BWW Profile: Frances Conroy Emmy-Nominated Star of Stage and Screen
In anticipation of the live 66th Annual Emmy Award broadcast on NBC this Monday, BWW is spotlighting the Emmy-nominated TV performances of some of Broadway's biggest stars. Today, we'll be taking a look back at the extensive career of Frances Conroy, from her time on the Broadway stage to her chilling character on the popular drama series "American Horror Story: Coven", for which she is nominated for a Primetime Emmy.
After studying at Juillard (accompanied by colleagues such as Robin Williams and Kelsey Grammer), Conroy performed with both regional and touring companies in the 1970s. She spent time with the New York-based, critically acclaimed Acting Company, which has harbored the acting talents of Patti LuPone, Kevin Kline, Rainn Wilson, and many more. Conroy then took to the Off-Broadway stage as Desmonda in Shakespeare's "Othello", appearing with Richard Dreyfuss and Raul Julia.
Conroy made her Broadway debut in Edward Albee's "The Lady From Dubuque," and was greeted by very favorable reviews from critics. Over the next two decades, Conroy focused heavily on her stage career, gaining one Tony nomination and three Drama Desk nominations, along with winning a Drama Desk for her work in "The Secret Rapture."
Her stage career sparked a friendship with playwright Arthur Miller, who penned classics such as "Death of a Salesman" and "The Crucible." She orginated roles in many of Miller's plays during the '90s and early 2000s, including "Broken Glass" (Margaret Hyman, 1994); "The Last Yankee" (Patricia Hamilton, 1993), for which she won an Obie Award; and "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan" (Theo, 2000), for which she was nominated for two Tony awards and won an Outer Critics Circle Award.
Conroy is known for starring in the HBO drama series "Six Feet Under," on which she portrayed the matriarchal Ruth Miller. She was nominated for four Emmys for her work on "Six Feet Under," but never won. However, she recieved a Golden Globe for Best Actress- Television Series Drama in 2004, a year before the show's end.
Following her time on "Six Feet Under," Conroy appeared in guest roles on numerous television shows, such as "Desperate Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Happy Town." But her next television break wouldn't come until 2011, when she took on the role of Moira O'Hara on the first season FX's "American Horror Story."
Conroy recieved her fifth Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her work on the first season of "American Horror Story," the same category in which she is nominated this year. She is one of the few cast members to appear in every season of "American Horror Story," despite the show's anthological structure. Conroy is also set to appear in the fourth season, which focuses on a freak show.
You can watch Frances Conroy discuss her character on "American Horror Story:"
Watch Frances Conroy as Ruth Fisher in "Six Feet Under," appearing in what came to be one of the most famous scenes:
The 66th Annual Primetime Emmys will air live on Monday, August 25th (8pm ET/ 5pm PT) from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California. And be sure to visit BWW TVWorld for live coverage of the of the 2014 Primetime EMMY AWARDS.
Photo Credit: FX