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Mary-Louise Parker (born August 2, 1964) is an American Tony-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning 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 television series Weeds portraying Nancy Botwin.

Biography

Early life and 1980s
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.


1990s
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[citation needed] role in The Five Senses (1999).


2001 – 2003
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 as a love interest for Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman and later becoming Chief of Staff to the First Lady. 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.


2004 – 2006
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.

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 is currently in its fourth season, with two more confirmed by Showtime, to air in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

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."


007 – 2008
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, Sam Rockwell 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. In 2008, she was naked on screen several times during the show's fourth season.

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.

She is currently filming the Donna Vermeer film Les Passages alongside Julie Delpy. Following this, she will return to work on the fifth season of Weeds. In the winter of 2008, Parker will take the lead role in the upcoming revival of the play Hedda Gabler.


Personal life
On January 7, 2004, Parker gave birth to her first child, William Atticus Parker. The boy's father is actor Billy Crudup, whom Parker met when they co-starred in a 1996 revival of the William Inge play Bus Stop. After nearly eight years together, the couple split when the actress was seven months pregnant. There was a negative response to this because shortly after, Crudup openly admitted that he was dating actress Claire Danes, whom he met on the set of Stage Beauty. Crudup denies the rumor that the breakup was caused by Danes.

Parker has also dated Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows and Timothy Hutton.

In December 2006, Parker began dating actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, whom she met on the set of Weeds.[9] 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.

Awards and nominations
Emmy Awards

2004 - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Angels in America)
Tony Award

2001 - Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (Proof)
Golden Globes

2004 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Angels in America)
2006 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy (Weeds)
Satellite Awards

2005 - Outstanding Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical (Weeds)
Philadelphia Film Festival

2004 - Artistic Achievement Award
Out Magazine's Out 100 Awards

2007 - Entertainer of the Year
High Times Stony Awards

2007 - Best Actress
Nominations
Golden Globes

2007 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy (Weeds)
Screen Actors Guild Awards

2003 - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (The West Wing)
2004 - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries (Angels in America)
2006 - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (Weeds)
2007 - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (Weeds)
2007 - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (Weeds)
Satellite Awards

2004 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television (Angels in America)
Emmy Awards

2002 - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (The West Wing)
2007 - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Weeds)
2007 - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (The Robber Bride)
2008 - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Weeds)
Genie Award

2000 - Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (The Five Senses)
Tony Award

1990 - Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (Prelude to a Kiss)
2005 - Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (Reckless)

 
Films
Year Film Role Other notes
1989 Signs of Life Charlotte  
1990 Longtime Companion Lisa  
1991 Fried Green Tomatoes Ruth Jamison  
Grand Canyon Dee  
1993 Mr. Wonderful Rita  
Naked in New York Joanne White  
1994 Bullets Over Broadway Ellen  
The Client Dianne Sway  
1995 Reckless Pooty  
Boys on the Side Robin  
1996 The Portrait of a Lady Henrietta Stackpole  
1997 Murder in Mind Caroline Walker  
The Maker Officer Emily Peck  
1998 Goodbye Lover Peggy Blane  
1999 Let the Devil Wear Black Julia Hirsch  
The Five Senses Rona Nominated - Genie Award
2002 Red Dragon Molly Graham  
The Quality of Mercy Sarah Richardson  
Pipe Dream Toni Edelman  
2004 Saved! Lillian  
The Best Thief in the World Sue Zaidman  
2006 Romance & Cigarettes Constance Murder  
2007 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Zee James  
2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles Helen Grace  
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1975 Ryan's Hope    
1988 Too Young the Hero Pearl Spencer  
1994 A Place for Annie Linda  
1995 Sugartime Phyllis McGuire  
1998 Saint Maybe Lucy Dean Bedloe  
Legalese Rica Martin  
1999 The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn Dr. Valerie Crane  
2000 Cupid & Cate Cate DeAngelo  
2001-2006 The West Wing Amy Gardner Emmy Award (nominated)
SAG Award (nominated)
2002 Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story Bonnie Hanssen  
2003 Angels in America Harper Pitt Emmy Award (won)
Golden Globe Award (won)
Satellite Award (nominated)
SAG Award (nominated)
2004 Miracle Run Corrine Morgan-Thomas  
2005 Vinegar Hill Ellen Grier  
2005-present Weeds Nancy Botwin Emmy Award (nominated-2)
Golden Globe Award (won-1) (nominated-1)
Satellite Award (won-1) (nominated-1)
SAG Award (nominated-3)
2007 The Robber Bride Zenia Emmy Award (nominated)
Gemini Award (won)

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