American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

Joseph Alberic Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (born May 27, 1970) is an English film and stage actor.


Born on May 27, 1970 in Salisbury, Whiltshire, England, Fiennes was the youngest of six siblings and one half of fraternal twins born to Mark, a farmer and photographer, and author Jennifer Lash. By his own count, Fiennes had changed schools some 14-odd times. When he was 16, he finished school and attended art college in Suffolk, only to switch to working at the National Theatre as a dresser and eventually performing with the Young Vic Youth Theatre. Fiennes received a grant to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and after graduating in 1993, embarked on his performing career in earnest. He spent two seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company. While receiving excellent notices for his performances, including a portrayal of Jesus Christ in Dennis Potter's "Son of Man" (1995), Fiennes was suffering financial distress, paying out more than he was taking in.

Despite the early struggle, he managed to advance his career with turns opposite Helen Mirren in "A Month in the Country" (1994) and Bernard Hill in "A View From the Bridge" (1995). His television acting debut on "The Vacillations of Poppy Carew" (ITV, 1995) was followed with a noted performance as a young gay man in Bernardo Bertolucci's romantic drama "Stealing Beauty" (1996). Following well-regarded theatrical turns, Fiennes gained gained notoriety when he landed leading roles in "The Very Thought of You" in 1998, and as Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester in the somewhat controversial biopic "Elizabeth" (1998). In this version, directed by Shekhar Kapur, the relationship between the monarch and her favorite is depicted as a carnal one, which belied the established history.

Fiennes was launched to international stardom with his next film, "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), in which he played a lovesick William Shakespeare struggling to write his plays. Continuing to take on roles in independent films rather than reach for superstardom, Fiennes continued working on television as well.[1]

Work on American Horror Story[]

Fiennes joined the second season of Ryan Murphy's popular horror series, "American Horror Story: Asylum", where he played Monsignor Timothy Howard, "an ambitious priest in 1964 who founded a sanitarium run by a sadistic nun (Jessica Lange)". His casting was announced amidst the shocking revelation that the second season will revolve around a different story than the first season.[2]

Joseph Fiennes is one of the performers who opted to do one season and not return.[3]



Episode appearances for Joseph Fiennes
Story or Series Character Episodes
Asylum Monsignor Timothy Howard