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Mary-Louise Parker Bio
Mary-Louise Parker (born August 2, 1964) is an American actress. Best known for her lead role on Showtime‘s television series Weeds portraying Nancy Botwin, she received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 2006. Parker has appeared in films and series such as RED, RED 2, Fried Green Tomatoes, Boys on the Side, The West Wing, and Angels in America, for which she received a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Parker is also the recipient of the 2001 Tony Award for Best Actress for her performance in the Broadway play Proof.
Parker got her start in a role on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope. In the late 1980s, Parker moved to New York. 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).
She starred with Kevin Kline in Grand Canyon (1991); with Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Jessica Tandy in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991); 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 a 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. 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 the subject of a career exhibition 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. She then portrayed Zerelda Mimms in the Andrew Dominik film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which 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.
Parker appeared in 2008’s The Spiderwick Chronicles and in off-Broadway‘s Playwrights Horizons production 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. Parker took the lead role in the Roundabout Theatre Broadway revival of the play Hedda Gabler, running from January through March 29, 2009. The play garnered a series of negative reviews.
Parker starred 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. In 2013 she played roles in both RED 2 and R.I.P.D. She appeared in the Broadway Manhattan Theatre Club production of the play The Snow Geese by Sharr White at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre from October 24 through December 15, 2013. The play was directed by Daniel J. Sullivan and also starred Danny Burstein and Victoria Clark.