Denis O'Hare's characters on American Horror Story are so vastly different from one another that they stand as a testament to just how good a character actor he is. The multiple award-winning actor clearly has fun with the roles he’s taken on each season and you can see it in his performances. O’Hare embraces the smarmy, dedicates himself to the creepy, struts with purpose, and takes lurking to a whole new level. Listed here are all the characters played by Denis O'Hare on American Horror Story so far. May there be many, many more.
O’Hare’s performance as Liz Taylor, a transgender woman, in Hotel was brilliant. Liz was the meatiest role the series has given him to date and he played it masterfully. With over-embellished accessories, platform heels, and makeup fit for Cleopatra, O’Hare sashays down the halls of the Cortez like a fabulously fierce force of nature.
Then, at the flip of a coin, the actor seamlessly transitions into the wise, worldly, yet weary advisor for the sad souls that sit at her bar.
O'Hare began his brilliant run on American Horror Story as Larry Harvey, a former owner of the Murder House that murdered his entire family. He went from room to room, dousing the beds of his wife and two daughters with gasoline as they slept. Covered in burns and raving mad, Harvey blames the house for his actions.
His interest in the Harmon family seems to be out of genuine concern for their safety, but soon spirals into the realm of a psychotic obsession.
In Coven, O’Hare returned to the fold as Spalding, the mute, faithful butler in Miss Robichaux's Academy. O’Hare slinks around the mansion absorbing decades of secrets and disposing of dead bodies as needed (and keeping some for his creepy tea parties).
Denis O’Hare was so dedicated to creepy that he would bring tiny baby doll hands to set with him, just to keep it real.
Elias Cunningham was mostly an exposition character. Sure, he has his own interesting back story as a professor and researcher working on a true crime novel about the murderous nurses who took up residency in the Roanoke house, but he existed largely to explain what was going on to Matt and Shelby.
His research at the house drove him mad and O’Hare played the frantic, disheveled harbinger of doom rather well as he tried desperately to warn the new residents of the evil that awaits them.