Mary-Louise Parker

Actress

8/2/1964 (55 years old) Fort Jackson, South Carolina, United States

The one major acting award this skilled actress hasn't won is the Oscar. Adept at playing quirky, smart and oftentimes fragile characters, Parker made her Broadway debut in 1990 as a fearful newlywed who unwittingly switches souls with an old man in Craig Lucas' Prelude to a Kiss. The next year she won raves as an abused wife in the Southern-flavored big-screen dramedy Fried Green Tomatoes. From then on, it was all about her TV and stage work, particularly Proof, as a mentally unstable math genius for which she won the 2001 Tony. Although she did appear in a number of films, the powers-that-be didn't regard her as a leading actress. So when Hollywood decided to turn her two signature stage projects into movies, she wasn't invited to the party. (Meg Ryan and Gwyneth Paltrow landed the leads in Prelude to a Kiss and Proof, respectively.) Parker ventured into series television in 2002 with a recurring role on The West Wing and won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her expressive portrait of a Mormon wife in the lauded 2003 miniseries Angels in America. That same year she endured off-screen drama when her longtime boyfriend, Billy Crudup, left her while she was pregnant with their son. She bounced back in 2005 with a lead role on the cable series Weeds, which greatly increased her profile (and likely helped Showtime's subscription base), and landed a boyfriend, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who has appeared on the show as her deceased husband. She adopted a baby girl from Africa named Caroline Aberash Parker in 2007, and one of her most fulfilling off-screen activities is reading with her children. In 2010, she took on a film with Bruce Willis, Red, based on a comic book.

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