Mary-Louise Parker , (born August 2, 1964, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, U.S.), American actress of stage, screen, and television who was noted for bringing integrity and depth to her performances.
Parker grew up in South Carolina and studied acting at the North Carolina School of the Arts. In 1975 she had a small part in the soap opera Ryan’s Hope, but it was not until the late 1980s that she began to garner notice with her work in Off-Broadway productions. In 1989 she appeared in her first film, Signs of Life, a drama in which she portrayed an abused girlfriend. This and later roles led some to describe her as the “long-suffering girl next door.” In 1990 Parker made her Broadway debut in Prelude to a Kiss, and her performance as Rita—a young bartender whose soul moves into the body of an old man, to the dismay of her new husband (played by Alec Baldwin)—earned her a Tony Award nomination. That year Parker was also on-screen in one of the first movies to openly discuss the AIDS epidemic, Longtime Companion. She next won critical praise in the film Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) as the strong-willed cafe owner Ruth, who struggles through an abusive marriage.
Parker went on to appear in a number of major Hollywood films, including The Client (1994), a thriller that starred Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones; Woody Allen’s comedy Bullets over Broadway (1994); Boys on the Side (1995), in which she played an AIDS victim; and The Portrait of a Lady (1996), an adaptation of the Henry James novel that also featured Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich. In 1996 Parker costarred with Billy Crudup in a revival of William Inge’s play Bus Stop. (Parker and Crudup became romantically involved but broke up before their son was born in 2004.) Parker again earned praise for her performance in the stage drama How I Learned to Drive (1997), which followed an affair between Parker’s character, the insecure Li’l Bit, and her uncle Peck (played by David Morse).
In 2001 Parker won a Tony Award for her performance as the brilliant and