MARY-LOUISE PARKER Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Mary-Louise Parker                                                                       
Born: 2 August 1964 Fort Jackson, South Carolina, United States                               
Mary-Louise Parker (born August 2, 1964) is a Tony-, Emmy - and Golden Globe-winning           
American actress. Some of her better known works include Fried Green Tomatoes,                 
Boys on the Side, Proof, The West Wing, Angels in America, and her current role               
on Showtime's Weeds.                                                                           
Parker was born in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Her mother was Swedish and her               
father was a judge and served in the U.S. Army. Parker majored in drama at                     
the North Carolina School of the Arts. She then got her start in a bit part on                 
the soap opera Ryan's Hope. In the late 1980s, Parker moved to New York, where                 
she got a job measuring feet at ECCO. After a few minor roles, she made her                   
Broadway debut in a 1990 production of Craig Lucas' Prelude to a Kiss, playing                 
the lead role of Rita. She won the Clarence Derwent Award for her performance                 
and was nominated for a Tony Award. Parker also briefly dated her co-star                     
Timothy Hutton during this time.                                                               
That same year, Parker was noticed by critics when she appeared in the movie                   
adaptation of another Lucas play, Longtime Companion, one of the first movies to               
confront AIDS in the public arena. This role was followed by her appearance in                 
1991's Grand Canyon, which also starred Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard and Kevin               
Kline. Parker's next film was Fried Green Tomatoes, alongside Jessica Tandy,                   
Mary Stuart Masterson, Kathy Bates and Cicely Tyson.                                           
Parker maintained a strong theater presence in the early 1990s, but also built                 
her reputation on the big screen, starring with Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee                   
Jones in The Client (1994); with John Cusack in Bullets Over Broadway (1994);                 
and with Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg in Boys on the Side (1995), as a                   
woman with AIDS. Her next role was in a movie adaptation of yet another Craig                 
Lucas play, Reckless (1995), alongside Mia Farrow, followed by Jane Campion's                 
The Portrait of a Lady (1996), which also starred Nicole Kidman, Viggo Mortensen,             
Christian Bale, John Malkovich and Barbara Hershey. In addition, she appeared                 
alongside Matthew Modine in Tim Hunter's The Maker (1997).                                     
Parker's theater career continued when she appeared in Paula Vogel's 1997                     
critical smash How I Learned To Drive, with David Morse. After several                         
independent film releases, she appeared in Let The Devil Wear Black and then a                 
much-lauded  role in The Five Senses (1999).                                                 
In 2001, Parker appeared alongside Larry Bryggman in David Auburn's Proof on                   
Broadway, for which she won a Tony Award. However, Parker again lost out when                 
the play was made into a film and the role was given to Gwyneth Paltrow. During               
this period, she left the theater for three years to look for other roles: among               
them, Red Dragon and Pipe Dream (2002).                                                       
Next was a guest role on the NBC drama, The West Wing, as women's rights                       
activist Amelia "Amy" Gardner, which soon became a recurring role. Beginning in               
2001, her character became Chief of Staff to the First Lady, and became a love                 
interest for Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman. For this role, Parker was                     
nominated for both an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. During the                   
fifth season, however, Parker became pregnant and her character was written out               
of the series after appearing in four episodes.                                               
On December 7, 2003, HBO aired an epic six-and-a-half hour adaptation of Tony                 
Kushner's acclaimed Broadway play Angels in America, directed by Mike Nichols.                 
The miniseries — about a group of lost souls in New York during the AIDS                     
epidemic of the 1980s — was hailed with international critical acclaim. Parker               
played Harper Pitt, the Mormon Valium-addicted wife of a closeted lawyer. For                 
her performance, Parker received Golden Globe and Emmy awards for Best                         
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries.                                                           
In 2004, Parker appeared in the comedy Saved!, and a TV movie called Miracle Run,             
based on the true story of a mother of two sons with autism, as well as                       
appearing in Craig Lucas' Reckless on Broadway. Parker took the lead role that                 
had been Mia Farrow's on screen. The production, directed by Mark Brokaw, earned               
Parker another nomination for a Tony Award for Best Actress in 2005.                           
Parker returned to The West Wing in several guest appearances in 2005 and 2006,               
the show's final season, portraying the Director of Legislative Affairs under                 
the President-elect Matt Santos. She also starred with Tom Skerritt in the CBS                 
television film Vinegar Hill as a down-on-her-luck schoolteacher who, with her                 
family, moves in with her in-laws only to discover their bitter, loveless                     
In 2005, Parker took on the lead role in the television series Weeds, a Showtime               
comedy-drama. Parker's character, Nancy Botwin, is a suburban mother who,                     
following the death of her husband, decides to sell marijuana to make money,                   
while also attempting to maintain her community reputation. She stars alongside               
Kevin Nealon, Elizabeth Perkins, her Saved! co-star Martin Donovan, and her                   
Angels in America co-star Justin Kirk. The show's first season aired in 2005,                 
with the second airing in 2006, and the third airing in 2007. As of November                   
2007, a fourth season has been picked up.                                                     
In November 2005, Parker was honored with an exhibition of her career at Boston               
University, where memorabilia from her career were donated to the University's                 
library. Parker received the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an               
Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy, given by the Hollywood                     
Foreign Press Association, for her lead role in Weeds. In that category, she                   
defeated the four leads of Desperate Housewives. She dedicated the award to the               
late John Spencer, best known for his work as Leo McGarry on The West Wing.                   
After receiving the award, Parker stated: "I'm really in favor of legalizing                   
marijuana. I don't think it's that controversial."                                             
In March 2007, Parker played the lead role in the TV film The Robber Bride. Her               
next role, Zerelda Mimms, in the Andrew Dominik film The Assassination of Jesse               
James by the Coward Robert Ford, opened in cinemas in September 2007. Parker                   
appeared alongside Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Robert Duvall and Garret Dillahunt.               
In August 2007, Parker continued her role in the third season of Weeds. In July               
2007, Parker was nominated for two Emmy Awards, one for Lead Actress In A                     
Miniseries Or A Movie for playing Zenia Arden in The Robber Bride and the other               
for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Weeds.                                                 
In August 2007, she posed nude for an ad for the third season of Weeds. In the                 
ad, she appears as Eve in the Garden of Eden, with a snake draped around her                   
body and a cannabis leaf behind her ear.                                                       
On November 9, 2007, Parker was honored as the Entertainer of the Year by Out                 
Magazine at the Out 100 Awards, which were celebrated in New York City.                       
Parker appeared in 2008's The Spiderwick Chronicles and in off-Broadway's                     
Playwrights Horizons in the New York premiere of Dead Man's Cell Phone, a new                 
play by Sarah Ruhl, alongside Drama Desk Award Winner Kathleen Chalfant.