Sarah Jessica Parker (born March 25,
1965) is an American film, television and theatre actress, and producer.
She is best known for her leading role as Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO
television series Sex and the City, for which she won four Golden Globe
Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Emmy Awards. She played
the same role in the 2008 feature film version of the show, Sex and the
City: The Movie and its sequel, Sex and the City 2, which is scheduled to
open on May 28, 2010.
Parker in addition to television and theatre, has appeared in films like
L.A. Story (1991), Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), along
with co-star Bette Midler, Mars Attacks! (1996), State and Main (2000).
More recently, Parker starred in The Family Stone (2005), Smart People
(2008), and Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009).
Sarah Jessica Parker was born in Nelsonville, Ohio, the daughter of
Barbara, a nursery school operator and teacher, and Steven Parker, an
entrepreneur and journalist. She was one of eight children from her
parents' marriage and her mother's second marriage after Barbara and
Steven divorced (Parker's full siblings include actors Timothy Britten
Parker and Pippin Parker). Her father, a native of Brooklyn, was Jewish,
the original family surname being "Bar-Kahn" ("son of Kohen"). Parker has
said of herself, "I always just considered myself a Jew".
As a young girl, she trained in singing and ballet, soon being cast in the
Broadway revival of William Archibald's The Innocents. Her family moved to
Cincinnati, Ohio and then to Dobbs Ferry, New York, near New York City,
where Parker was developing her career as a child actress. In 1977, the
family moved to the newly opened planned community on Roosevelt Island, in
the East River between Manhattan and Queens, and later to Manhattan
proper; her parents later moved to Englewood, New Jersey, where Parker
attended Dwight Morrow High School.
Parker attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati,
the School of American Ballet, Dwight Morrow High School and the
Professional Children's School, Hollywood High School in Los Angeles,
Parker and four siblings appeared in a staging of The Sound of Music at
the Muny in St. Louis, MO, and Parker went on to the new 1977-81 Broadway
musical Annie — first in the small role of "July" and then succeeding
Andrea McArdle and Shelley Bruce in the lead role of the plucky
Depression-era orphan, beginning March 6, 1979. Parker held the role for a
In 1982, Parker was cast as the co-lead of the CBS sitcom Square Pegs. The
show lasted one season before being cancelled by the network, but Parker's
performance, as a shy, misfit teen who showed hidden depths, was
critically well-received. In the three years that followed, she was cast
in four films — the most significant of those being Footloose in 1984 and
1984's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, co-starring Helen Hunt. In 1986, Parker
appeared in the cult classic Flight of the Navigator, a Disney science
fiction film about a boy, David, who is relativistically transported in
time by an alien spacecraft eight years into the future without aging.
By the early 1990s, Parker's career was gaining momentum. In 1991, she
appeared in a supporting role in the romantic comedy, L.A. Story; both the
movie and her performance garnered positive reviews. The following year,
she landed an important starring role in the well-received film Honeymoon
in Vegas, co-starring Nicolas Cage. Her 1993 role in the film Hocus Pocus
was a higher grosser at the box office but received negative reviews. Also
in 1993, she starred as a police diver opposite Bruce Willis in film
Striking Distance. The following year, she appeared opposite Johnny Depp
in the critically acclaimed movie Ed Wood as Wood's girlfriend Dolores
The film Miami Rhapsody, in 1995, saw her back on familiar territory with
more romantic comedy material and a leading role. In 1996, she appeared in
another Tim Burton-directed movie, Mars Attacks!, as well as in The First
Wives Club and The Substance of Fire, in which she reprised her 1991 stage
role. In 1997, she appeared as Francesca Lanfield, a washed-up former
child actress, in the comedy Till There Was You.
The script for an HBO drama/comedy series titled Sex and the City was sent
to Parker. The show's creator, Darren Star, was determined that she be
cast in his project. Despite some early doubts about being cast in a
long-term television series, Parker agreed to star.
The show proved to be an instant success, raising Parker's profile
considerably. It is credited with turning Parker from simply an actress
into a star and icon. Despite the show's increasingly risqué storylines,
Parker retained the strict no-nudity clause in her contract throughout the
show's six-season run. Parker became a producer for the show starting with
its third season. In 2004, Parker won an Emmy Award for her lead role
(after five consecutive losses). Parker stated in 2006 that she "will
never do a television show again".
After Sex and the City ended in 2004, rumors of a film version circulated
and it was revealed that a script had been completed for such a project.
However, at the time, Parker stated that it would likely never be made.
Two years later, however, preparations were resumed, and the film was
released on May 30, 2008. A Sequel began filming in August 2009 and will
be realeased on 28 May 2010.
In addition to work in motion pictures and television, Parker is also a
respected stage actor, having appeared in well-reviewed lead roles in the
off-Broadway play Sylvia, alongside future husband Matthew Broderick in
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and the Tony
Award-nominated Once Upon a Mattress, as Princess Winifred the Woebegone.
In December 2005, Parker appeared in her first theatrical film in several
years, The Family Stone; she received a Golden Globe nomination as Best
Actress - Comedy for the role. Her next film, the romantic comedy Failure
to Launch, co-starring Matthew McConaughey, was released on March 10, 2006
and opened at #1 in the North American box office, grossing slightly over
$24 million in its opening weekend, despite mediocre reviews. Parker's
work as a producer continued with the independent film Spinning Into
Butter (which she also starred in), based on the Rebecca Gilman play.
Parker was initially set to star in Vacancy, along with her co-star from
The Family Stone, Luke Wilson, but she dropped out in favor of other
projects. Kate Beckinsale later won the role.
On July 20, US cable network Bravo announced it had picked up a reality
show produced by Parker under the working title American Artist. As a
self-described "art enthusiast", Parker's show will have 13 finalists of
any age over 17. Parker's inspiration comes from her mother-in-law, whose
artwork only became noticed after she died.
Parker is also producing a new comedy series for HBO called
Washingtonienne. The pilot is currently in production and will air in
2009. The show revolves around the lives of three smart and sophisticated
friends, all working for powerful men on Capitol Hill.
Parker is also taking part in the American version of the hit UK
television series Who Do You Think You Are? for NBC, in which celebrities
trace their family trees. The executive producer is Lisa Kudrow and the
series will feature herself, Kudrow, Susan Sarandon and others.
Parker was romantically involved with actor Robert Downey, Jr. from 1984
until 1991. They met on the set of Firstborn. Downey had a drug problem
and this had a significant effect on their relationship; referring to that
time in her life, Parker has said: "I believed I was the person holding
On May 19, 1997, she married actor Matthew Broderick, to whom she was
introduced by one of her brothers at the Naked Angels theater company,
where they both performed. The couple married in a civil ceremony in an
historic synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that is no longer
used as a house of worship. The couple's son James Wilkie Broderick was
born on October 28, 2002. He was named after Broderick's father, the actor
James Wilke Broderick and writer Wilkie Collins.
It was confirmed by their representatives on April 28, 2009 that Parker
and Broderick were expecting twin girls through surrogacy in July.
Parker and Broderick's surrogate delivered their twin daughters, Marion
Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge, on June 22, 2009. Their middle names of
"Elwell" and "Hodge" are from Parker's family. Marion weighed 5 pounds, 11
ounces, while Tabitha was 6 pounds.
As of 2009, she lives in New York City with her husband, son, and
daughters. The couple frequent the arts and also spend a considerable
amount of time in County Donegal, Ireland, where Broderick spent his
summers as a child.
Parker is a prominent member of the Hollywood's Women's Political
Committee and is UNICEF's Representative for the Performing Arts; in 2006,
she traveled to Liberia as a UNICEF celebrity ambassador, and has
commented that, "It's a place that gets little or no attention, so we're
going to try and bring some attention to it". She is currently a UNICEF
Goodwill Ambassador for the United States. Parker has also defended the
state of Israel. "I feel defensive when people say, 'How can Israel go in
with tanks?'," she says. "What are they supposed to do? Children are being
killed by people willing to strap bombs to their bodies and walk into the
public market. So Israel's response to this is to protect its people".
E! News confirms that prior to her appearance at the 2008 Major League
Baseball All-Star game, she had her signature mole removed.
"Thank you. I've never won
anything in my life." - on winning her 2000 Golden Globe Award for
"Sex and the City" (1998)
I tell my friends married life is boring, but that's just a fun
thing to say to make single people feel better.
"Sarah Jessica is fine, Sarah, SJP, SJ, hey you, anything." [on how
to address her]
The hardest part of leaving the show ["Sex and the City" (1998)] was
this endless gypsy-like life that I'm back into, where it's like
being the new kid in school all the time, which for some people is
very easy but for me is not. I don't really like change, and I would
like everything to be the same constantly, except that I love being
Celebrity and the media are reliant on each other - always have been
- but we have lost the elegance in that relationship, somehow.
Fashion is a part of my work. I feel a responsibility to be
presentable, to dress up if the occasion calls for it. But, really,
fashion does not play that big a role in my life these days.
One of the things that's great about New York is that it is not a
one-industry town. It has education, academia, the service industry,
arts, publishing, theater, politics, fashion, finance, as well as
movie-making. There are so many people who are cogs in the great
wheel of the city that a less bright light is shone on our lives. It
still exists - there are always paparazzi at our house - but being a
public person feels less like a business than it does in LA. And you
have to approach it differently. I can't hide behind gates, or in a
car, but if I can get a few yards from my front door, I can still
get lost in a crowd. I am always moments, just moments, from
obscurity on a crowded street in New York.
"I get the feeling people are disappointed with me because I don't
have the answers for them. I have to remind them that I don't have a
Ph.D. in sex or counseling.
Regarding her new Steve & Barry line of affordable conservative
womenswear: "There's not going to be any inappropriate midriff
showing, regardless of your age. I really don't care for it. I feel
like, as a culture, we have seen enough damage done by it. It's
provocative in a way that I just don't feel comfortable with."
As a woman, I have an inherent need to be all things to all people,
to make certain everybody's taken care of. I know I can't sustain
that level all the time, so I'm finding the proper balance and it's
made me infinitely happier.