Lily Rabe

Lily Rabe

Rotten Tomatoes: Movies

The daughter of playwright David Rabe and actress Jill Clayburgh, Lily Rabe was born in New York City and spent her childhood in Bedford, NY. She attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and later went on to pursue her college degree at Northwestern. She graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre. After college Rabe returned to New York City where she took roles in local theater including a series of one-act plays mounted by the Naked Angels theater company. Rabe made her debut on Broadway in 2005, playing Annelle in the stage revival of "Steel Magnolias," a performance which garnered her a Drama Desk Award nomination. In 2006 Rabe played Ellie in a production of George Bernard Shaw's play "Heartbreak House," mounted by the Roundabout Theatre Company. Rabe's big screen debut came when she played the role of Tess in "Never Again" (2001), a movie starring her mother. In 2003 Rabe appeared as a student in the ensemble drama "Mona Lisa Smile." In 2007 Rabe was cast in a minor role in the Catherine Zeta-Jones romantic comedy "No Reservations." In 2008 Rabe appeared in two episodes of the TV series "Medium" (NBC/CBS 2005-2011), which starred Patricia Arquette. In 2011 Rabe was given a recurring role in the popular anthology series "American Horror Story" (FX 2011- ). In 2015 Rabe was cast in "Pawn Sacrifice," a biopic about the chessmaster Bobby Fischer. She was also cast as the star in the thriller series "The Whispers" (ABC 2015).

Lily Rabe on American Horror Story, Gaslighting, and First Ladies

Every item on this page was chosen by an ELLE editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

In a Previous Interview, You Said That Episode 5 Is One of Your Favorite Episodes of Your Past Nine Seasons of American Horror Story. Could You Expand on Why?

Absolutely. I know it's a funny thing to say something was your favorite when so many horrible things happen to so many people in the course of one episode, but that's just how we're able to talk about the show in this world. I think what the episode explores psychologically is one of the most compelling and terrifying ideas, and the episode explored it in such a harrowing, nuanced way. It's down to the title of the episode [“Gaslight”].

The Scenes With Ursula (leslie Grossman) and Alma (ryan Kiera Armstrong) Impacted Me the Most. They Reminded Me Very Much of the Classic Film Gaslight. People Always Say That's the Best Example of the Term, and This Is Also a Very Good Example.

I agree. The episode was beautifully directed. I think John Gray just was at the absolute top of his game with this episode. The way that there's a parallel story happening and [how] that was all interwoven was done so deftly and the true horror of [gaslighting] is unbearable. And when one of those people is your own child.

This 10th Season Seems Like a Full Circle Moment for You in Terms of Your Characters—You're Going Back to Playing Another Very Devoted Mother To, Let's Say, a Troubled Child [like Nora Montgomery in Season 1]. Did It Feel Like You Went Back to Basics This Season?

The term “back to basics” does ring true. I do think there was something that a number of us who had had done the show for many years felt. I hadn't used that term, but I'll take it from you—“back to basics,” in that there is real intimacy particularly in this first half of the season with a family dealing with tremendous crisis. And [it’s] certainly going full circle to being driven by a mother's love, a very different mother to a very different child. I do feel connected to Season 1. There's nothing similar between those two characters or the children, but I know what you're saying in terms of that intimacy. That heart of the season is really palpable as a driving force, this family going into this incredibly complicated situation and trying to hold onto one another.



Related Articles