Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Estelle Parsons

Estelle Parsons

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Estelle Parsons'
Start a new discussion about 'Estelle Parsons'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Estelle Margaret Parsons (born November 20, 1927) is an American theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

, film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 and television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 actress and occasional theatrical director.

After studying law, Parsons became a singer before deciding to pursue a career in acting. She worked for the television program Today and made her stage debut in 1961. During the 1960s, Parsons established her career on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 before progressing to film. She received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 for her role as Blanche Barrow
Blanche Barrow
Bennie Iva "Blanche" Frasure was the wife of Marvin "Buck" Barrow and the sister-in-law of Clyde Barrow. Buck and Blanche were part of the Barrow Gang from late March 1933 until their capture on July 24, 1933.-Early life:Blanche Barrow was born in Garvin, Oklahoma...

 in Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde (film)
The film was originally offered to François Truffaut, the best-known director of the New Wave movement, who made contributions to the script. He passed on the project to make Fahrenheit 451. The producers approached Jean-Luc Godard next...

(1967), and was also nominated for her work in Rachel, Rachel
Rachel, Rachel
Rachel, Rachel is a 1968 American drama film produced and directed by Paul Newman. The screenplay by Stewart Stern is based on the 1966 novel A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence.-Plot:...

(1968).

Parsons worked extensively in film and theatre during the 1970s and later directed several Broadway productions. More recently her television work included a role in the sitcom Roseanne
Roseanne (TV series)
Roseanne is an American sitcom broadcast on ABC from October 18, 1988 to May 20, 1997. Starring Roseanne Barr, the show revolved around the Conners, an Illinois working class family...

. Nominated on four occasions for a Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

, in 2004 Parsons was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame
American Theatre Hall of Fame
The American Theatre Hall of Fame in New York City was founded in 1972. Earl Blackwell was the first head of the Executive Committee. In an announcement at a luncheon meeting on March 1972, he said that the new Theater Hall of Fame would be located in the Uris Theatre . James M...

.

Early life


Parsons was born in Lynn, Massachusetts
Lynn, Massachusetts
Lynn is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 89,050 at the 2000 census. An old industrial center, Lynn is home to Lynn Beach and Lynn Heritage State Park and is about north of downtown Boston.-17th century:...

, in the Lynn Hospital, the daughter of Elinor Ingebore (née
Married and maiden names
A married name is the family name adopted by a person upon marriage. When a person assumes the family name of her spouse, the new name replaces the maiden name....

 Mattsson), who was a native of Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, and Eben Parsons. She attended the Oak Grove School for Girls in Maine. After graduating from Connecticut College
Connecticut College
Connecticut College is a private liberal arts college located in New London, Connecticut.The college was founded in 1911, as Connecticut College for Women, in response to Wesleyan University closing its doors to women...

 in 1949, Parsons initially studied law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 at Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

, and then worked as a singer with a band before settling on an acting career in the early 1950s.

Career


Moving to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, she worked as a writer, producer and commentator for The Today Show. She began performing Off-Broadway in 1961, and received a Theatre World Award
Theatre World Award
The Theatre World Award, first awarded for the 1945-46 season, is an American honor presented annually to actors and actresses in recognition of an outstanding New York City stage debut performance, either on Broadway or off-Broadway.-History:...

 in 1963 for her performance in Whisper into My Good Ear/Mrs. Dally Has a Lover (1962).

Parsons has received Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

 nominations for her work in The Seven Descents of Myrtle
The Seven Descents of Myrtle
The Seven Descents of Myrtle is a play by Tennessee Williams. Its title character is reminiscent of another Williams' heroine, Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire....

(1968), And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little
And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little
And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little is an American play written by Paul Zindel and published by Dramatists Play Service.The story surrounds three sisters: Catherine, an alcoholic; Anna, a hypochondriac and Ceil, an attention-starved socialite.-History:...

(1971), Miss Margarida's Way
Miss Margarida's Way
Miss Margarida's Way is a satirical play written by Brazil's Roberto Athayde.The play is set in what looks like a school classroom. The play's cast typically consists of only two people: Miss Margarida, a school teacher, and a male student...

(1978), and Morning's at Seven
Morning's at Seven
Morning's at Seven is a play by Paul Osborn.Its plot focuses on four aging sisters living in a small Midwestern town in 1938, and it deals with ramifications within the family when two of them begin to question their lives and decide to make some changes before it’s too late.The original Broadway...

(2002). She played the Widow Begbick in the American premiere of the Weill
Kurt Weill
Kurt Julian Weill was a German-Jewish composer, active from the 1920s, and in his later years in the United States. He was a leading composer for the stage who was best known for his fruitful collaborations with Bertolt Brecht...

 – Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

 opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is a political-satirical opera composed by Kurt Weill to a German libretto by Bertolt Brecht. It was first performed in Leipzig on 9 March 1930.-Composition history:...

(1970), and performed as Mrs. Peacham to Lotte Lenya
Lotte Lenya
Lotte Lenya was an Austrian singer, diseuse, and actress. In the German-speaking and classical music world she is best remembered for her performances of the songs of her husband, Kurt Weill. In English-language film she is remembered for her Academy Award-nominated role in The Roman Spring of Mrs...

's Jenny in Threepenny Opera on tour and in New York City. She also played "Ruth" in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences...

on Broadway in 1981. From June 17, 2008, through May 17, 2009, she played the role of "Violet Weston" in August: Osage County
August: Osage County
August: Osage County is a darkly comedic play by Tracy Letts. It was the recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago on 28 June 2007, and closed on 26 August 2007. Its Broadway debut was at the Imperial Theater on 4 December 2007 and...

 by Tracy Letts
Tracy Letts
Tracy Letts is an American playwright and actor who received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play August: Osage County.-Biography:...

. She continued playing the role during the show's national tour beginning July 24, 2009, in Denver.

As a director, Parsons has a number of Broadway credits, including a production of Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular archetypal stories of young, teenage lovers.Romeo and Juliet belongs to a...

, Macbeth
Macbeth
The Tragedy of Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607...

and As You Like It
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

in 1986. Off-Broadway, she directed Dario Fo
Dario Fo
Dario Fo is an Italian satirist, playwright, theater director, actor and composer. His dramatic work employs comedic methods of the ancient Italian commedia dell'arte, a theatrical style popular with the working classes. He currently owns and operates a theatre company with his wife, actress...

's Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From the Zoo (1983). She also served as the Artistic Director of the Actors Studio
Actors Studio
The Actors Studio is a membership organization for professional actors, theatre directors and playwrights at 432 West 44th Street in the Clinton neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It was founded October 5, 1947, by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, Robert Lewis and Anna Sokolow who provided...

 for five years, ending in 2003.

Her film career includes an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 for her portrayal of Blanche Barrow
Blanche Barrow
Bennie Iva "Blanche" Frasure was the wife of Marvin "Buck" Barrow and the sister-in-law of Clyde Barrow. Buck and Blanche were part of the Barrow Gang from late March 1933 until their capture on July 24, 1933.-Early life:Blanche Barrow was born in Garvin, Oklahoma...

 in Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde (film)
The film was originally offered to François Truffaut, the best-known director of the New Wave movement, who made contributions to the script. He passed on the project to make Fahrenheit 451. The producers approached Jean-Luc Godard next...

(1967), and a nomination for Rachel, Rachel
Rachel, Rachel
Rachel, Rachel is a 1968 American drama film produced and directed by Paul Newman. The screenplay by Stewart Stern is based on the 1966 novel A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence.-Plot:...

(1968). She also received a BAFTA Award nomination for her role in Watermelon Man
Watermelon Man (film)
Watermelon Man is a 1970 American comedy-drama film directed by Melvin Van Peebles and based on the book The Night the Sun Came Out on Happy Hollow Lane by Herman Raucher...

(1970), and appeared in I Never Sang for My Father
I Never Sang for My Father
I Never Sang for My Father is a 1970 American film, based on a play by the same name, which tells the story of a college professor who wants to get out from under the thumb of his aging father yet still has regrets about his plan to leave him behind when he marries a younger woman and moves to...

(1971), Two People
Two People (film)
Two People is a 1973 American drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise. It stars Peter Fonda and Lindsay Wagner. The screenplay by Richard De Roy focuses on the brief relationship shared by a Vietnam War deserter and a fashion model.-Plot:...

(1973), A Memory of Two Mondays
A Memory of Two Mondays
A Memory of Two Mondays is a one-act play by Arthur Miller.Based on Miller's own experiences, the play focuses on a group of desperate workers earning their livings in a Brooklyn automobile parts warehouse during the Great Depression in the 1930s, a time of 25 percent unemployment in the United...

(1974), For Pete's Sake
For Pete's Sake (film)
For Pete's Sake is a 1974 American screwball comedy film directed by Peter Yates. The screenplay by Stanley Shapiro and Maurice Richlin chronicles the misadventures of a Brooklyn housewife...

(1975), Dick Tracy (1990) and Boys on the Side
Boys on the Side
Boys on the Side is a 1995 comedy-drama film directed by Herbert Ross . It stars Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Barrymore and Mary-Louise Parker as three friends on a cross-country road trip...

(1995). She was also the original choice to play the part of Pamela Voorhees
Pamela Voorhees
Pamela Sue Voorhees is a fictional character in the Friday the 13th films, and the antagonist of the original Friday the 13th film. She is a former camp cook and the mother of Jason Voorhees, the main character of the series....

 in the 1980 film Friday the 13th; the part later went to Betsy Palmer
Betsy Palmer
Betsy Palmer is an American actress, best known as a regular panelist on the game show I've Got a Secret, and later for playing Pamela Voorhees in the notorious slasher film Friday the 13th.-Life and career:...

.

On television, Parsons played the part of Roseanne and Jackie's pretentious mother, Beverly, on the 1988–1997 sitcom Roseanne
Roseanne (TV series)
Roseanne is an American sitcom broadcast on ABC from October 18, 1988 to May 20, 1997. Starring Roseanne Barr, the show revolved around the Conners, an Illinois working class family...

. Her other television credits include appearances in The Patty Duke Show
The Patty Duke Show
The Patty Duke Show is an American sitcom which ran on ABC from September 18, 1963, until May 4, 1966, with reruns airing through August 31, 1966. The show was created as a vehicle for rising star Patty Duke...

, All In The Family
All in the Family
All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971, to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, a new show, Archie Bunker's Place, picked up where All in the Family had ended...

, Archie Bunker's Place
Archie Bunker's Place
Archie Bunker's Place is an American sitcom originally broadcast on the CBS network, conceived in 1979 as a spin-off and continuation of All in the Family. While not as popular as its predecessor, the show maintained a large enough audience to last for four seasons, until its cancellation in 1983...

, Open Admissions‎, Frasier
Frasier
Frasier is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons, from September 16, 1993, to May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee in association with Grammnet and Paramount Network Television.A spin-off of Cheers, Frasier stars...

, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an American police procedural television drama series set in New York City, where it is also primarily produced...

, the TV-movie The UFO Incident: The Story of Betty and Barney Hill (opposite James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones is an American actor. He is well-known for his distinctive bass voice and for his portrayal of characters of substance, gravitas and leadership...

), and the PBS production of June Moon
June Moon
June Moon is a play by George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner. Based on the Lardner short story "Some Like Them Cold," about a love affair that loses steam before it ever gets started, it includes songs with words and music by Lardner but is not considered a musical per se.At its center is Fred...

.

In 2004, Parsons was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame
American Theatre Hall of Fame
The American Theatre Hall of Fame in New York City was founded in 1972. Earl Blackwell was the first head of the Executive Committee. In an announcement at a luncheon meeting on March 1972, he said that the new Theater Hall of Fame would be located in the Uris Theatre . James M...

.

She recently appeared in London playing psychic Helga ten Dorp in Deathtrap
Deathtrap (play)
Deathtrap is a play by Ira Levin in 1978 which encompasses many plot twists and is essentially a play within a play. It is a play in two acts with one set and five characters. It holds the record for the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway and was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best...

at the Noel Coward Theatre
Noël Coward Theatre
The Noël Coward Theatre, formerly known as the Albery Theatre, is a West End theatre on St. Martin's Lane in the City of Westminster. It opened on 12 March 1903 as the New Theatre and was built by Sir Charles Wyndham behind Wyndham's Theatre which was completed in 1899. The building was designed by...

 in the West End
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

.

She was recently seen on Broadway in David Lindsay-Abaire
David Lindsay-Abaire
David Lindsay-Abaire is an American playwright and lyricist. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2007 for his play Rabbit Hole, which also earned several Tony Award nominations.-Early life and education:...

's Good People (play)
Good People (play)
Good People is a 2011 play by David Lindsay-Abaire. The world premiere was staged by the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. The production was nominated for two 2011 Tony Awards – Best Play and Best Leading Actress in a Play , with the latter winning.- Synopsis :Margie Walsh, a resident of...

.

Personal life


Her grandson is Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a professional American football team based in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. They are currently members of the South Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

 starting right tackle Eben Britton
Eben Britton
-Jacksonville Jaguars:In an effort to rebuild their offensive line, the Jaguars selected Eugene Monroe and Britton with their first two picks. While Monroe is ought to occupy the left tackle spot, Britton was expected to compete with Tony Pashos for the starting nod at right tackle...

.

External links