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Frances Conroy (born November 13, 1953) is an American actress and a mainstay of American Horror Story. She portrayed the older version of Moira O'Hara on the first season, subtitled Murder House, the Angel of Death Shachath in Asylum, councilor witch Myrtle Snow in Coven, and socialite Gloria Mott in Freak Show. After being absent from the show in its fifth entry, Conroy portrayed an actress re-enacting Mama Polk for the in-universe show "My Roanoke Nightmare" in the sixth season, Roanoke. She returned with another dark role as cultist Bebe Babbitt in Cult.

Ryan Murphy confirmed Frances Conroy's return to the show in its eighth season, titled Apocalypse. [1] She is expected to make an appearance reprising her roles as Myrtle Snow from Coven as well as Moira O'Hara from Murder House.

Background

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.

Career

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.

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.

Frances Conroy in American Horror Story

In 2011, she was cast in a new drama series for FX entitled American Horror Story: Murder House. Conroy was one of two actresses, the other being Alexandra Breckenridge, playing the housekeeper and maid named Moira O'Hara of the Murder House. 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 for the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie category.

For the second season, subtitled Asylum, Conroy re-joined the cast playing 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 as well as Fiona Goode's rival. 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 entitled Freak Show, as Gloria Mott, again in the main cast, a wealthy woman whose son wishes to join the titular troupe. Hotel marks Conroy's only absence from the show, but she later appeared in the sixth season of the series; Roanoke, in a special guest capacity, as the cruel matriarch of the Polk family, Mama Polk, in the re-enactment half of the season. In the seventh season of the series, Cult, Frances appears once again as a special guest star, as Bebe Babbitt, a sinister extremist lurking in the shadows of cult leaders.

She is expected to make an appearance in the upcoming eighth season of the series, entitled Apocalypse, reprising her roles as Myrtle Snow from Coven as well as Moira O'Hara from Murder House.

To date, she and actress Lily Rabe are the only repertory cast members to appear in all-but-one seasons of the show, Hotel marking Conroy's only absence from the series.

Notes

  • Frances Conroy's characters are more often than not antagonistic to Jessica Lange's. The first example is given by the maid Moira O'Hara, who was forced into an affair by Constance Langdon's husband, Hugo, leading to animosity between the two women even after Moira and Hugo were both shot dead by Constance. Later in season three, the two actresses portrayed the rival witches, Myrtle Snow, and Fiona Goode. In the fourth season, American socialite Gloria Mott was blatantly contemptuous towards Fräulein Elsa Mars. Although not openly hostile, in the second season Shachath gave the death kiss to Sister Jude.
  • Frances Conroy has twice portrayed the mother of Finn Wittrock's character in the series, first in Freak Show as Gloria Mott to Wittrock's Dandy Mott and second in Roanoke as Mama Polk to Wittrock's Lot Polk.

Gallery

References

  1. Ryan Murphy Confirms the Return of Beloved AHS Repertory Company for S8:Apocalypse on Twitter (@MrRPMurphy) (2018-08-07).