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Parsons, Estelle 1927–

PARSONS, Estelle 1927


Born November 20, 1927, in Lynn (one source says Marblehead), MA; daughter of Eben and Elinor (maiden name, Mattson) Parsons; married Richard Gehman (a writer), December 19, 1953 (divorced August, 1958); married Peter L. Zimroth (a lawyer), January 2, 1983; children: (first marriage) Martha, Abbie (twins); (second marriage) Abraham (adopted). Education: Connecticut College for Women, B.A., political science, 1949; attended Boston University Law School, 194950; studied acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. Politics: Republican.

Addresses: Contact 924 West End Ave., Suite T5, New York, NY 100253543. Agent Writers & Artists Agency, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

Career: Actress, director, and writer. Julius Monk's revues, performer, 1958; Yale Repertory Theatre Company, New Haven, CT, member, 196768; New York Shakespeare Festival Players, New York City, artistic director, 1986; Actors Studio, artistic director, 1997. Member of the Committee for Nation's Health, Washington, DC, and the Republican Finance Committee, Boston, MA; held political office, Marblehead, MA. Also worked as a crop harvester, Women's Land Army, England.

Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, Actors Studio.

Awards, Honors: Theatre World Award, 1963, for Mrs. Dally Has a Lover; Obie Award, 1964, for Next Time I'll Sing to You and In the Summer House; Academy Award, best supporting actress, 1967, and Golden Laurel Award, 2nd place, female supporting performance, 1968, for Bonnie and Clyde; Academy Award nomination, best supporting actress, 1969, and Golden Laurel Award, female supporting performance, 1970, for Rachel, Rachel; Medal of Honor, Connecticut College, 1969; Film Award nomination, best supporting actress, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1971, for Watermelon Man; Drama Desk Award, 1977, for Miss Margarida's Way.


Stage Appearances:

Reporter, Happy Hunting, Majestic Theatre, New York City, 1956.

Nightcap at the Showplace (also known as Jerry Herman's Nightcap ), New York City, 1958.

Whoop Up, 1958.

Cleo, The Most Happy Fella, North Shore Music Festival, Beverly, MA, 1958.

DemiDozen, Upstairs at the Downstairs, New York City, 1959.

Pieces of Eight, Upstairs at the Downstairs, 1959.

Ollie, Beg, Borrow, or Steal, Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, 1960.

Mrs. Coaxer, The Threepenny Opera, Theatre de Lys, New York City, 1960.

Mrs. Peachum, The Threepenny Opera, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, both 1960.

Nellie Forbush, South Pacific, Chautaugua, NY, 1961.

Lasca, The Automobile Graveyard, 41st Street Theatre, New York City, 1961.

Put It in Writing, Royal Poinciana Playhouse, FL, 1962.

Lula Roca, Hey You, Light Man!, Theatre by the Sea, Mantunuck, RI, 1962.

Mrs. Dally, Mrs. Dally Has a Lover, Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City, 1962.

Lizzie, Next Time I'll Sing to You, Phoenix Theatre, New York City, 1963.

Hortense, Come to the Palace of Sin, Theatre de Lys, 1963.

Gertrude EastmanCuevas, In the Summer House, Little Fox Theatre, New York City, 1964.

Felicia, Ready When You Are, C. B., Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, 1964.

Major Barbara, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, OH, 1965.

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 1965.

Mrs. Goldman, Suburban Tragedy (oneact play), and Shirley, Princess Rebecca Birnbaum (oneact play), both part of Monopoly, Stage 73 Theatre, New York City, 1965.

Laureen, Malcolm, Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1966.

Doris, The East Wind, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York City, 1967.

Virginia, Galileo, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, 1967.

Myrtle, The Seven Descents of Myrtle, Barrymore Theatre, New York City, 1968.

Honor and Offer, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 1968.

Janice Krieger, A Way of Life, American National Theatre and Academy, New York City, 1969.

Aase, Peer Gynt, Delacorte Theatre, New York City, 1969.

Leocadia Begbick, Mahagonny, Anderson Theatre, New York City, 1970.

Catherine Reardon, ... And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, Morosco Theatre, New York City, 1971.

Milly, People Are Living There, Forum Theatre, New York City, 1971.

Oh Glorious Tintinnabulation, Actors Studio, New York City, 1974.

Mert, Mert and Phil, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, 1974.

The Norman Conquests, Morosco Theatre, 19751976.

Edna Wrath, The Reason We Eat, Hartman Theatre, Stamford, CT, 1976.

Dede Cooper, Ladies of the Alamo, Martin Beck Theatre, 1977.

Miss Margarida, Miss Margarida's Way, Public Theatre, New York City, then Ambassador Theatre, New York City, 1977.

Man Is Man, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1978.

Martha, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Buffalo Studio Arena, Buffalo, NY, 1978.

Ruth, The Pirates of Penzance, Uris (now Gershwin) Theatre, New York City, 1982.

Orgasmo Adulto Escapes from the Zoo (solo show), Public Theatre, 1983.

Martha Mitchell, The Unguided Missile, American Place Theatre, New York City, 1989.

Baba Goya, 1989.

Denny, Shimada, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1992.

Extended Forecast, La MaMa, New York City, 1993.

Felicity, The Shadow Box, Circle in the Square Uptown Theatre, New York City, 19941995.

Deja Revue, McGinn/Cazale Theatre, New York City, 1995.

Grace and Glorie, Roundabout Theatre, New York City, 1996.

Winnie, Happy Days, Lincoln Center, 1996.

Fannie Mae Gossett, The Last of the Thorntons, Signature Theater Company, New York City, 20002001.

Cora Swanson, Mornings at Seven, Lyceum Theater, New York City, 2002.

Also appeared in Forgiving Typhoid Mary, The Skin of Our Teeth, and Twice Removed.

Major Tours:

Elizabeth Dale, A Sense of Humor, western U.S. cities, 19831984.

Stage Work:

Director, Voices, St. Clement's Theatre, New York City, 1978.

Director, Antony and Cleopatra, Interart Theatre, New York City, 1979.

Codirector, Orgasmo Adulto Escapes from the Zoo (solo show), Public Theatre, New York City, 1983.

Director, Salome: The Reading, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City, 2003.

Film Appearances:

JoAnn's mother, Ladybug, Ladybug, United Artists, 1963.

Blanche, Bonnie and Clyde, Warner Bros., 1967.

Calla Mackie, Rachel, Rachel, Warner Bros., 1968.

Marion Hollander, Don't Drink the Water, AvcoEmbassy, 1969.

Althea Gerber, Watermelon Man (also known as The Night the Sun Came Out ), Columbia, 1970.

Ellen Haney, I Walk the Line, Columbia, 1970.

Alice, I Never Sang for My Father, Columbia, 1970.

Barbara Newman, Two People, Universal, 1973.

Helen, For Pete's Sake (also known as July Pork Bellies ), Columbia, 1974.

First lady/barmaid, Foreplay (also known as The President's Women ), Cinema National, 1975.

Mrs. Kupchak, The Lemon Sisters, Miramax, 1990.

Mrs. Trueheart, Dick Tracy, Buena Vista, 1990.

Louise the psychic, Boys on the Side, Warner Bros., 1995.

Queen Margaret, Looking for Richard, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1996.

Old Lady McCracken, That Darn Cat, Buena Vista, 1997.

Television Appearances; Series:

Today girl and commentator, The Today Show, NBC, 19531954.

Host and interviewer, Mothers by Daughters, PBS, 1985.

Beverly "Bev" Harris, a recurring role, Roseanne, ABC, 19891997.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Arlene Glynn, Terror on the Beach, 1973.

Sadie Underwood, The Gun and the Pulpit, 1974.

Betty Hill, The UFO Incident (also known as Interrupted Journey ), 1975.

Edwina, Big Henry and the Polka Dot Kid, 1976.

Marjorie Seebode, The Gentleman Bandit (also known as The Bandit Priest ), 1981.

Mrs. O'Connell, Guests of the Nation, 1981.

Clare Block, Open Admissions, CBS, 1988.

Matty Jennings, Everyday Heroes, 1990.

Mary Chessen, A Private Matter (also known as Miss Sherri and The Sherri Finkbine Story ), HBO, 1992.

Older Doris, "The American Clock" (also known as "Arthur Miller's The American Clock"), TNT Screenworks, TNT, 1993.

Mrs. Stanapolous, Freak City, Showtime, 1999.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Bess Truman, Backstairs at the Whitehouse, NBC, 1979.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Carrie Bernice, "The Gambling Heart," The DuPont Show of the Week, 1964.

"Where There's Smoke," The Nurses, 1965.

"Alarums and Excursions," The Trials of O'Brien, 1966.

"Wall of Silence," Medical Center, 1972.

"Love and the Return of Raymond," Love, American Style, 1972.

Dolores Mancheney, "Archie's Secret Passion," All in the Family, CBS, 1976.

Blanche Hefner, "Reunion on Hauser Street," All in the Family, CBS, 1978.

Blanche Hefner, "Weekend in the Country," All in the Family, CBS, 1978.

Blanche Hefner, "Blanche and Murray," Archie Bunker's Place, 1979.

Mrs. "Lovey" Howell, Roseanne, ABC, 1994.

Jennette, "Sandcastles," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1997.

Esther O'Neill, "The Fix," 100 Centre Street, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Rose Rinato, "Denial," Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (also known as Law & Order: S.V.U. ), NBC and USA Network, 2002.

Also appeared in Faith for Today, ABC and syndicated; and The Verdict Is Yours, CBS.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Mabel Lederer/Angela Motorman, Come along with Me, PBS, 1982.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The 40th Annual Academy Awards, 1968.

Hemingway's Spain: A Love Affair, 1969.

Mollie Malloy, The Front Page, 1970.

Agnes, A Memory of Two Mondays, PBS, 1974.

Lucille Sears, June Moon, PBS, 1974.

That Was the Year That Was, NBC, 1976.

Today at 40, NBC, 1992.

The Gospel According to Jesus, Cinemax, 1995.

Beatrice Corrigan, "The Love Letter," Hallmark Hall of Fame, CBS, 1998.

The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998.

Television Work; Series:

Production assistant, then feature producer, The Today Show, NBC, 19521953.


Teleplays; Features for Series:

The Today Show, NBC, 19521953.



American Theatre, July/August, 1996, p. 10.

Back Stage, June 11, 1993, p. 40; November 25, 1994, p. 39; July 26, 1996, p. 44.

Back Stage West, August 1, 1996, p. 7.

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