Best known for her television and film role as free-spirited columnist Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City,” Sarah Jessica Parker, winner of multiple Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Emmy Awards, has had a long and impressive career both on stage and on the silver screen. She appeared on Broadway already as a child, and as a teenager made her mark there in the title role of the hit musical Annie during its original run.
Born in 1965 in Nelsonville, Ohio, Parker received vocal training and ballet instruction at an early age. Her talent brought her to Broadway in 1976 to appear alongside Claire Bloom in the short-lived play The Innocents, based on Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw – a production directed by Harold Pinter.
The following year a new musical began its long run (2,377 performances) on Broadway – Annie, which snagged seven Tonys®. Though not in the opening-night cast, Parker soon joined the company in the small part of July and, by 1979, had advanced to center stage in the leading role, starring for a year as Little Orphan Annie.
In the 1980s Parker was busy, as she has been throughout her career, with television and film roles, but in 1995 she returned to the boards with an off-Broadway role as Sylvia, a dog (yes, a dog), in the original production of A. R. Gurney’s play Sylvia, which also starred Blythe Danner. Parker was nominated for a Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Actress in a Play) for her canine performance.
She returned to Broadway in the mid-1990s to join the cast of How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying, a 1995 revival of the Loesser musical starring Matthew Broderick, who won the Tony® for Best Actor in a Musical. (Parker and Broderick would marry in 1997.) In her most recent appearance on Broadway, she starred as Princess Winifred in a 1996 revival of Once upon a Mattress, the 1959 Mary Rodgers musical based on Andersen’s fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” (The cast album is available on the Sony label.)
Parker’s television career began in 1980, when she had a recurring role as Annie (not Little Orphan Annie) in the PBS educational series “3-2-1 Contact!” By 1982, she had landed a leading role in the high school sitcom “Square Pegs” as Patty Greene, a bespectacled girl trying to fit in with the cool kids. She later had recurring roles in the television series “A Year in the Life” (1987–88) and “Equal Justice” (1990–91).
But it was her starring role as Carrie Bradshaw in the millennia-crossing series “Sex and the City” (1998–2004), based on Candace Bushnell’s racy writings, that made Parker a household word. As the sassy narrator of the series, Bradshaw (a columnist who writes about love, relationships, and sex) delved into areas previously avoided on television, expanding and redefining the parameters of content on the small screen. For her work on the show over the years, Parker received four Golden Globe awards, three Screen Actors Guild awards, and two Emmys. Two Sex and the City movies, starring the original members of the cast, were produced after the series ended.
Among other movies in Parker’s extensive filmography are Footloose (1984), L.A. Story (1991), Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), Striking Distance (1993), Ed Wood (1994), The First Wives Club (1996), Mars Attacks! (1996), The Family Stone (2005), Failure to Launch (2006), Smart People (2008), and Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009).