Sarah Paulson was born on December 17, 1974 in Tampa, Florida, to Catharine Gordon (Dolcater) and Douglas Lyle Paulson II. She spent most of her early years in New York and Maine, before settling in Manhattan to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the High School for Performing Arts. Although she made her Broadway debut in "The Sisters Rosensweig" and performed in the off-Broadway "Talking Pictures", she debuted on the small screen in late 1994 in a guest shot on NBC's Law & Order (1990), then, in the following spring, landed her first TV-movie role in CBS' Friends at Last (1995) and finally became a TV series regular by fall 1995.
Best known for her amazing performance in CBS' supernatural drama American Gothic (1995) as the benevolent spiritual guide to her young brother, she was also a regular on the WB series Jack & Jill (1999) as "Elisa Cronkite", the former girlfriend of David "Jill" Jillefsky (Ivan Sergei) as well as the main character in the TV series Leap of Faith (2002), "Faith Wardwell", and as "Audrey" in the TV movie Metropolis (2000). She was also part of the cast of Shaughnessy (1996), The Long Way Home (1998) (as "Leanne Bossert") and Path to War (2002) as Luci Baines Johnson, as well as making notable appearances in Touched by an Angel (1994) playing "Zoe" in Touched by an Angel: Manhunt (2001), 20 October 2001, and Cracker: Mind Over Murder (1997) playing "Nina" in Cracker: Mind Over Murder: True Romance: Part 1 (1997), 18 September 1997.
Sarah has now played in movies with such stars as Mel Gibson in the romantic comedy What Women Want (2000) (as "Annie", Gibson's secretary), Diane Keaton in the romantic drama The Other Sister (1999) (as "Heather Tate", Keaton's lesbian eldest daughter), Jamie Foxx in Held Up (1999) (as "Mary", a developmentally disabled young woman with an unfaithful boyfriend) and David Hyde Pierce in the romantic comedy Down with Love (2003) (as "Vicky Hiller", Pierce's crush). She also had two major roles in the comedy Bug (2002) and the drama, Levitation (1997), where she starred as a pregnant teenager who searches for her biological mother, with the help of a guardian angel.