Rabe was born in 1982 in New York City, New York in the Upper West Side. She is the daughter of playwright David Rabe and actress Jill Clayburgh. She has a younger brother, Michael Rabe, an actor and playwright, and an older half-brother, Jason Rabe, a musician.
On stage, she has appeared in the Broadway revival of Steel Magnolias, and as Portia in the Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice.
She guest-starred on the Ryan Murphy-created "Nip/Tuck" and on three shows in the L&O franchise in unrelated roles; "Law & Order", "Law & Order: SVU, and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent". She was also in two episodes of "Medium" and three episodes of "The Good Wife".
She has two films in development, biopic The First she will play silent film actress and pioneer businesswoman, Mary Pickford and the Phil Joanou directed horror mockumentary The Veil. She returned to TV to star in the ABC sci-fi drama series "The Whispers" in 2015. Unfortunately, it was not picked up for a second season. In 2016, she starred in the comedy-drama film, "Miss Stevens" as the title character.
- Along with Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson, Rabe is one of three cast members to feature in nine seasons of American Horror Story. Her only absence was in Cult.
- Rabe, Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding, Jr. are the only three cast members to appear in all episodes of Roanoke.
- She has played alongside "AHS" co-star Finn Wittrock in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- She received a Tony nomination for her performance as Portia in the Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice.
- Rabe was originally cast to play Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, but dropped out due to prior commitments.
- Rabe has never portrayed a surviving character throughout the show's run. Her characters are always dead like Nora Montgomery, Aileen Wuornos and Lavinia Richter or killed before the end of each season like Sister Mary Eunice, Misty Day and Shelby Miller.
- Lily Rabe is one of the twenty-four cast members that portrayed the same character in different seasons. She portrayed Sister Mary Eunice in Asylum and Freak Show. She also portrayed Misty Day in Coven and Apocalypse.
- Despite two of Rabe's characters having a primary plot surrounding their motherhood, both cases are shown to be significantly flawed. Nora Montgomery is shown to have a lack of maternal instinct and merely obsesses over the loss of her child, whilst Lavinia Richter's sense of favouritism is evident in her treatment of Benjamin and Bobby.
- All of Lily Rabe's characters have killed at least one person.
- Nora Montgomery killed Charles Montgomery; Sister Mary Eunice killed many inhabitants of Briarcliff Manor (including The Mexican); Misty Day was responsible for the deaths of two gator hunters and killed The Axeman; Aileen Wuornos killed seven men; Shelby Miller killed Matt Miller and Lavinia Richter killed many Camp Golden Star staff members.
- Both Nora and Shelby killed their husbands and then, themselves.
- Both Nora and Lavinia killed the people they blamed for their children's death.
- Murder House - Nora Montgomery
- Halloween: Part 1 - Nora Montgomery
- Halloween: Part 2 - Nora Montgomery
- Open House - Nora Montgomery
- Rubber Man - Nora Montgomery
- Birth - Nora Montgomery
- Afterbirth - Nora Montgomery
- Welcome to Briarcliff - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- Tricks and Treats - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- Nor'easter - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- I Am Anne Frank: Part 1 - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- I Am Anne Frank: Part 2 - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- The Origins of Monstrosity - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- Dark Cousin - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- Unholy Night - SIster Mary Eunice McKee
- The Coat Hanger - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- The Name Game - Sister Mary Eunice McKee
- Bitchcraft - Misty Day
- Boy Parts - Misty Day
- The Replacements - Misty Day
- Burn, Witch. Burn! - Misty Day
- The Axeman Cometh - Misty Day
- The Sacred Taking - Misty Day
- Head - Misty Day
- The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks - Misty Day
- Go to Hell - Misty Day
- The Seven Wonders - Misty Day
- Orphans - Mary Eunice McKee
- Chapter 1 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 2 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 3 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 4 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 5 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 6 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 7 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 8 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 9 - Shelby Miller
- Chapter 10 - Shelby Miller
- ↑ Cannes 2012: Lily Rabe to Play Silent Film Star Mary Pickford on Screen.
- ↑ 'Hunger Games' meets 'Game of Thrones': Gwendoline Christie replacing Lily Rabe in 'Mockingjay - Part 2'.