Mena Suvari, 32, the famously blonde star of American Beauty and the American Pie franchise, shocked American Horror Story viewers on Wednesday night by guest starring as the jet-black haired 1947 murder victim Elizabeth Short, more commonly known as the Black Dahlia.

The FX series, created by Glee's Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, interprets Short's unsolved murder as the work of a homicidal dentist who sexually assaults the aspiring actress after she visits him to have some work done on her teeth. The dentist, played by The West Wing's Joshua Malina, is the occupant of the "Murder House" during this era, and he proceeds to butcher the Dahlia according to the history, including giving her the famous Glasgow smile.

While a few aspects of American Horror Story have hinted at historical events thus far, this is the first time the show makes the Murder House the site of a true unsolved case.

Suvari is not the first actress who has portrayed the iconic Dahlia. Lucie Arnaz played Short in a 1975 television production called Who Is the Black Dahlia?, and The L Word's Mia Kirshner starred in the 2006 Brian De Palma interpretation of the events, entitled merely The Black Dahlia.


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American Horror Story airs Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. EST on FX.


  • MariaCavaliere
    MariaCavaliere on

    The dentist wasn't the one that butchered her! The original owner of the house makes his presence known, and he offers to take her off the dentist's hands. Overall, it was another great episode.

  • Matthew Zingg
    Matthew Zingg on

    That's who that was! I knew she looked familiar. I'm happy that AHS is exploring this. Nothing like a little historical context to give a show some direction.

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