on the screen, some of the female members of the American Horror Story cast have crazy stories about their lives that fans should have a chance to hear about. Some of them are terrifying, like battles with cancer and even stories that involve people surviving World War II. Some others are just fun facts about ancestors and family. But at the end of the day, there is no lack of curiosity we can find when looking into the lives of the talented ladies who wear the skins of some of the most troubled characters in the history of television, as is the case with most American Horror Story characters.
15 Sarah Paulson Had Cancer At 25
One of only three actors to appear in every single season of American Horror Story, Sarah Paulson is a sure figure in any ensemble of this terrifying horror series. That being said, Paulson’s run-in with fear did not start with American Horror Story. The sad reality is that she had to face something even more horrible in real life than most of the stuff she has seen on the show.
Paulson was just 25 years old when she was first diagnosed with melanoma. The nightmare started when her fiancé spotted a tiny mole on her back and asked her to see a doctor. The diagnosis came in and, as anyone would expect, she was put under a flurry of emotions. It can’t be easy for a 25-year-old to be told that he/she cancer. Thankfully, when the surgeon removed the mole, he found that the melanoma did not spread to any other parts of her body, and we still get to see her act today.
14 Lily Rabe Is A Dancer
It will only take one episode of American Horror Story for you to realize that Lily Rabe is quite the talented actress. Seriously, this lady portrays emotion like no one else. Still, little did we know that acting is not her only forte. Rabe is actually talented in many other fields, and one of them is dancing.
Before she decided to become an actress, Rabe studied dance for almost 10 years. Funny enough, it was her dancing career that opened up the opportunity to start acting. She was working as a ballet teacher and was asked to perform a monologue. She loved doing it, and the audience was ecstatic. That was enough for Rabe to pause her dancing career and start to study acting. Needless to say, this new venture of hers was extremely successful. She made her screen debut in 2001 and has never looked back. Still, we wouldn’t complain if we got to see her dance in a musical or something like that.
13 Jessica Lange Is One Hell Of An Activist
We are about to go into the eighth season of American Horror Story, but no matter how far we go, we cannot forget how much of a cornerstone of the show Jessica Lange was during the first four seasons. Not only did she play essential characters, but she also fit so well into her role, it was almost ridiculous. Then again, it is not surprising when an actress that has been so good for so long gives the audience a dazzling performance.
Her career is beyond reproach, as Lange has two Academy Awards to her name. Nevertheless, her acting is not the only thing that stands out about her celebrity life. She is also one of the most outspoken actresses in the world. She has done everything from calling George W. Bush’s administration “a self-serving regime of deceit, hypocrisy, and belligerence,” to becoming a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. Back in the ‘90s, she also fostered a child with disabilities from Romania.
12 Taissa Farmiga’s Grandparents Met During WWII
One of the youngest members of the American Horror Story cast, Taissa Farmiga was another one to give the fans some great performances as Violet Harmon in the first season, Zoe Benson in the third, and Sophie Green in the sixth.
And since we are talking about a horror story, we found an interesting fact about Farmiga’s family that we thought you should hear about. It seems like if it wasn’t for the biggest horror story to happen in real life, we might not have had Taissa to play her role in the series. We say that because apparently, her maternal grandparents met during World War II. Not only that. They met at a displaced persons camp in Germany during the war. Yes, how crazy is that?
At the end of the day, we are glad that Nadia and Theodor Spas managed to survive the nightmare. Still, we wonder how they would feel if they knew their granddaughter was an actress in a horror series.
11 Sarah Paulson, The Charity Star
Say what you say about celebrities. These are usually people who go out of their way to try to help others. Some of them might just do it for show, but a lot seem to be genuine in their pursuit to help others live in a better world. One of these people is Sarah Paulson, who has taken part in so many charity and humanitarian causes that it is hard for us to imagine her not being passionate about it.
Seriously, if she was just doing charity for show, would she go as far as helping an organization that has the purpose of bringing clean water to a small community in Ethiopia? That is crazy specific. Most of the people who do charity just to do it, probably just donate to UNICEF and places like that. But now that we have concluded that Paulson does it and likes doing it, we must mention some of the other charitable organizations she supports, which include Planned Parenthood and Heifer International.
10 Frances Conroy Worked With Touring Theatrical Companies
We are almost too tired of hearing about the many times actors and actresses get their big break when they are really young. There are even those who were child actors and managed to maintain celebrity status throughout their entire life. The vast majority of actors and actresses, however, have to grind their way to the top. That was exactly the case with Frances Conroy. If the industry’s cutthroat today, just imagine back in the ‘60s and ‘70s when there were fewer spots and money for people aspiring to be actors.
The way to go back then was usually theater. That was the path Frances Conroy chose. Someone who always loved acting, she started realizing how good she was in college, where she was part of many theatrical productions. After graduating, she moved to New York to study acting and further her career. And this is where it all started, as in the ‘70s, Frances started performing with regional and touring theatrical companies. It was only in the late ‘70s that she made the move to cinema.
9 Kathy Bates Is Talent Personified
Now, as we just mentioned, Frances Conroy had to work in theatrical companies before getting her big break on the big screen. That was the path that most actors and actresses trailed at the time. Still, there were the few who were talented enough that they did not need to wait much to get their chance and reach stardom. Kathy Bates was part of this select group.
This woman is talent personified. While many people moved to LA or New York to try to become actors only to live the rest of their lives going from audition to audition without getting a big break, Kathy just needed one year in New York to land her breakout role. As you all remember, that break happened in 1971 when she was cast as Bobo Bates in Taking off. And let’s just say that Kathy being chosen was no mistake by the people responsible for casting. After all, Bates went on to become one of the greatest actresses of her generation.
8 Lily Rabe’s Reaction To Meeting Stevie Nicks Was Legit
The job of an actor or actress is not easy. Portraying emotions is one of the hardest things there is to do. Not only do you have to convince yourself that you are doing a good job of showing whatever your character is feeling, you must convince an entire audience that those emotions are nothing but the truth. Nevertheless, sometimes acting is not necessary for that. Lily Rabe is a fantastic talent in front of the camera, but there was one particular scene during American Horror Story: Coven in which she didn’t really need to act.
You know what we are talking about. We are referring to that scene when Misty Day meets Stevie Nicks. Spoiler alert, Misty Day instantly passes out when she sees Stevie Nicks inside the house. We all know that Misty is a huge fan of Stevie. But did you know that Lily Rabe is actually even more of a fan?
She gave several interviews in which she said that she actually had to control her emotions not to overdo it in front of the camera.
7 Taissa Farmiga Didn’t Want To Be An Actress
Sometimes, talent runs in the family. At times, it can be hard as you are always being compared to an overachieving parent or sibling. But sometimes, actresses can have great relationships with their other famous family members. That is precisely the case as it pertains to Taissa and Vera Farmiga. Despite the 20-year age difference between the two of them, the two sisters share both a love for each other and an acute talent for acting.
While Taissa is still in the early stages of her career, Vera is a superstar actress who has already been nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. But did you know that if it weren’t for Vera, her little sister would not have been the actress that she is today?
Yes, Taissa apparently had no intention of following her big sister’s footsteps into the acting career. But ultimately, it was Vera who convinced her little sister to make her acting debut during Vera’s own directorial debut in the 2011 drama, Higher Ground.
6 Angela Bassett Is A UNICEF Ambassador
Another American Horror Story standout actress who spends a lot of her time away from the screen helping others is Angela Bassett. Angela was a late addition to the American Horror Story cast, as she got her debut in season three and played a leading role in seasons four, five, and six.
In acting, she is a decorated actress who has a Golden Globe to her name, as well as an Academy Award nomination. But we are here to talk about her charitable endeavors. An activist for human rights and general equality among races and genders, Bassett is always near a microphone talking about the issues she thinks society should focus on. She is an active UNICEF Ambassador to the United States and is consistently attending fundraisers and charitable events. She was also a huge Barack Obama supporter who donated to his presidential campaigns. Other charities Angela supports are Habitat for Humanity and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
5 Paulson’s Scenes As Bette And Dot Took An Eternity To Shoot
Out of all the American Horror Story seasons, Freak Show must have been the toughest one to film. Not only did the makeup artists have their hands full, but all the other departments of the production must have had to work their butts off to get some of the scenes done. More than anything else, the Bette and Dot scenes must have been a nightmare for the production.
Not only did Sarah Paulson have to portray a pair of entirely different characters in the conjoined twins, but filming those scenes took a ridiculous amount of time too. Some reports even say that it could take about 15 hours to shoot a scene with Paulson’s characters. To film those scenes, the production had to make a mold of Sarah’s head and build a pair of prosthetics, one for each character.
“So when Sarah is doing her coverage where she’s Dot, she has on a fake head to her left, which is Bette, and it moves, showrunner Ryan Murphy said. “She will record her dialogue that the other one has and she’ll have an ear wig, so she literally has to do scenes with herself, which is insane. It’s absolutely crazy.”
4 Jessica Lange And Sarah Paulson Saw More Than They Wanted During A Scene
A pair of the most prominent members of the American Horror Story female cast witnessed perhaps the most hilarious blooper in the series during the filming of one of the first scenes in the Asylum arc.
During that season, Evan Peters was playing the character of Kit Walker, and one of the first things that happened to his character was that he had to be disciplined during the first day of filming. Yeah, according to Evan Peters, it all happened during the scene where he gets a spanking from Jessica Lange’s character. He is wearing a hospital gown, and as soon as he bends over so she can smack him in his bum, everything starts hanging.
“I had to wear a c*** sock, right? And since I was wearing a hospital gown, I thought, Well, my front’s not going to be showing. It’s not a big deal,” Peters said. “And when they bent me over [laughs], they could see my b*lls hanging down from the other side. The first day of shooting, and I flash Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson my b*lls. Welcome to American Horror Story. It was ridiculous. I have to put on a c*** sock and sheath my b*lls.”
3 Jessica Lange Is A Great Photographer
So, many actresses have more than one talent. We talked about how Lily Rabe is a great dancer to go along with her skill for acting. Jessica Lange also has a passion that she is really good at outside of acting. She is a gifted photographer.
Seriously, Jessica is such a good photographer that she has had several exhibitions in several different countries around the world. Back in 2008, she published a collection of black-and-white photographs that was entitled “50 photographs.”
Not too long after that, she was given the honor of having her work presented at the oldest international museum of photography and film, the George Eastman House. She even got an award after that. From that point on, she published more collections of photographs and also released a children’s picture book. Internationally, she has had her work exhibited at the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum in 2014. So yes, she is a talented photographer.
2 Kathy Bates’ Great-Great-Grandfather Was Quite The Doctor
A lot of the interesting facts we get from actresses these days also relate to their families, and some even go as far as their oldest relatives and ancestors. It is no secret to anyone that Kathy Bates is one of the most talented actresses of our time, but did you know that her great-great-grandfather was one of the best doctors of his time?
Yes, Kathy Bates’ great-great-grandfather was actually President Andrew Jackson’s doctor. Now, we can say that he was a great doctor because there was no way anyone could save Andrew Jackson by the time he died. The late president passed away at the age of 78, which one can assume was a ridiculously long life back in 1845. Not only that, Jackson passed away as the result of chronic tuberculosis, dropsy, and heart failure. There is just no way we can see someone saving a 78-year-old guy who was fighting that many illnesses simultaneously back in 1845.
1 Jessica Lange Suffered From Depression
So, we might assume that the life of a renowned actress who has made millions and millions of dollars over her career and is recognized as one of the best out there is easy. However, the reality can be very different, as is the case with Jessica Lange. The American Horror Story star who is in her late 60’s has recently opened up and talked about her lifelong battle against depression.
“I had really tremendous mood swings, and still do,” Jessica said. “Though my dark side is dormant right now, it continues to play a big role in whatever capacity I have to be creative.”
According to Jessica herself, as well as some close relatives and friends, the success of American Horror Story, as well as her being single, have helped the actress rise over and win the battle against depression. They say that every time her granddaughters come to visit her in New York City, she loves reading for them and that she lives for those moments.