Sarah Paulson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson 12 Years a Slave 55 cropped.jpg
Paulson at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave
BornSarah Catharine Paulson
(1975-12-17) December 17, 1975 (age 38)
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Alma materAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active1994–present
Partner(s)Cherry Jones (2004–2009)[1]
Jump to: navigation, search
Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson 12 Years a Slave 55 cropped.jpg
Paulson at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave
BornSarah Catharine Paulson
(1975-12-17) December 17, 1975 (age 38)
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Alma materAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active1994–present
Partner(s)Cherry Jones (2004–2009)[1]

Sarah Catharine Paulson (born December 17, 1975) is an American film, stage, and television actress. She began acting on stage, and in the 1990s starred in American Gothic (1995–96), and Jack & Jill (1999–2001). She later appeared in comedy films such as What Women Want (2000) and Down with Love (2003), and had dramatic roles in 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 was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.[2] In 2008, she starred as Ellen Dolan in the superhero noir film The Spirit.

Paulson appeared in a Broadway plays The Glass Menagerie in 2005, and Collected Stories in 2010.[3][4] She also starred in the number of made for television movies and 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 Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her performance as Nicolle Wallace in the HBO movie Game Change (2012).[2] In 2011, Paulson began starring in the FX anthology series American Horror Story. For her performance in the second season, she won the Critics' Choice Television Award and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2013.[2] Also in 2013, Paulson starred as Mary Epps in the critically acclaimed historical drama film 12 Years a Slave.

Early life[edit]

Paulson was born in Tampa, Florida, the daughter of Catherine Gordon (née Dolcater) and Douglas Lyle Paulson II.[5] She lived in South Tampa until she was 5, when her parents divorced.[6] She spent time in Maine before moving to New York City at the age of five with her mother. She lived in Queens and Gramercy Park, before settling in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She spent her summers in Florida to visit her father.[6] Paulson attended Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts[7][8] and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.[6]


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 an episode of Law & Order in 1994. Paulson did Friends at Last (1995), a Hallmark movie of the week opposite Kathleen Turner. She then went to North Carolina to appear on the short-lived cult television series American Gothic.[7] Paulson then played Elisa Cronkite on The WB comedy-drama series Jack & Jill (1999).[9]

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 on 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., but that show also ended after 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 movie 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. To date, this is her most notable role, earning 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.

Paulson leaving the Toronto International Film Festival screening of Martha Marcy May Marlene

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 canceled on May 19, 2009, after only 6 episodes aired. In February 2010, Paulson portrayed the circa 1982 mother of main character Meredith Grey, on the hit ABC primetime drama Grey's Anatomy.[10] She plays 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 3 episodes of the FX anthology series American Horror Story, playing a medium, Billie Dean Howard. Paulson returned for season two, American Horror Story: Asylum, in which she played a completely new character, Lana Winters, a writer who is committed to an asylum for being a lesbian. 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. Paulson also co-starred in the 2012 film Mud and the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave.

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.

Personal life[edit]

Paulson dated actress Cherry Jones. In 2007, Paulson and Jones declared their love for each other in an interview with Velvetpark at Women's Event 10 for the LGBT Center of NYC.[11] They broke up in 2009.[12] In an interview with in 2013 during the revival of Talley's Folly, Paulson stated that she only ever dated men before her relationship with Jones, and that she has not been in a relationship since her breakup with Jones, but that she is open to relationships with women and men going forward.[13]



1995Friends at LastDiana (age 21)Television film
1996ShaughnessyUnknownTelevision film
1998Long Way Home, TheThe Long Way HomeLeanne BossertTelevision film
1999Other Sister, TheThe Other SisterHeather Tate
1999Held UpMary
2000What Women WantAnnie
2002Path to WarLuci Baines JohnsonTelevision film
2003Down with LoveVikki Hiller
2005SerenityDr. Caron
2005Notorious Bettie Page, TheThe Notorious Bettie PageBunny Yeager
2006Griffin & PhoenixPeri
2006Christmas Wedding, AA Christmas WeddingEmilyTelevision film
2008Spirit, TheThe SpiritEllen Dolan
2009Whose Dog is it Anyway?EmmaShort film
2010After-School SpecialWomanShort film
2010November ChristmasBeth MarksTelevision film
2011New Year's EveGrace Schwab
2011Martha Marcy May MarleneLucy
2012Stars in ShortsWoman
2012Game ChangeNicolle WallaceTelevision film
2012The Time BeingSarah
2012MudMary Lee
201312 Years a SlaveMistress Mary Epps


1994Law & OrderMaggie ConnerEpisode: "Family Values"
1995–96American GothicMerlyn Temple18 episodes
1997Cracker: Mind Over MurderJanice2 episodes
1998Real LifeLucyEpisode: "Unaired Pilot"
1999–2001Jack & JillElisa Cronkite31 episodes
2000MetropolisAudreyTV pilot
2001Touched by an AngelZoeEpisode: "Manhunt"
2002Leap of FaithFaith Wardwell6 episodes
2004The D.A.Chief Dep. Dist. Attrny. Lisa Patterson2 episodes
2004Nip/TuckAgatha RippEpisode: "Agatha Ripp"
2005DeadwoodMiss Isringhausen9 episodes
2006–07Studio 60 on the Sunset StripHarriet Hayes22 episodes
2008Pretty/HandsomeCorky FrommeTV pilot
2007–11Desperate HousewivesLydia2 episodes
2009CupidClaire McCrae7 episodes
2010Law & Order: Special Victims UnitAnne GilletteEpisode: "Shadow"
2010Grey's AnatomyYoung Ellis GreyEpisode: "The Time Warp"
2011American Horror Story: Murder HouseBillie Dean Howard3 episodes
2012–13American Horror Story: AsylumLana Winters13 episodes
2013–14American Horror Story: CovenCordelia Foxx13 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
2006Satellite AwardsBest Actress – Television Series DramaStudio 60 on the Sunset StripNominated
2007Golden Globe AwardsBest Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmNominated
2011Gotham AwardsBest Ensemble CastMartha Marcy May MarleneNominated
2012Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a MovieGame ChangeNominated
Satellite AwardsBest Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmNominated
2013Golden Globe AwardsBest Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmNominated
Saturn AwardsBest Actress on TelevisionAmerican Horror Story: AsylumNominated
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or MovieWon
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
Independent Spirit AwardRobert Altman AwardMudWon
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association AwardBest Ensemble12 Years a SlaveWon
Southeastern Film Critics AssociationBest EnsembleWon
San Diego Film Critics SocietyBest EnsembleNominated
Phoenix Film Critics SocietyBest EnsembleNominated
Black Film Critics CircleBest EnsembleWon
Detroit Film Critics SocietyBest Ensemble CastNominated
Alliance of Women Film JournalistsBest Ensemble CastNominated
Boston Online Film Critics AssociationBest EnsembleWon
2014Central Ohio Film CriticsBest EnsembleNominated
Georgia Film Critics AssociationBest EnsembleNominated
North Carolina Film CriticsBest Supporting ActressNominated
Black Reel AwardsBest EnsemblePending
Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureNominated


  1. ^ Warn, Sarah (June 7, 2005). "Sarah Paulson in the Spotlight". Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  2. ^ a b c "Sarah Paulson Biography". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  3. ^ Brantley, Ben (March 23, 2005). "A 'Menagerie' Full of Stars, Silhouettes and Weird Sounds". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ Isherwood, Charles (April 29, 2010). "A Literary Life Can Turn Lonely When the Cheering Stops". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Persaud, Babita (March 28, 2002). "A big leap from Tampa". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "A Conversation with Actor: Sarah Paulson". Broadway World. February 4, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ Yant, Monica (January 3, 1996). "'Gothic' door to stardom opens Series: CONNECTIONS". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Sarah Paulson | Movies and Biography - Yahoo Movies". Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  10. ^ Ausiello, Michael (January 20, 2010). "Exclusive: 'Grey's Anatomy' recasts Richard and Ellis!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Cherry Jones & Sarah Paulson, interview Velvetpark". Bing. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Cherry Jones & Sarah Paulson Call It Quits With ‘Happiest Break-Up’". 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  13. ^ "Talley’s Folly Star Sarah Paulson on Not Starring in Annie, Not Playing Kristin Chenoweth and Not 'Boffing' Jessica Lange". Key Brand Entertainment. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 

External links[edit]