Real People Used as Characters on American Horror Story

For today’s post I want to take a look at the various real people who have been used as characters on the show American Horror Story.   Fans of the show will know that there are many real people that are used in this series.    I will focus mainly on some of my favorites, but I will try to mention most of them.    Should I forget one, please let me know in the comments below!   

So let’s start with the beginning, in season one Murder House, Elizabeth Short appeared.    She was the murder victim that became known as the Black Dahlia!   In the world of AHS it came to be that she was murdered accidentally by a dentist in the famed house.    In real life we still do not know how she actually came to die, and do not know her murderer, and this made her a perfect choice to add to the victims claimed by the Murder House!

In season three Coven, there were two real people who appeared as characters.    These two were Delphine LaLaurie and Marie Laveau.    They were both iconic former residents of New Orleans, and as Marie was the Voodoo Queen, it made her an ideal choice for a season about witches!   LaLaurie was the infamous murderess of many of her slaves, and her cruelty was said to be unmatched in her day.    The twist of making them immortals and linking their story made for added drama!     I also should add that the Ax Man of New Orleans appeared as a character, but although he was real (as he was never caught) his personality was created for the show.   Finally for Coven I would like to mention the guest appearance of Stevie Nicks as herself!    This was one of the most fun guest spots, which she reprised the role of this witchy version of herself for season eight Apocalypse.

In season five Hotel we see many real life figures brought to screen in the AHS universe.    First in the Hell Night gathering of James Patrick March, we meet real serial killers.    We see the ghosts of Richard Ramirez, Eileen Wuornos, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, and the Zodiac (who never spoke and still wore his costume even in death).    The personalities of these infamous killers were seemingly kept from what we know of them from interviews and court documents.    It was an interesting plot point to state that each of them honed their craft of murder at the Hotel Cortez!    Richard Ramirez would again appear as a character in season nine 1984 as the youthful Night Stalker at the peak of his rampage, and he had a relationship with one of the central characters!    

Later in the fifth season we learn that the Countess had once been a bit player in silent films, and had a relationship with Rudolph Valentino and his wife Natacha Rambova!   As a lover of Old Hollywood this was a very fun plot point for me in this season.    Seeing the great screen lover fake his death, and have Natacha still be with him then (as they had divorced before his death in real life) made a great story line.     Having them become vampires because F.W. Murnau turned Valentino, who in turned changed Natacha was a well done reference for horror film buffs.    Murnau was another real life person in this season, as he had been the famed German director of Nosferatu, an obvious choice to be a vampire!    In all season five was one of the big seasons for real life people being added to this universe.

In season seven Cult they made the choice to use real life cult figures in flashbacks.    This meant that Charles Manson (and some of his girls, like Susan Atkins), Jim Jones, and Andy Warhol were all utilized!    I found this to be brilliantly done, and I liked that they also used Valerie Solanas, the woman who famously shot Warhol as another figure.    This all added depth and created an intriguing study of the evolution of modern cults.     I also was very impressed by the fact that Evan Peters portrayed each cult leader in the flashbacks, and it truly showed his talent and range!

Finally in season eight Apocalypse they used Anton LeVey as a character.    This was an on point choice for a season about the anti-christ.    LeVey was famed as the founder and Black Pope (High Priest) of the Church of Satan, and in this AHS universe take he had faked his death to await the coming of the anti-christ.    As I have already mentioned Richard Ramirez appearing in season nine, and Stevie Nicks guest spot on this season (eight) I have come to an end of this post!

I really enjoy how the creators of American Horror Story manage to blend reality and their universe.    It leads to something multilayered and beautiful to see unfold!    I hope you have enjoyed my post, and let me know if I missed any of your favorite real people on AHS in the comments below!   

Further Watching 

  • American Horror Story (2011-present)