Lily Rabe (born June 29, 1982) is an American actress. She received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Portia in The Merchant of Venice. Rabe is best known for her multiple roles on the FX anthology horror series American Horror Story, and her lead role as Claire Bennigan on the ABC science fiction series The Whispers.
Rabe was born in New York City on the Upper West Side, the daughter of playwright David Rabe (born 1940) and actress Jill Clayburgh (1944–2010). She has a younger brother, Michael, an actor and playwright, and an older paternal half-brother, Jason, a musician. Her father is Catholic, her maternal grandfather was Jewish, and her maternal grandmother was Protestant. Rabe was raised in Bedford, and moved to Lakeville, Connecticut when she was in the seventh grade. There, she attended the Hotchkiss School.
Rabe studied dance for ten years. She was teaching ballet at a summer arts program in Connecticut when she was approached by the program's acting instructor, who asked her to perform a monologue in the final production. Rabe performed a monologue from the play Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley. She stated, "It was that moment, performing that monologue, that made me think, 'Maybe this is what I wanna do'." Rabe then went on to study acting at Northwestern University, from which she graduated in 2004.