Sarah Paulson was born on December 17, 1974, in Tampa, Florida, the daughter of Catharine Gordon (née Dolcater) and Douglas Lyle Paulson II. Paulson attended Manhattan's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After beginning her acting career on stage, she starred in the 1990s television series American Gothic (1995–96) and Jack & Jill (1999–2001). Paulson later appeared in comedy films such as What Women Want (2000) and Down with Love (2003), and had dramatic roles in films such as Path to War (2002) and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). From 2006 to 2007, Paulson played the role of Harriet Hayes in the NBC comedy-drama series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, for which she received her first Golden Globe Award nomination. In 2008, she starred as Ellen Dolan in the superhero noir film The Spirit. Paulson has appeared on Broadway in the plays The Glass Menagerie in 2005 and Collected Stories in 2010. She also starred in a number of independent films, and had a leading role on the ABC comedy series Cupid in 2009. She later starred in the independent drama film Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), and received Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for her performance as Nicolle Wallace in the HBO film Game Change (2012). She starred as Mary Epps in the 2013 historical drama film 12 Years a Slave and as Abby Gerhard in the 2015 drama film Carol. Both films received widespread critical acclaim and were nominated for multiple Academy Awards.
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