Sarah Catherine Paulson is an American actress known for her work in several TV series, such as 'American Gothic' and 'Jack & Jill'. Her amazing performance in 'The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story', where she played a public prosecutor, earned her several awards including an Emmy. Born in Tampa, Florida, she began her acting career as a teenager right after she passed out of high school. She came to popularity during the 1990s through her appearance in TV series such as 'Law & Order' and 'American Gothic'. Some of the most successful works in her TV career were her performances in popular shows like 'American Horror Story', 'Strip' and 'Game Change'. Paulson has also appeared in a few films. She played a supporting role in the popular drama film '12 Years a Slave'. The film was a huge hit and won three Oscars. She also played a significant role in the romantic drama 'Carol' which was also a huge success and received six Oscar nominations.
Childhood & Early Life
Sarah Catherine Paulson was born on 17th December 1974, in Tampa, Florida, in the US to Catharine Gordon and Douglas Lyle Paulson II. Her parents divorced when Sarah was a small child.
When she was five, she moved with her mother to New York City, where she spent most of her early years. Paulson studied at the Manhattan's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and later at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
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Sarah Paulson first appeared in a play 'Talking Pictures' by the American playwright Horton Foote. Her first appearance on TV was in 'Law and Order,' a popular American crime drama series. Her first significant role on TV was in 'American Gothic,' a horror series that aired on the CBS network from September 1995 to July 1996.
Her first major role on the big screen was in the 1997 comedy drama film 'Levitation' where she played the lead role.
Her next significant role on TV was in the comedy drama series 'Jack & Jill'. The show aired from September 1999 on the WB network. It ran till April 2001 covering two seasons in total.
In 2005 she appeared in 'The Glass Menagerie' a play by the famous American playwright Tennessee Williams. The following year, she was seen in her next significant TV project 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'. Written and created by Aaron Sorkin, the show was aired on the NBC network and ran for less than a year.
Over the following years she appeared in supporting roles in movies, such as 'Griffin and Phoenix' (2006) and 'The Spirit' (2008). In 2009, she played an important role in the American comedy drama series 'Cupid' which aired on the ABC network. The show was however cancelled after only seven episodes.
In 2011, she played a small role in the first season of 'American Horror Story' a horror anthology series, where each season has a different storyline and different characters.
She has appeared in all seven seasons so far, playing interesting characters and giving brilliant performances. She received several nominations for the Emmy awards for her role.
Continuing her work in films, she played supporting roles in movies, such as 'The Time Being' (2012), '12 Years a Slave' (2013), 'Carol' (2015), and 'Rebel in the Rye' (2017). In 2016, she appeared in the first season of the anthology series 'American Crime Story.' The show was quite appreciated and Paulson's performance was also remarkable, for which she won an Emmy Award.
Sarah Paulson played many different roles in the seven different seasons of ‘American Horror Story’, a horror anthology series, which is loosely inspired by true events. Paulson is also one of the three actors to have appeared in all the seasons so far. The show was a huge hit and received positive reviews from critics. Paulson received four nominations for the Emmy Awards for her performance.
’12 Years a Slave’, an Oscar winning American drama film can be regarded as one of the most important works of Sarah Paulson. Directed by Steve McQueen, the story revolves around an African American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He had to work in plantations in the American state of Louisiana for a period of twelve years before being released. The film was a commercial success, and also received a lot of appreciation from critics. It won three Academy Awards.
Paulson appeared in an important role in the 2015 British American romantic drama ‘Carol’. Directed by Todd Haynes, the film also starred Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Jake Lacy, and Kyle Chandler. Loved by both critics and audience alike, the film became not just a commercial success, but was also critically acclaimed. It won several awards and nominations. It received six Oscar nominations as well.
Paulson played an important role in ‘The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story’ which was the first season of ‘American Crime Story’, a crime anthology series. Created by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the show started airing from February 2016. The show became a huge success, and was loved by both critics and audience. It has also received several significant awards. Paulson’s role was quite appreciated and it won her an Emmy.
Awards & Achievements
Sarah Paulson has received several awards for her work in films as well as TV. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her role in ‘The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story’ in 2016. She also won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for the same role.
She has won several other awards as well, which includes two Satellite Awards and one Screen Actors Guild Award.
Sarah Paulson is bisexual. She was once engaged to playwright Tracy Letts. After their engagement broke, she dated Cherry Jones from 2004 to 2009. Since 2015, she has been dating actress Holland Taylor, who is her senior by 32 years.
At the age of 25, she had developed a melanoma on her back. However, it was successfully removed before the cancer could spread.