Frances Conroy

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Frances Conroy
Frances Conroy at PaleyFest 2014 - 13491478183.jpg
Born Frances Hardman Conroy
(1953-11-13) November 13, 1953 (age 62)
Monroe, Georgia, U.S.
Education Juilliard School (1977)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Jan Munroe (m. 1992)

Frances Hardman Conroy[1][2] (born November 13, 1953) is an American actress. She is best known for playing Ruth Fisher on the television series Six Feet Under. Her work on the show won her acclaim and several awards, including a Golden Globe and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. She is also known for playing the older version of the character Moira O'Hara on season one of the television anthology series American Horror Story, which garnered Conroy her first Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television nomination, and as well an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. Conroy subsequently portrayed The Angel of Death, Myrtle Snow, and Gloria Mott on the next three seasons of the show, Asylum, Coven, and Freak Show, respectively. For her performance in Coven, she was nominated again for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.

As of 2015, Conroy stars as Dawn in the Hulu original series Casual.

Early life[edit]

Conroy was born in Monroe, Georgia, the daughter of Ossie Hardman (née Ray) and Vincent Paul Conroy.[3][4] Her father, who was of Irish descent, was a business executive, and her mother also worked in business.[5] 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)[6] which also included Kevin Conroy, Kelsey Grammer, Harriet Sansom Harris, and Robin Williams.[7]


During the 1970s, she performed regularly with regional and touring theatrical companies (most notably The Acting Company), and appeared as Desdemona at the Delacorte Theatre in a production of Othello with Richard Dreyfuss and Raul Julia. One of her first film appearances was as a Shakespearean actress in Woody Allen's 1979 classic, Manhattan. In 1980, she made a very well received Broadway debut in Edward Albee's The Lady From Dubuque. She focused primarily on her stage career for the next two decades, appearing in such productions as Our Town, The Little Foxes, and The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, receiving one Tony and four Drama Desk Award nominations (including a Drama Desk win for The Secret Rapture). Conroy had a small role in the 1984 movie Falling in Love, as a waitress in a swanky restaurant. In 1988 she appeared as the elder daughter of Burt Lancaster's dying patriarch in Rocket Gibraltar. Also in 1988 she appeared in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels as a lady from Palm Beach

In 1992, Conroy became friends with playwright Arthur Miller, which led to her involvement in many of his productions on both stage and screen. During this period, she also appeared on television shows, miniseries, and made-for-TV movies, and met and married fellow actor Jan Munroe.

2001–05: Six Feet Under[edit]

She is best known for her critically acclaimed work on HBO's original drama series Six Feet Under, which she starred in from 2001 and the series' end in 2005, playing the emotional family matriarch Ruth Fisher. During the series' run, Conroy won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2004.[8] She was also nominated for four Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series awards, without ever winning. Along with the cast of the show, they were awarded two times in 2003 and 2004 the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, as well as Conroy winning the individual 2004 award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.[9] The series ended in 2005, having aired 63 original episodes.


In 2008, she landed a guest role in ABC's Desperate Housewives as Virginia Hildebrand, a rich woman who tries to buy the Solis family's love.

Along with many guest appearances on television in the mid-2000s, she was cast in a recurring role on How I Met Your Mother, as Barney Stinson's mother Loretta Stinson. And in 2010, Conroy portrayed the character Angie Dinkley in the animated show Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.

In 2010, Conroy played Madylyn, the wife of Robert De Niro's character Jack Mabrey, in the John Curran thriller Stone. In the same year, Conroy played the recurring role of Peggy Haplin in the short-lived ABC drama series Happy Town created by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, and Scott Rosenberg.

2011–present: American Horror Story and return to recognition[edit]

Conroy in March 2012

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 a woman named Moira O'Hara. 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 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie category.[10]

For the second season, dubbed Asylum, Conroy re-joined the cast playing the The Angel of Death in a multi-episode arc. And in 2013, she guest starred on Royal Pains; portraying Blythe Ballard. She also co-starred in the television movie Ring of Fire, where she played Maybelle Carter. Conroy was once more cast for American Horror Story's third season during this time, Coven, being promoted to series regular, playing Myrtle Snow, a member of the Witches Council in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was subsequently nominated for a sixth Primetime Emmy Award and her second nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. In 2014, she returned for the fourth season of the series, entitled Freak Show, as Gloria Mott, a wealthy woman whose son wants to join the freak show.

In 2015, Conroy will star as Dawn in the upcoming Hulu original series Casual.



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Manhattan Shakespearean actress
1984 Falling in Love Waitress
1988 Rocket Gibraltar Ruby Hanson
1988 Another Woman Lynn
1988 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Lady from Palm Beach
1989 Crimes and Misdemeanors House Owner
1991 Billy Bathgate Mary Behan
1992 Scent of the Woman Christine Downes
1993 Sleepless in Seattle Irene Reed
1993 The Adventures of Huck Finn Scrawny Shanty Lady
1995 The Neon Bible Miss Scover
1995 Angela Anne's mother credited as Francis Conroy
1996 The Crucible Ann Putnam
2002 Maid in Manhattan Paula Burns
2003 Die, Mommie, Die! Bootsie Carp
2004 Catwoman Ophelia
2004 The Aviator Mrs. Hepburn
2005 Shopgirl Catherine Buttersfield
2005 Broken Flowers Dora
2006 Ira and Abby Lynn Willoughby
2006 The Wicker Man Dr. T.H. Moss
2006 A Perfect Day[11] Camille Bailey
2007 The Seeker: The Dark is Rising Miss Greythorne
2008 Humboldt County Rosie
2008 The Tale of Despereaux Antoinette Voice role
2009 Love Happens Eloise's mom
2009 Waking Madison Dolly
2009 New in Town Trudy Van Uuden
2009 Stay Cool Mrs. Leuchtenberger
2009 Shelter Mrs. Bernberg
2010 Bloodworth Julia Bloodworth
2010 Stone Madylyn Mabry
2011 Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz Aunt Em/Glinda Voice role
2011 All-Star Superman Martha Kent Voice role
2013 Superman: Unbound Martha Kent Voice role
2014 Making the Rules Mother
2014 Chasing Ghosts Dara
2015 No Pay. Nudity Andrea Post-production
2015 Welcome to Happiness Claiborne Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1978 All's Well That Ends Well Diana TV movie
1982 American Playhouse Mother Episode: "Echoes and Silences"
1984 3-2-1 Contact Kate Episode: "Earth: Building Models"
1986 The Twilight Zone Ellen Pendleton Episode: "The Library"
1987 Remington Steele Gladys Lynch Episode: "Steele Hanging in There: Part 1"
1987 Crime Story Mrs. Jankowski Episode: "The Battle of Las Vegas"
1988 Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami Lyn Kessler TV movie
1989 Great Performances Mrs. Gibbs Episode: "Our Town"
1990 Law and Order Elizabeth Hendrick Episode: "Prisoner of Love"
1993 Alex Haley's Queen Mrs. Benson 2 episodes
1998 Cosby Elizabeth Episode: "Judgement Day"
1999 Law & Order Rosa Halasy Episode: "Disciple"
2001–05 Six Feet Under Ruth Fisher 63 episodes
2007–08 ER Becky Riley 2 episodes
2008 Desperate Housewives Virginia Hildebrand 3 episodes
2009–14 How I Met Your Mother Loretta Stinson 9 episodes
2010 Nip/Tuck Jane Fields Episode: "Sheila Carlton"
2010 Happy Town Peggy Haplin 7 episodes
2010 Grey's Anatomy Eleanor Episode: "Can't Fight Biology"
2010–13 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Angie Dinkley 15 episodes
2011 United States of Tara Sandy Gregson 2 episodes
2011 Love Bites Faye Strathmore Episode: "How To..."
2011 The Mentalist Elspeth Episode: "The Red Mile"
2011 American Horror Story: Murder House Moira O'Hara 11 episodes
2012 Beautiful People Lydia TV movie
2012–13 American Horror Story: Asylum Shachath: The Angel of Death 5 episodes
2013 Ring of Fire Maybelle Carter TV movie
2013 Royal Pains Blythe Ballard 6 episodes
2013–14 American Horror Story: Coven Myrtle Snow 10 episodes
2014 American Horror Story: Freak Show Gloria Mott 8 episodes
2015 Married Janice Episode: "Thanksgiving"
2015–present Casual Dawn 8 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Othello Desdemona
1980 The Lady from Dubuque Jo
1988–89 Our Town Mrs. Gibbs
1989 The Secret Rapture Marion French
1990 Some Americans Abroad Frankie Lewis
1992 Two Shakespearean Actors Catherine Forrest
1993 In the Summer House Mrs. Constable
1994 Broken Glass Margaret Hyman
1996–97 The Rehearsal The Countess
1997 The Little Foxes Birdie Hubbard
1999 Ring Round the Moon Capulat
2000 The Ride Down Mt. Morgan Theo
2010 The Subject Was Roses Nettie Cleary Mark Taper Forum

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "The Best Plays of 1976-1977". 
  2. ^ "John Willis' Theatre World". 
  3. ^ "Paid Notice - Deaths CONROY, OSSIE RAY -". 27 September 1997. 
  4. ^ "Vincent Paul Conroy (1900 - 1969) - Find A Grave Memorial". 
  5. ^ Frances Conroy Biography (1953-).
  6. ^ "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. October 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. Retrieved April 8, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. September 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. Retrieved April 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Golden Globes, USA (2004)". IMDb. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  9. ^ "The 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Winners and Nominees". Screen Actors Guild Awards. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Primetime Emmy Awards (2012)". IMDb. Retrieved November 6, 2013. 
  11. ^ "A Perfect Day (TV 2006)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 

External links[edit]