Denis O'Hare has played a variety of characters on American Horror Story, including some with abnormalities, as is the case with many AHS characters. O'Hare was one of the mainstay cast members in the early seasons of Ryan Murphy's horror anthology, appearing in five out of the first six seasons, only skipping season 2.
His debut performance in the first season of American Horror Story, subtitled Murder House, earned O'Hare an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor. He would go on to receive a second nomination, although all of his roles were well-received by viewers and critics. O'Hare had a prolific career spanning TV, film, and theatre so it was no question why Murphy continued casting the actor in the series.
There's no indication that O'Hare appears in American Horror Story: 1984, but Murphy tends to keep trick up his sleeves when it comes to cameos, so it's certainly possible that O'Hare could be involved in the new season. If not, viewers will surely be hoping that O'Hare returns for the milestone season 10. But regardless of whether to not O'Hare returns to American Horror Story, he's already played several memorable characters.
Larry Harvey In American Horror Story: Murder House
O'Hare made his American Horror Story debut as Larry Harvey, also referred to as the "Burned Man". Most of his face and the left side of his body were scarred due to severe burns. Larry was a former owner of the Murder House and kept appearing on the property after the Harmons moved in. After threats from Ben, the new owner, Larry revealed that his own wife killed their daughters and herself after learning of her husband's infidelity. He was having an affair with Constance, and her son, Tate, set Larry on fire due to his involvement in tearing apart his family. Larry was later jailed for taking the fall for the death at the hands of a ghost in the house.
Spalding In American Horror Story: Coven
O'Hare skipped American Horror Story season 2 but returned in season 3, American Horror Story: Coven, as Spalding, the butler of Miss Robichaux's Academy. Decades prior, Spalding cut out his own tongue from preventing himself from telling the truth about the former Supreme's death. In Coven, he spent his time in the attic having tea parties with dolls. After Madison's death, Zoe and the other witches blamed Spalding. Zoe enchanted his tongue which revealed that Fiona was actually responsible. Spalding was then killed by Zoe but he remained in the school as a ghost.
Stanley In American Horror Story: Freak Show
In American Horror Story season 4, Freak Show, O'Hare portrayed the con artist Stanley. He and Maggie Esmerelda worked for the Museum of Morbid Curiosities to acquire bodies for "freaks". While Maggie acted as a performer, Stanley infiltrated Elsa Mars' Freak Show as a talent agent. He was responsible for a number of the performers' death and manipulated others. For example, he convinced Jimmy to cut off his lobster hands for money and instead sold the limbs to the museum. Maggie eventually revealed the truth and the freaks attacked Stanley, mutilated his body, and presumably killed him.
Liz Taylor In American Horror Story: Hotel
O'Hare played arguably played his most popular character in American Horror Story season 5, with Liz Taylor. Formerly known as Nick Pryor, Liz was the transgender bartender and worker at the Hotel Cortez. After the Countess found him wearing his wife's clothes, she encouraged him to embrace his true self. He then left his wife and old life behind to work at the hotel and became Liz Taylor. Liz was close with many of the figures who resided in the hotel and even helped plan the Countess after she manipulated others. Liz learned over her cancer diagnosis around the same time she reunited with her son. To make up for the past, the Countess killed Liz to allow her to stay at the hotel as a ghost so that she could continue her relationships, specifically with her former lover.
Dr. Elias Cunningham In American Horror Story: Roanoke
Technically, O'Hare portrayed the actor William van Henderson in American Horror Story season 6, who played the role of Dr. Elias Cunningham in the show within the show, My Roanoke Nightmare. Van Henderson's reenactment explained that Cunningham formerly stayed at the haunted Roanoke house. Cunningham researched the house to the point of going mad, forcing him to stay in a nearby bunker. He then helped Shelby and Matt, the home's new owners, from the Piggy Man. Cunningham then assisted the couple in the hauntings but he was later attacked by the colonists and killed by the cannibalistic Polk family. Van Henderson was asked to return for the follow-up series, Return to Roanoke, but declined.