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Parker, Sarah Jessica

PARKER, SARAH JESSICA

PARKER, SARAH JESSICA (1965– ), U.S. actress. Born in Nelsonville, Ohio, Parker made her first television appearance at age eight in The Little Match Girl. Her parents divorced when she was young; her mother, Barbra, who is Jewish, married Paul Forste. Parker, her two brothers, and sister joined her stepfather's four children in one large family. At nine Parker was cast in the Broadway production of The Innocents, prompting the family to move to New Jersey. She was then cast in The Sound of Music along with four siblings and then got the lead in Annie on Broadway. What followed was a succession of television and movie roles. She appeared in The Sunshine Boys, Miami Rhapsody, and The First Wives Club. But her role as the sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw on the hit television series Sex and the City transformed her career. Parker played the central character, one of four single friends in New York. The series catalogued their romances, and Parker won numerous best actress awards. Because of her far-out clothing on the show, she also became a fashion icon whose photographs later adorned the covers of major fashion magazines. Despite the racy material, the show, which ran for six years, appeared in syndication around the world with the steamy material and dialogue toned down. Parker is married to the actor Matthew Broderick, who also had a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father. The couple married in a civil ceremony in a historic synagogue in New York that is no longer used as a house of worship. Parker has done a number of shows of a Jewish cultural nature. She was host of the Hebrew version of Sesame Street called Shalom Sesame, read Jewish folk tales on National Public Radio, and narrated a documentary on Ḥasidim.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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