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  • Writer's pictureAugust Sorenson

Sarah Paulson Is Just Getting Started

Past Student Sarah Paulson has had a career like no other. Finding acting work right out of high school, Ms. Paulson attended the New York branch of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1993 to hone her craft. Following her training she was cast in a production of “Talking Pictures” at the Signature Theatre in New York. As is the rite of passage for many young actors, Paulson’s first screen credit was in a 1994 episode of “Law & Order” titled “Family Values.” From this foundation her career has only blossomed. On numerous occasions being thrust into the limelight, it is no wonder why Sarah Paulson has become one of the most recognizable faces in the entertainment industry.

In much of her work, you can find a certain poise and gravitas. (One reporter referred to her as “more like a no-nonsense female surgeon than a Hollywood actress.”) Television mogul Ryan Murphy shared a similar sentiment when they first met. Noting her professionalism while filming an episode of “Nip/Tuck” in 2004, Murphy said she was “very obsessed and worried about everything.” Since “Nip/Tuck” the pair has become inseparable and routinely collaborate on numerous projects (Paulson enjoys referring to Murphy as her “creative husband”).

Unable to get a role for Paulson on “Glee,” Murphy was urged, at the behest of actress Jessica Lange, to write a part specifically for her on “American Horror Story.” For her work on the show Paulson has earned a cult following and become a staple of the series. (It is the view of many fans and critics that the ninth season titled “1984” suffered considerably without the acting chops of Paulson.) Fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Paulson will return to the tenth season, in all her bone-chilling glory.

No stranger to a period piece, Paulson’s work as Mary Epps in the critically-acclaimed “12 Years a Slave” brought her considerable recognition for her ability to demand attention—a menacing attention—in perfect stillness that beautifully juxtaposes her fellow cast-mates. In a similar vein, find her bringing a chilling calmness to Nurse Mildred Ratched in “Ratched;” the imagined backstory to the villainous nurse from the 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” “Ratched” landed on Netflix in September of 2020, with a second season on its way.

All of this onscreen success hasn’t deterred her from returning to the theatre. In 2005, Paulson starred as Laura Wingfield opposite the likes of Jessica Lange, Christian Slater, and Josh Lucas in the Broadway revival of “The Glass Menagerie.” 5 years later, Paulson originated the role of Lisa Morrison in Donald Margulies’ play “Collected Stories” at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

As Paulson's career continues to bring her accolades and attention, catch her in the tenth season of “American Horror Story,” and as the late Linda Tripp in “Impeachment: American Crime Story.”


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