Who Is Twisty the Clown? Get To Know the Creepiest Villain of American Horror Story: Freak Show

  • Twisty the Clown

    [Photo: FX]

  • Twisty the Clown

    [Photo: FX]

  • Twisty the Clown

    [Photo: FX]

  • Twisty the Clown

    [Photo: FX/Tumblr]

  • Twisty the Clown

    [Photo: FX/Tumblr]

  • Twisty the Clown

    [Photo: FX/Tumblr]

  • Twisty the Clown

    [Photo: FX/Tumblr]

There’s no doubting that the new season of American Horror Story is the most frightening and perverse yet. While a number of creator Ryan Murphy’s actors — Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, and Evan Peters — have returned, the fourth iteration of the series has also featured a number of new faces. Among them are newcomer Finn Wittrock as the devilish man-child, Dandy Motts, Michael Chiklis as the freak show’s resident strong man, and Wes Bentley as the two-faced Edward Mordrake. While all three have made their own impact on Freak Show, none of them have been more severe than Twisty the Clown played by John Carroll Lynch.

“It’s great to play a character that is so starkly drawn, and it’s really fun to be a bad guy,” Lynch tells LA Times. “In this case I really like that Ryan and the writers have provided not only a really terrific, scary character, but also they provided a lot of humanity that you’ll learn about as the season progresses.”

While the actor has a number of credits on TV and made an impact in several films, AHS: Freak Show is definitely his most high profile role yet. And it’s leaving fans delightfully scared. But who is Lynch and where have you seen him before? We break down everything you need to know about TV’s most frightening villain.

TV: Cross-Dressing and More

Fans may recognize Lynch from one of his earliest and most prominent TV roles as Steve Carey, Drew’s cross-dressing brother who later became engaged to Mimi on The Drew Carey Show. In total, Lynch appeared on 73 episodes of the course of six seasons starting in 1998.

Lynch’s other two long-running TV credits include two procedurals. On the CBS series, Close to Home, he played a county prosecutor during the show’s first season. And his other role was Bud Morris, a homicide detective, who appeared on two seasons on the ABC medical drama, Body of Proof.

His other prominent TV roles include contract killer Varlyn Stroud on HBO’s Carnivale and most recently a KGB informant on FX’s other hit series, The Americans.

Film: From Fargo to San Francisco 

On film, Lynch has made a lasting impact with a few key roles. In 1996, Lynch appeared opposite of Frances McDormand in Fargo as the actress’ unassuming husband.

A decade later, the actor portrayed Arthur Leigh Allen, the suspected serial killer that terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area during the late-‘60s, in David Fincher’s ZodiacIn fact — whether intentional or not — Twisty the Clown’s first scene on AHS pays homage to Fincher’s film. In his first moments on the show, Twisty interrupts a couple’s lakeside picnic just like one of the murders that takes place on the big screen.

And considering he’s worked with everyone from Fincher to Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood to the Coen Brothers, there’s no doubt you’ll see him on the big screen again soon.

[Photos: FX, ABC, Gramercy Pictures, Paramount Pictures]