|Actor, Producer, Music|
|March 25, 1965|
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Sarah Jessica Parker was born in Nelsonville, OH on March 25, 1965. She was the youngest of four born to mother Barbara, a teacher and former actress, and father Stephen, an aspiring author. After the couple split, Barbara remarried and welcomed four more stepchildren into the household, now located in Cincinnati. Along with many of her talented siblings, Parker took ballet and singing lessons. By the age of eight, she earned her first paycheck for the TV film "The Little Match Girl" (NBC, 1974), following it up with appearances on New York and London stages in a revival of "The Innocents," starring legendary theatre actress Claire Bloom and directed by Harold Pinter. At the age of 11, Parker and a number of her siblings were cast in the touring company of "The Sound of Music," after which she was cast as July in the hit Broadway musical "Annie." In January of 1979, she was bumped up to the lead role and performed "Tomorrow" day after day for a year, during which time the teen sprouted up four inches to tower over the play's arch villain, Miss Hannigan.
During the "Annie" days, the Parker-Forste family relocated to the New York area to accommodate their brood's blossoming show business careers. Parker landed a few spots on kids' TV shows, including the PBS science program "3-2-1 Contact" before snaring a high profile role in the talked about ABC movie "My Body, My Child" (1982) starring Vanessa Redgrave. In 1983, Parker took the lead as a teen coping with the death of her mother in the emotionally wrenching "Somewhere Tomorrow," which led to her casting as bookish beanpole Patty Greene on the above average sitcom "Square Pegs" (CBS, 1982-83). The show marked Parker's first taste of nationwide notice, but unfortunately the highly-acclaimed show failed to find an audience that first season and was cancelled. But Parker was soon snapped up to reprise her comic sidekick persona in a string of films, including the 1980s pop culture landmark "Footloose" (1984) and Michael Apted's domestic drama "First Born" (1984), where she met troubled long-term boyfriend Robert Downey Jr.
Following a pair of TV movies, ABC's "The Almost Royal Family" (1984) and CBS' "Going For the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story" (1985), Parker returned to star on the big screen opposite Helen Hunt as a rebellious young teen in the musical comedy, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (1985). She was featured the following year in Disney's sci-fi feature "Flight of the Navigator," which would be her last film for six years, as well as her last teenage role. She successfully transitioned into young adult roles through television, first playing an ebullient young newlywed in the NBC miniseries and subsequent weekly drama "A Year in the Life" (1986-87). Like Parker's earlier TV effort, the series was critically heralded but failed to capture a large enough audience for NBC to order a second season. Parker kept busy with telefilms, including the groundbreaking AIDS drama "The Ryan White Story" (ABC, 1989) and stage work, including a three character part in Wendy Wasserstein's off-Broadway hit, "The Heidi Chronicles." In 1990, she landed the role of driven attorney JoAnn Harris on ABC's legal drama "Equal Justice" (ABC), but despite Parker's performance and a People's Choice Award for best new drama, the series failed to make the cut.
Until this point, Parker's adult roles had generally been those of cerebral or earnest characters, but in 1990, she won acclaim for her deftly comic portrayal of flaky, pirouetting SanDeE*, stealing every scene opposite Steve Martin in his "L.A. Story" (1991). She moved up to leading lady status for the wildly popular madcap comedy "Honeymoon in Vegas" (1992), playing an unhappy fiancée forced to spend time with a wealthy older man (James Caan) after her husband-to-be (Nicholas Cage) loses her in a poker match. Having ended her long-term relationship with Downey prior to filming due to excessive drug problems, Parker and Cage were rumored to have enjoyed an off-screen romance while shooting in tropical Hawaii. Parker's film career kept going strong, thanks to her new image as a fun and flirty modern woman and the sexiest of three kooky witches in the Disney comic fantasy "Hocus Pocus" (1993). Proving her versatility, she was featured opposite Bruce Willis in the actioner "Striking Distance" (1993) and played against Johnny Depp's "Ed Wood" (1994) as his leading lady and love interest, Dolores Fuller, in Tim Burton's hilarious offbeat biopic of the B-director. In one of her best screen roles, she starred as a young woman afraid of commitment in "Miami Rhapsody" (1995).
Parker returned to her musical roots the following year, co-starring on Broadway with future husband Matthew Broderick in the revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." A spate of supporting comedic roles included playing Dan Hedaya's obnoxious social climbing girlfriend in "The First Wives Club" (1996), a flamboyant TV host in Burton's "Mars Attacks!" (1996), and a nurse stuck between battling doctors Gene Hackman and Hugh Grant in Michael Apted's "Extreme Measures" (1996). Parker took first billing for her role as a therapist looking for love in the romantic comedy flop "If Lucy Fell," but showcased her talent far better by playing the daughter of a Jewish publisher in the film adaptation of "The Substance of Fire" (1996), a role which she had previously played on stage. She starred in the Tony-nominated revival of "Once Upon a Mattress" and returned to features in 1997 with a mirthful role in the comedy "'Til There Was You," the prolific and successful former child actress ironically cast as an unfulfilled and spoiled former child star.
In 1998, Parker was approached by HBO to portray a fictionalized version of New York columnist Candace Bushnell in a series based on her work, "Sex and the City." Parker's seemingly cursed status in the realm of series television gave her cause to hesitate, but new husband Matthew Broderick convinced her to give it a shot, figuring it would at least be a learning experience. The show would not only prove to be her career calling card, it very quickly became a pop culture phenomenon. Weekly installments saw Parker as the staunchly independent but emotionally needy Carrie Bradshaw, following her and her tight-knit group of friends (Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon) with their varyingly excessive lifestyles. Despite middle-America's inability to relate to a lifestyle of Manhattan lunching in $500 shoes, the show's universal themes of sex, love and friendship struck a familiar chord with viewers who tuned in week after week for the series' candor, heart, and the pithy ruminations of a sophisticated urban woman.
Parker went on to serve as producer and finally executive producer of the monster hit, in addition to excelling as the center of the ensemble, earning numerous awards for her nuanced portrayal of the extroverted but introspective columnist. She took home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2001 and 2004, and collected Golden Globes in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Thanks to her trendsetting character's fashion savvy, Parker also become one of the hottest style icons of the late 1990s and early 2000s, known for her excellent taste, avant-garde accessories and always fabulous footwear, courtesy mainly of the show's stylist, the outlandish Patricia Field. Some of Carrie's biggest fashion statements included making hip for the masses, "ghetto" gold necklaces with initial pendants, Manolo Blahnik shoes and skimpy shorts as everyday street wear.
"Sex and the City" catapulted Parker into the realm of one of the best-known female actresses, so naturally she was tapped for big screen roles during her time off from the HBO juggernaut. Her feature outings were uneven, with a role as Nell Fenwick in the live action adaptation of the cartoon "Dudley Do-Right" (1999) marking a low point. She recovered with a well-cast role in the ensemble of David Mamet's minor comedy "State and Main" (2000), playing a self-obsessed, manipulative actress in the acclaimed chronicle of a small-town movie shoot. The romantic comedy whodunit "Life Without Dick" (2002) co-starring Harry Connick, Jr., went straight-to-video despite a promising onscreen pairing, but Parker proved to be box office gold in the screwball holiday comedy "The Family Stone" (2005). Critics singled her out for her performance as the high-powered girlfriend of the eldest son in a bohemian family, whose introduction at the family's annual gathering causes awkwardness, confusion and ultimately hostility. Parker followed up with another comedy that neared the $100 million mark, co-starring as the frustrated suitor of a perpetually adolescent Matthew McConaughey in "Failure to Launch" (2006).
For her next project, Parker abandoned the broad Hollywood comedies in favor of the microbudget indie "Smart People," which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. In the promising dramedy co-starring Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church, and Ellen Page, Parker played a doctor who reconnects with a former college professor (Quaid) and tips his already dysfunctional world on end. A month after that film went into general release, Parker would star in the highly-anticipated and much chronicled "Sex and the City: The Movie" reprising her role as Carrie Bradshaw and preparing her beloved single character for a possible trip to the wedding altar with her series-long love, Mr. Big (Chris Noth). For her next project, Parker abandoned the broad Hollywood comedies in favor of the micro-budget indie "Smart People," which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. In the promising dramedy co-starring Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church and Ellen Page, Parker played a doctor who reconnects with a former college professor (Quaid) and tips his already dysfunctional world on end. A month after the film went into general release, Parker starred in the immensely successful film version of "Sex and the City" (2008) reprising her iconic role of Carrie Bradshaw. A blockbuster in every respect, the film proved just how much of a cultural impact the "Sex" franchise had made, with Parker at its very epicenter.
Although she played another glamorous New Yorker in "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" (2009), the reception could not have been more different. "Morgans" was a bombed with critics and moviegoers alike, who found little to laugh at in the fish-out-of-water comedy where city slickers Parker and estranged husband Hugh Grant are forced to relocate to Wyoming when they witness a murder. Happier news for Parker came when she and husband Broderick had twin daughters the same year via an Ohio surrogate mother. The only shadow over the happy event came with the arrest of two Ohio police chiefs and a mayor's son, charged with breaking into the surrogate mother's house to find information to sell to tabloids, as well as generally harassing her. Parker notched another enormous success at the box office the following year, however, with the highly anticipated sequel "Sex and the City 2" (2010), proving that the world was still very interested in the glamorous adventures of Carrie Bradshaw and her friends. Parker's next two feature releases - the holiday-themed ensemble comedy "New Year's Eve" (2011) and the working mother comedy "I Don't Know How She Does It' (2011) - attracted significantly less interest at theaters. She was next seen as another icon of female empowerment when she essayed feminist Gloria Steinem in "Lovelace" (2012), a biopic about the tragic life and career of XXX film star, Linda Lovelace.