Frances Conroy (born November 13, 1953) is an American actress. She portrayed the older version of Moira O'Hara on the first season of American Horror Story, Shachath in Asylum, Myrtle Snow in Coven, Gloria Mott in Freak Show and Mama Polk in Roanoke. She is best known for her role as "Ruth Fisher" on Six Feet Under, which earned her a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award.
Conroy was born in Monroe, Georgia, the daughter of Ossie Hardman (née Ray) and Vincent Paul Conroy. Her father, who was of Irish descent, was a business executive and her mother also worked in business. During the 1971–72 school year she was a student at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the Mermaid Players and appeared in college theatrical productions. She moved to New York City to study drama at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Juilliard School. She was a member of Juilliard's Drama Division Group 6 (1973–1977) which also included Kevin Conroy, Kelsey Grammer, Harriet Sansom Harris, and Robin Williams.
During the 1970s, Conroy performed regularly with regional and touring theatrical companies, most notably "The Acting Company", and appeared as "Desdemona" in a production of Othello (with Richard Dreyfuss and Raul Julia) at the Delacorte Theatre. One of her first film appearances was as a Shakespearean actress in Woody Allen's, Manhattan (1979). She made a very well-received Broadway debut in 1980, acting in Edward Albee's The Lady From Dubuque.
In 1992, Conroy became friends with playwright Arthur Miller, leading to her involvement in many of his productions on both stage and screen. During this time, she appeared on television, mini-series, and made-for-TV movies, where she met and married fellow actor Jan Munroe.
Frances in AHS
In 2011, she was cast in a new drama series for FX entitled American Horror Story: Murder House. Conroy was one of two actress, the other being Alexandra Breckenridge, playing a woman named Moira O'Hara. When the season came to an end in 2011, it was announced that the show was intended to be an anthology series, in which each season would be completely different with new characters each season. During this time, Conroy was nominated for a fifth Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie category.
For the second season, dubbed Asylum, Conroy re-joined the cast playing the The Angel of Death in a multi-episode arc. And in 2013, Conroy once again was cast in the third season, Coven, this time part of the main cast, playing Myrtle Snow, a member of the Witches Council in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was subsequently nominated for a sixth Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. Conroy was also in the fourth season of the series, entitled Freak Show, as Gloria Mott, a wealthy woman whose son wishes to join the titular troupe. American Horror Story: Hotel marks Conroy's only absence from the show, as she appeared in the sixth season of the series; Roanoke as the cruel matriarch of the Polk family, Mama Polk.