Lily Rabe on her role as "Nora Montgomery"

"It's like getting to play two parts," Rabe says of the difference between dead "Nora" and put-upon, turn-of-the-century "Nora". "Death has changed her. Her suffering has so tremendously changed her."

Rabe, a Tony-nominated theater actress and the daughter of the late Jill Clayburgh, was brought in to American Horror Story specifically by series' boss, Ryan Murphy, who wrote the part of Nora especially for her. Clayburgh, appeared in Murphy's film adaptation of Running With Scissors and received an Emmy nomination for her guest work on Nip/Tuck. "He's so innovative. Everything Ryan does changes the face of television," Rabe says. "He's one of those people who, if he told me to stand on my head, I would just do it. I believe all he said to me about this part initially was, 'You're gonna love it. It's a fabulous part. Her name is 'Nora'. At the time I was playing 'Nora' in A Doll's House, so it also felt like a bit of kismet."

And as for what "Nora" is after now, both she and "Constance" have vested interests in what happens to the house and whatever is growing inside of "Vivien", all revolving around family matters. Rabe says Murphy's more than made good on his promise that "Nora" would allow the actress to stretch all her acting muscles, from wicked to vulnerable. "While 'Nora' was awful and even abusive toward her husband because of what happened to them, in the present, she's sort of the most heart-breaking thing," Rabe says. "She's broken. She's been living in pain for literally decades and decades."[1]


  1. Martin, Denise, "American Horror Story's Lily Rabe on Nora's Heartbreak, Head Wound", 15 Nov 2011, TV Guide

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