Parker was born in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Her mother, Caroline Louise (née Morell), was of part Swedish descent, and her father, John Morgan Parker, was a judge who served in the U.S. Army. Because of her father's career, Parker spent parts of her childhood in Tennessee and Texas, as well as in Thailand, Germany, and France. Parker majored in drama at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Parker 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 moved with the production when it transferred from its origin Off-Broadway. She won the Clarence Derwent Award for her performance and was nominated for a Tony Award (although she did not play the role when the film was made). Parker also briefly dated her co-star Timothy Hutton during this time.
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 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. In the late 1990s, she appeared in several independent films including Let the Devil Wear Black and The Five Senses.
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. Parker played Harper Pitt, the Mormon Valium-addicted wife of a closeted lawyer, appearing full frontally nude. 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 television film 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.
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, 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 television 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, Sam Rockwell and Garret Dillahunt. In August 2007, Parker continued her role in the third season of 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.
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.
She filmed the Donna Vermeer film Les Passages alongside Julie Delpy. Following this, she returned to work on the fifth season of Weeds, the season finale airing in September 2009. In the spring of 2009, Parker took the lead role in the revival of the play Hedda Gabler, which opened to garner a series of bad reviews.
Parker portrayed Sarah opposite Bruce Willis in the film RED, an adaptation of the comic book mini-series of the same name. The film was released on October 15, 2010.
In 2011, Parker became the host for the tenth season of the PBS documentary series Independent Lens.
From 1996 to November 2003, Parker dated actor Billy Crudup, with whom she had a son, William Atticus Parker, born on January 7, 2004. In December 2006, Parker began dating actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, whom she met on the set of Weeds. In March 2007, Parker stated that the relationship was "going great." The two briefly split in June 2007, but later reconciled. On February 12, 2008, Parker and Morgan announced their engagement only to break up again in April 2008.
In September 2007, Parker adopted a baby girl, Caroline "Ash" Aberash Parker, from Ethiopia.
Often plays loud, talkative women
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1990" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 42.
Her critically acclaimed role as a jaded London prostitute named Poopay in "Communicating Doors" played in New York City at the Variety Arts Theatre on Third Avenue, 1998.
Is part Swedish.
Performed in "Proof," which first opened at Manhattan Theatre Club, then moving to Broadway. She won the Tony award for Best Actress in a Play for this in 2001.
The Counting Crows song "Butterfly in Reverse" was written for her.
Graduated from the prestigious North Carolina School of Arts.
Split with actor Billy Crudup in November of 2003, after seven years. She was seven months pregnant with his child at the time.
Son, William Atticus, born 7 January 2004.
Won Broadway's 2001 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for "Proof." She had previously received a Tony nomination in the same category in 1990 for "Prelude to a Kiss."
Nominated for the 2005 Tony Award for "Reckless" (Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play).
For the film The Best Thief in the World (2004), originally Eric Stoltz was offered the role of her husband, but Mary-Louise Parker wanted someone older so asked the producers to hire the actor David Warshofsky. The film never received a theatrical release.
Considered for the role of Susan Mayer in "Desperate Housewives" (2004).
At age 43, she adopted her second child, a baby girl from Africa, named Ash. This is apparently a shortened version of her birth name, Aberash. The girl's full name is Caroline Aberash Parker.
Good friend of Shelby Lynne.
Her favorite movie growing up was Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).
[on Demián Bichir in "Weeds" (2005)] I might use a word that sounds pretentious, but his performance was almost holy. It was beyond being just about depth. He made the film into a Greek tragedy. And he is one of the few actors I know who could make that part humane. He is pretty delicious.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.