Ryan Murphy often casts the same actors in different roles from season-to-season of American Horror Story, which is slated for three more seasons (AHS: Cult and seasons 8 and 9). The American Horror Story cast also plays characters that cross-over into different seasons, which is a treat for fans.
The above gallery shows the actors who have played at least four characters in the AHS franchise. Check out the character descriptions from previous seasons below.
Billie Dean Howard is a medium who is hired by Constance (Jessica Lange’s character in Coven) and then again by Iris, the distraught mother played by Kathy Bates in Hotel.
Lana Winters is a journalist who was committed to the mental asylum Briarcliff Manor after snooping around for her first big scoop. She makes a triumphant return in AHS: Roanoke.
Cordelia Foxx, later known as Cordelia Goode, is the headmistress of the girls’ school. She and her mother, played by Jessica Lange, have a very strained relationship. She is the first Supreme Witch to be related to the previous Supreme by blood.
Bette and Dot Tattler are conjoined twins. Like many of the characters in Freak Show, they are based on real people. Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton were joined at the side and their tale is very similar to the fictional Bette and Dot. Shunned by society and their mother, they were adopted by an Elsa Mars-esque woman.
Sally McKenna a.k.a. Hypodermic Sally is a ghost junkie who resides in the Hotel Cortez. She’s often mean and very selfish.
Audrey Tindall is the actress brought in to play Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe) in “My Roanoke Nightmare.” If you forget what she looks like, imagine Sarah Paulson just always crying and that’s her.
Tate Langdon is a sociopathic teenage ghost who resides in the Murder House and becomes romantically involved with Violet Harmon. He pretends not to know about the 15 classmates he shot while alive, but he is just in denial. When Violet finds out that Tate (in a latex fetish suit) raped and impregnated her mother, she tells him good-bye.
Kit Walker is a Briarcliff inmate falsely accused of the Bloody Face killings, but claims his wife was abducted by aliens.
Kyle Spencer is a butler at Miss Robichaux’s Academy. He was a frat boy and student at Tulane University, but since Hurricane Katrina, he has been helping his mom. Oh, and he’s dead but was brought back to life.
Jimmy Darling is the son of strongman Dell Toledo (Michael Chiklis) and bearded woman Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates). Exploited his entire life, he has ectrodactyly, and is known on the stage as “Lobster Boy.”
James Patrick March might be the most delightful Evan Peters. March is the theatrical man who built the Hotel Cortez to disguise his life as a serial killer. Well, he was, since he’s a ghost now.
Rory Monahan is an actor who is all about himself. While shooting “My Roanoke Nightmare,” Rory fell in love with his fellow actress Audrey Tindall (Sarah Paulson). Despite the age gap which makes Audrey very insecure, they married before filming the second season of the series, “Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell.”
Moira O’Hara is the housekeeper of the Murder House and has worked for many of the families that lived there.
Shachath is the Angel of Death. A similarly named bloodthirsty immortal witch appears in Roanoke (Lady Gaga plays the Scáthach in the “actual events” and the re-enactment), but Shachath and Scáthach are not the same characters.
Myrtle Snow is a quirky witch and head of the Witches’ Council. She and Fiona (Jessica Lange’s character) have a bit of strife —but who doesn’t with Fiona? — but the best part about Myrtle might be her sophistication. Haute couture and cat eye glasses? Meow.
Gloria Mott is a wealthy heiress whose son, Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock), wants to join the freak show owned by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange). Having spoiled her man-child of a son, Mott has no control over him and tends to act meek.
Mama Polk is a nasty woman. She is the matriarch of the Polk family, that has been helping the Butcher find victims. In “real life,” she is played by Robin Weigert, but by Conroy in the re-enactment.
Nora Montgomery was born into a wealthy family and married Charles Montgomery, the first owner of the Murder House (fans named the first season Murder House after the home not-sweet-but-terrifying home in the first season).
Sister Mary Eunice McKee is a nun serving at the sanitarium under Sister Jude (Jessica Lange). She starts off sweet and caring, but once she gets the devil inside her, watch out.
Misty Day is a young witch living alone in the swamp. She is a huge Stevie Nicks fan. She has the special power of resurgence: the ability to bring souls back from the dead.
Aileen Wuornos was a real-life sex worker who killed seven men in Florida and was executed for her crimes. Rabe plays Aileen when she makes an appearance at the Hotel Cortez on Devil’s Night.
Shelby Miller is a yoga instructor, wife to Matt (André Holland) and traumatized wife. She is played by actress Audrey Tindell (Sarah Paulson) in “My Roanoke Nightmare.”
Larry Harvey was the first owner of the Murder House. He has third-degree burns covering his face and the left side of his body.
Spalding is a mute butler at Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies.
Stanley is a con-artist who, along with Maggie Esmerelda (played by Emma Roberts), tries to get access to the Freak Show. Often dressing in disguises, he’ll do anything for a quick buck — “anything” including murder.
Liz Taylor is a transgender bartender who knows all kinds of secrets at the Hotel Cortez.
William van Henderson is an actor who portrayed Elias Cunningham in the re-enactment for “My Roanoke Nightmare.”
Constance Langdon is the next-door neighbor of the Harmons, the current family to occupy the Murder House. She seems good-natured, but she is actually very cunning… and is capable of murder.
Sister Jude Martin was once a promiscuous night club singer with alcoholism. A couple DUIs brought her to the Catholic church and she became the stern head of the asylum.
Fiona Goode is the Supreme Witch of the Salem Descendants and Cordelia’s (Sarah Paulson) mother. She has lived a life of luxury and is well-travelled. She returns to the girls’ school seemingly to repair relations with her daughter, but she is constantly searching for immortality. She is not one to be trusted or crossed.
Elsa Mars is a German ex-pat, former prostitute and the mother to the “freaks” at her freak show. She always wanted to be a Hollywood star and she dresses the part. It turns out, she has more in common with her family of “freaks” than she lets on.
Marie Delphine LaLaurie was an elegant socialite, but her narcissism and quest for eternal youth fuels her killing instincts. She would torture and murder her slaves, smearing their blood on herself. She pretends to be a devout Christian, but ever the bigot, thinks the election of President Barack Obama means God has given up on humankind and forsaken his children. She’s immortal and was buried alive, only to be uncovered by Fiona (Jessica Lange), who also desires to be forever young.
Ethel Darling is a bearded woman who performs in Fräulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities (the freak show). She is the ex-wife of the strongman and mother to “Lobster Boy.”
Iris is the manager of the Hotel Cortez. In 1994, she followed her handsome son Donovan (played by Matt Bomer) to the hotel where he shared a needle with Hypodermic Sally (Sarah Paulson). Impressed by his “jawline for days,” Elizabeth a.k.a. the Countess (Lady Gaga) infects him and he becomes immortal, but trapped at the hotel. Iris works at the hotel to stay close to him.
Agnes Mary Winstead is an actress who plays the Butcher in the re-enactment “My Roanoke Nightmare,” but she gets rather caught up in her role.
Marie Laveau is a badass voodoo witch based on a historical character.
Desiree Dupree is a woman in the “freak show” who was mistaken for a male child due to her oversized clitoris until she developed not two, but three, female breasts.
The tough talking Ramona Royale was an actress (possibly inspired by Pam Grier) who was seduced and infected by the Countess (played by Lady Gaga).
Since Roanoke was about a reality TV show and featured “re-enactments” of the events, she played an actress who portrayed Lee Harris in “My Roanoke Nightmare.”
Dandy, Gloria Mott’s only child, is a horrifically spoiled young man. and was spoiled throughout his life. Although physically beautiful, he feels a kinship with the people at the freak show. Dandy is a descendant of wealthy Edward Philipe Mott who appears in AHS: Roanoke. Like his forefather, Dandy is a disturbed introvert who becomes a serial killer’s protégé.
Tristan Duffy is a hyper-sexual model with an addictive personality. He eventually replaces Donovan, who had been the Countesses’ lover for two decades. He resembles Rudolph Valentino (this is why Wittrock gets credited with four characters for our purposes), the Countess’ first true love.
Jether Polk is the only member of the savage Polk family with any empathy. Wittrock is unrecognizable as the less-than-handsome Jether.