She also played junkie ghost Sally McKenna in the fifth season, Hotel, and reprised her role as psychic medium Billie Dean Howard. In Roanoke, she plays Audrey Tindall, an actress portraying as Shelby Miller in the horrific documentary "My Roanoke Nightmare".
She was the leading character, Ally Mayfair-Richards, a woman facing her phobias, in Cult. In Apocalypse, she's Wilhemina Venable, a hostile woman remolding the dying world with horrors. She also primarily reprised her role as Cordelia Goode, the headmistress of Miss Robichaux's Academy and the current Supreme. In February, Ryan Murphy confirmed her return for Season 10.
Paulson was born in Tampa, Florida, the daughter of Catharine Gordon (née Dolcater) and Douglas Lyle Paulson II. She lived in South Tampa until she was 5 when her parents divorced. 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. Paulson attended Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
She dated actress Cherry Jones, the couple declaring their love for each other in 2007, during an interview with Velvetpark at Women's Event 10 for the LGBT Center of NYC. They broke up in 2009. In an interview with Broadway.com in 2013 during the revival of Talley's Folly, Paulson stated that she only 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.
Sarah's first recurring television role was on the creepy 90s series American Gothic as Merlyn Temple, a ghost who served as a guide to her little brother Caleb. She would later co-star as Elisa Cronkite in the short-lived romantic comedy series Jack & Jill. In 2002 she played the titular character in Leap of Faith. She played the Pinkerton agent posing as a tutor on the original HBO series Deadwood and Harriet Hayes in the Aaron Sorkin comedy series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. She also starred in the 2009 reboot of the 1998 Jeremy Piven series Cupid opposite Bobby Cannavale. Paulson is known for working closely with Ryan Murphy. Before American Horror Story, in Nip/Tuck and Pretty/Handsome. She later starred in the sister series American Crime Story in 2016 and in the 10-part miniseries, Feud in 2017.
In 2018, she starred in the American heist-comedy movie created by Gary Ross, Ocean's 8.
- Along with Evan Peters and Lily Rabe, Paulson is one of three cast members to feature in nine seasons of American Horror Story. Her only absence was in 1984.
- Sarah Paulson is one of the twenty-four cast members that portrayed the same character in different seasons. Thus far, Sarah is the only member of the cast to portray three different full-fledged characters in two different seasons.
- Paulson, Evan Peters and Jessica Lange are the only three characters to appear in all episodes of Asylum. Paulson, Lange, Taissa Farmiga and Emma Roberts are the only four cast members to appear in all episodes of Coven. In addition, Paulson, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Lily Rabe are the only three cast members to appear in all episodes of Roanoke, Paulson and Peters are the only two cast members to appear in all episodes of Cult, and Paulson and Kathy Bates are the only two cast members to appear in all episodes of Apocalypse.
- Paulson intially had the unique honor of surviving every season. In a subversion trope, her survival is no longer a guarantee starting from the fifth season.
- Paulson has a lisp.
- She can also be considered a singer as she has recorded songs for Freak Show.
- Over the eight seasons, she portrayed three LGBT+ characters: Lana Winters, Sally McKenna and Ally Mayfair-Richards.
- Sarah starred in the TV series Leap of Faith with Lily Rabe's mother, Jill Clayburgh.
- Sarah Paulson worked with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Connie Britton on another Ryan Murphy show, American Crime Story.
- She made her directory debut in the sixth episode of Apocalypse, "Return to Murder House" which marked the crossover between the eighth and first seasons.
- FX NETWORKS - American Horror Story: All Sarah Paulson Characters, Ranked by Evilness.
- Welcome to Briarcliff - Lana Winters
- Tricks and Treats - Lana Winters
- Nor'easter - Lana Winters
- I Am Anne Frank: Part 1 - Lana Winters
- I Am Anne Frank: Part 2 - Lana Winters
- The Origins of Monstrosity - Lana Winters
- Dark Cousin - Lana Winters
- Unholy Night - Lana Winters
- The Coat Hanger - Lana Winters
- The Name Game - Lana Winters
- Spilt Milk - Lana Winters
- Continuum - Lana Winters
- Madness Ends - Lana Winters
- The Replacements - Cordelia Foxx
- Fearful Pranks Ensue - Cordelia Foxx
- Burn, Witch, Burn! - Cordelia Foxx
- The Axeman Cometh - Cordelia Foxx
- The Dead - Cordelia Foxx
- The Sacred Taking - Cordelia Foxx
- Head - Cordelia Foxx
- The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks - Cordelia Foxx
- Protect the Coven - Cordelia Foxx
- Go to Hell - Cordelia Foxx
- The Seven Wonders - Cordelia Foxx
- Monsters Among Us - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Massacres and Matinees - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Edward Mordrake: Part 1 - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Edward Mordrake: Part 2 - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Pink Cupcakes - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Bullseye - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Test of Strength - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Tupperware Party Massacre - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Orphans - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Magical Thinking - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Show Stoppers - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Curtain Call - Bette and Dot Tattler
- Checking In - Sally McKenna
- Chutes and Ladder - Sally McKenna
- Mommy - Sally McKenna
- Devil's Night - Sally McKenna
- Room Service - Sally McKenna
- The Ten Commandments Killer - Sally McKenna
- She Gets Revenge - Sally McKenna
- Battle Royale - Sally McKenna
- Be Our Guest - Sally McKenna / Billie Dean Howard
- Chapter 1 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 2 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 3 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 4 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 5 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 6 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 7 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 8 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 9 - Audrey Tindall
- Chapter 10 - Audrey Tindall / Lana Winters
- Election Night - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- Neighbors From Hell - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- 11-9 - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- Holes - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- Mid-Western Assassin - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins: Scumbag - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- Winter of Our Discontent - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- Drink the Kool-Aid - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- Charles (Manson) in Charge - Ally Mayfair-Richards / Susan Atkins
- Great Again - Ally Mayfair-Richards
- The End - Ms. Wilhemina Venable
- The Morning After - Ms. Wilhemina Venable
- Forbidden Fruit - Ms. Wilhemina Venable / Cordelia Goode
- Could It Be... Satan? - Cordelia Goode
- Boy Wonder - Cordelia Goode
- Return to Murder House - Billie Dean Howard
- Traitor - Cordelia Goode
- Sojourn - Cordelia Goode / Ms. Wilhemina Venable
- Fire and Reign - Ms. Wilhemina Venable / Cordelia Goode
- Apocalypse Then - Ms. Wilhemina Venable / Cordelia Goode
- ↑ Evan Peters portrayed seven characters in Cult, but six of them were brief on-screen representations of the stories Kai told his followers or hallucinations.