A VERY happy B-day to Sarah Paulson, who has recently given us American Horror Story fans two amazing characters (so far!) on American Horror Story. Remember her from Season 1? Her character was the “Lee Press-On Nails Psychic” (As Zach Quinto‘s catty character in S1 referred to her), Billie Dean Howard–who was wrong about some things, like the Roanoke/Croatoan spell …but really could communicate with the spirits of the dead, and there was certainly no fucking shortage of those on Season One. After her character was introduced, she explained, “this is a very crowded house”). Currently, she’s best known for her role in American Horror Story Asylum as perhaps the most unlucky reporter of all time, Lana Winters.*
She’s also played many other genre roles; you may also remember her as Merlyn Temple from Raimi‘s sadly short-lived horror series in the 90s called American Gothic. I first rented it just to see a sizzling hot Bruce Campbell play a fairly serious one-shot role in the episode “Meet The Beetles” (he ended up getting eaten by said beetles, but looked pretty goddamned fine before that), but started with the pilot and was completely hooked–and scared as hell–well before Bruce showed up. Sarah Paulson, always great in dark, nightmarish material, has been cast in a wide variety of roles that many talented performers with less flexible careers might even envy. She played a pretty demanding dramatic role as Agatha Ripp, a rock-bottom meth whore with mysterious stigmata that freaked out even Dr. Christian Troy on that first, other frequently sick and twisted FX drama Nip/Tuck (which I believe was the first project Ryan Murphy cast her in). It was a difficult role and she nailed it; a less gifted actress could have easily gotten wrong and driven her character –and the whole episode– off a cliff.
We Deadwood fans won’t forget that she played a pretty nasty, cold-blooded character in S2– a “Pinkerton” woman in black whom even bad-ass
motherfu Al Sweragean (Ian McShane …oh wait, that’s right, you might recall his trivial, bland, harmless role on the Christmas episode of American Horror Story Asylum) was concerned about as a threat. The spectacular HBO show was mainly a historical drama (with plenty of crime and corruption), but also had some very dark moments indeed; “A Hell Of A Place To Make Your Fortune,” was one of our favorite taglines. She also played pin-up turned pin-up photographer icon Bunny Yeager (a personal heroine of ours) in the fairly true-to-life big screen biopic The Notorious Bettie Page. She had (and continues to have) an amazing range, and those credits were just off the top of my head; go to her page on the IMDB and you’ll realize you’ve seen her in many other roles before– more than you think. WAY more. She does have a memorable face, but her roles are so successfully, wildly different that sometimes you don’t figure out it was Sarah Paulson playing them until it hits you much later.
Here’s a piece where she’s interviewed about her role as Billie Dean from American Horror Story Season One (AKA “Murder House”) and whether anything scary happened on the set or not…
Here she is in her first interview to the gay press with new SheWired contributor, her sister Rachel Paulson. It’s a good watch (unless you’re homophobic, which I doubt) whether you’re a fan of American Horror Story or just a fan of Ms. Paulson.
Thanks to http://www.shewired.com/.
And of course, I had to add something with her playing Lana Winters. Here’s a pretty creepy (but very well put-together) piece featuring her… interactions… with Dr. Thredson/Bloody Face. Enjoy (if that is the appropriate word) this video!
OK, here’s one more. Watch her break that photo of Wendy over Dr. T’s sociopathic, shitty head just one more time!
Here’s wishing the talented, entertaining, and glowing (see the below photo and just try telling us she’s not radiant in person) Ms. Paulson a n especially happy birthday …and many, many more!**
*who I hope to hell catches up with Dr. Thredson really soon, and not the other way around.
**and I hope her character Lana also has many, many birthdays left to celebrate and dies of old age, after living long enough to take out Thredson AND, we’re hoping, his equally monstrous NEW Bloody Face son. But let’s save theories for later–and are they ever coming!