Mary Louise Parker is an American actress, best known for her work on television. She has explored various genres of acting and has been part of theatre, television series, and commercial as well as independent films. However, she says that she is most fond of theatre, as she feels that theater is where she is most comfortable and inspired. Acting was an interest for Mary Louise Parker from adolescent years and she subsequently pursued majors in acting from college. This gifted actress has been the recipient of several prestigious awards like the Golden Globe Awards, The Tony Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards during the course of her career. She is known to portray the characters of talkative and loud women. However, in real life, she is described by friends as a unique and unconventional personality. Apart from her acting profession, Mary Louise Parker has experimented with writing; she began with essays for the Esquire magazine and authored a book in 2015. She has also been extending her support to various humanitarian causes.
Childhood & Early Life
Mary Louise Parker was born on 2 August 1964 in Fort Jackson, North Carolina. Her father John Morgan Parker was a Judge who served in the US Army and her mother’s name is Caroline Louise. She is the youngest of the couple’s four children. Her family lineage has includes Swedish, Scottish, English, Dutch German and Scots-Irish ancestry.
She had a peripatetic childhood, moving from one place to another due to her father’s job. As a child, she lived in Tennessee, Texas, Thailand, Germany and France.
She completed her high school from Marcos de Niza High School, Arizona. Mary Louise Parker graduated from the North Carolina School of Arts with majors in Arts in 1986.
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Her first acting role was in American soap opera ‘Ryan’s Hope’. Later in the 1980s, she shifted to New York to become successful as a stage actress. She played the role of an abused girlfriend in her first movie ‘Signs of Life’ (1989). Post a few appearances in minor roles in theatre, she played the lead role in her Broadway play debut with ‘Prelude to a Kiss’ in 1990.
She began to get recognition for her ability to portray suffering characters without victimsing them and this talent earned her many more opportunities to play several strong characters in films. She then played the role of a friend to a gay couple in ‘Longtime Companion’ (1989). During the 1990s, she switched between big banner and independent movies but her focus remained in portraying supporting roles.
Among her many performances, the characters that stood out include the film adaptation of novel ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe’ which was also named ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ (1991), drama film ‘Grand canyon’ (1991), romantic comedy film ‘Mr. Wonderful’ (1993), comedy film ‘Naked in New York’ (1993), crime comedy ‘Bullets over Broadway’ (1994) and the film adaptation of novel ‘The Portrait of a lady’ in 1996.vDuring this time period, she was also involved in theatre with performances in shows like ‘Four Dogs and a Bone’ (1993), ‘Bus Stop’ (1996) and critically acclaimed ‘How I Learned to Drive’ (1997).
She has constantly switched between her appearances in theatre, commercial and independent films and television series. In 2001, she essayed the role of Amy Gardener in political drama television series ‘The West Wing’ and her character went on till the last season of the series in 2006. In 2003, she was part of the miniseries ‘Angels in America’, an adaptation of a popular Broadway play; this performance earned her multiple awards.
In 2004, she appeared in a comedy movie ‘Saved!’ along with acting in a television movie ‘Miracle Run’. She Parker also appeared in the lead role of the Broadway theatre play ‘Reckless’ the same year.
She got the lead role in dark comedy television series ‘Weeds’ in 2005. Her character was that of a suburban widow trying to sell marijuana to support her family. The show was widely popular and went on till 2012. She also acted in the musical ‘Romance and Cigarettes’ in 2005. In 2007, she had a critical role in the movie ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’. She also starred in the film adaptation of novel ‘The Robber Bride’ that was aired on CBC television the same year.
She appeared in fantasy adventure movie ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ in 2008. She also starred in ‘Dead Man’s cell Phone’ – a play that premiered Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons production.
In 2010, she co- starred with actor Bruce Willis in the film ‘RED’. She appeared in its sequel ‘RED 2’ (2013) and action-comedy film ‘R.I.P.D’ (2013). In 2013 she was also part of Sharr White’s play ‘The Snow Geese’.
In 2014, she acted in movies like ‘Behaving Badly’ and ‘Jamesy Boy’. She was also part of the television series ‘The Blacklist’ for 4 episodes.
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In 2015, Scribner published Mary Louise Parker’s first book -‘Dear Mr. You’. The book is written as a series of letters to men; both real and imaginary; that made the author the woman she is today.
Her upcoming projects include comedy film ‘Chronically Metropolitan’.
She is well-known for her work in theatre and television. Her performance in television series ‘Weeds’ and Broadway theatre plays like ‘Proof’ have earned her much recognition and accolades.
Awards & Achievements
In 1990, she received the Theatre Award for her acting in ‘Prelude to a Kiss’.
In 2001, her performance in the play Proof earned her Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, Drama League Award for Distinguished performance, Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.
She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film as well as Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her appearance in the miniseries ‘Angels in America'.
In 2005, she received the Satellite Award in the Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy category for her performance in ‘Weeds’.
In 2006, she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy once again for her performance in ‘Weeds’.
Personal Life & Legacy
Mary Louise Parker dated actor Billy Crudup from 1997 to late 2003. The couple has a son William Atticus Parker, born in 2004.
In 2006, she began a relationship with actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan and subsequently announced their engagement in February 2008. However, the couple parted ways in April 2008.
She adopted a baby girl from Ethiopia in 2007. The baby is named Caroline Aberash Parker.
In 2009, she was in a relationship with American singer and songwriter Charlie Mars. She also appeared in a video for his song ‘Listen to the Darkside’.
After meeting a former victim of the Uganda Civil War, Mary Louise Parker began her association with an organization name Hope North that works in healing and educating victims. She was honoured for her work with the organization in the year 2013.
She has also supported the Brighter Futures Campaign; an initiative that raises funds to support orphaned girls worldwide.