Trey Parker (born Randolph Severn Parker III; October 19, 1969) is an American actor, voice artist, animator, screenwriter, director, producer and musician, best known for being the co-creator of South Park along with his creative partner and best friend Matt Stone, as well as co-writing and co-directing the 2011 multi-Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon.
Parker started his film career in 1992, making a holiday short titled Jesus vs. Frosty. His first success came from Cannibal! The Musical. From there he made another short titled Jesus vs. Santa, which led him and college friend Stone to create South Park, which began airing on television in 1997. He has won four Emmy Awards for his role in South Park, winning for both "Outstanding Programming More Than One Hour" and "Outstanding Programming Less Than One Hour".
Parker first gained his love of live acting in his youth, and explored musical theater at Evergreen High School
Parker was born in Denver, Colorado, the son of Randy (a geologist) and Sharon (an insurance broker). The two share the first names and occupations of South Park characters Randy and Sharon Marsh. He has an older sister named Shelley, which is also the name of Stan Marsh's older sister. In the sixth grade, Parker wrote a sketch titled The Dentist and appeared in his school's talent show. He played the dentist and had a friend play the patient. The plot involved what can go wrong at the dentist; due to the amounts of fake blood involved, Parker's parents were called and were upset. "The kindergartners were all crying and freaking out," Parker recalled. As a teenager, Parker developed a love for musical theatre, and joined the Evergreen Players, a venerable mountain community theater outside of Denver. At 14, he performed his first role as chorus member in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Flower Drum Song and went on to also design sets for the community theater's production of Little Shop of Horrors. Parker attended high school at Evergreen High, where he continued his musical endeavors through starring as Danny Zuko in Grease. He also played piano for the chorus and was president of the choir counsel.
While in school, Parker had a part-time job in a pizza restaurant. Parker was also a "film geek and music buff". Parker grew up in the Conifer, Colorado area, and attended Berklee College of Music before transferring to the University of Colorado, where he majored in music and Japanese.
In 1992, Parker and Stone created Jesus vs. Frosty. It included four boys, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick and Eric Cartman. Both Jesus vs. Frosty and Cannibal! The Musical were made while they were students at the University of Colorado film school, studying under both Stan Brakhage and Jerry Aronson. Afterwards, the two friends set off for Hollywood in hopes of making more movies. Brian Graden, then an executive at Fox, put Parker to work making a pilot for a musical children's television series called Time Warped. The pilot, called "Rom and Jul," was a love story about a Homo erectus and an Australopithecus. Fox passed on the series, but Graden paid Parker and Stone $1,200 to make a new version of The Spirit of Christmas he could send out as a video Christmas card.
They came up with two worthwhile ideas; one a sequel to Jesus vs. Frosty, titled Jesus vs. Santa, and one about a character that would later be recurring in South Park, Mr. Hankey. They chose to write about the four boys. The result was The Spirit of Christmas, an animated short film that centered on four crude-acting, blob-shaped third-grade boys forced to intervene in a nasty fistfight between Jesus Christ and Santa Claus. The tape was a smash, passed around and copied endlessly in media circles in Los Angeles and New York City. The video landed in the hands of Doug Herzog of Comedy Central. "It literally was the funniest thing I'd ever seen," he said in a 2006 interview. "We said, 'Develop a show.' So they went off and developed the show." Stone and Parker produced 13 episodes for season 1. South Park is currently still under contract to produce new episodes through 2016. As of 2007, Parker is credited with directing and writing the vast majority of South Park episodes, and voicing most of the regular and guest characters. In 2013, South Park will begin its seventeenth season with new episodes to air starting September 25.
In 1997, they also released Orgazmo, a movie rated NC-17. In 1998, they starred in (but did not write or direct) BASEketball, another feature film, while being renewed for a second season of South Park. In 1999, Parker and Stone made South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, which gave the series a new level of prominence. He was nominated for an Academy Award as the co-writer of one of the film's songs, "Blame Canada," but did not win. In 2001, the duo announced they would do 39 shorts between the lengths of 2 and 5 minutes. Although originally thought to be South Park related, they decided they would do something different. The result was the shorts Princess. The content was so extreme that it was cancelled after two shows aired. In 2001, they also created That's My Bush!, another television series, which was cancelled after one season. In 2004, they made a film, titled Team America: World Police. The film was not considered a box-office success, grossing 51 million dollars in theaters, despite largely positive reviews (78% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com).
Parker is also a member of the band DVDA with Stone, for which he plays keyboards and sings. DVDA's songs have appeared in many of the duo's productions. They include Orgazmo, BASEketball, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, and Team America: World Police.
Trey claimed to have been on acid with Matt Stone at the time of the 2000 Academy Awards, where they wore dresses popularized by Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow at previous awards shows.
On September 28, 2007, Parker and Stone acquired the rights to the Canadian-made Kenny vs. Spenny, which premiered November 14, 2007 on Comedy Central with ten old and new episodes.
In April 2010, Trey Parker and Matt Stone received a "warning" for allegedly representing the Prophet Muhammad in a bear costume: "We have to warn Matt and Trey [South Park creators] that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show." It was revealed in the next episode that the person in the bear costume was really Santa Claus and not the Prophet Muhammad.
On January 14, 2013, Parker and Stone announced that they would be starting a film production company called Important Studios. Inspired by the production work of Lucasfilm and DreamWorks, Parker and Stone considered founding the studio for approximately two years before committing. The initial financial assets of the studio are valued at $300 million, with the majority of the money originating from South Park, The Book of Mormon, while $60 million is from an investment from Joseph Ravitch of the Raine Group, giving him a 20 percent minority stock.
Parker and Stone have collaborated with Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez on a musical about Mormons; it is titled The Book of Mormon, and stars Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad. It has been produced by Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino. It opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on March 24, 2011, following previews from February 24, 2011. The Book of Mormon won nine Tony Awards in 2011, including that of Best Direction of a Musical for Parker and co-director Casey Nicholaw.
Voices on South Park
In 2006, Parker married Emma Sugiyama. The officiant was 1970s sitcom producer Norman Lear. That marriage ended, and Parker is now living with a woman and her son. Parker is a Libertarian.
On a September 2006 airing of the ABC news program Nightline, Parker articulated his position on religion. He stated that he believes there is knowledge that humanity may not yet possess, and cautioned that it would take a long time to explain exactly what he meant by his belief in God. Parker believes all religions are silly. He states that "All the religions are superfunny to me......The story of Jesus makes no sense to me. God sent his only son. Why could God only have one son and why would he have to die? It's just bad writing, really. And it's really terrible in about the second act." Parker further remarked, "Basically ... out of all the ridiculous religion stories which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous — the silliest one I've ever heard is, 'Yeah ... there's this big giant universe and it's expanding, it's all gonna collapse on itself and we're all just here just 'cause ... just 'cause'. That, to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever."
||Jesus vs. Frosty
||Actor, Producer, Writer
||Cannibal! The Musical
||Director, Actor, Producer, Writer
||Jesus vs. Santa
||Actor, Producer, Writer
|Time Warped (un-aired television series)
|Your Studio and You
||Actor, Writer, Director
||South Park (Television series; 1997–present)
||Co-creator, Voice actor, Writer, Director, Executive producer
||Director, Actor, Writer, Producer
||South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
||Director, Voice Actor, Writer, Producer, Music Co-Composer
||Nomination - Academy Award for Best Original Song
||Even If You Don't
||Director, Writer, Voice Actor, Producer
|That's My Bush! (Television Series; 2001)
||Co-creator, Writer, Executive Producer
||Team America: World Police
||Director, Writer, Voice Actor, Producer
|Tales from the Crapper
||Kenny vs. Spenny
|Saul of the Mole Men
||Television series, intro sung by him
||How's Your News?
||Untitled Fishing Show
Awards and nominations
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012)
Trey Parker has won four Tony Awards.
Academy Award nominations
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- ^ "Trey Parker Biography". tv.com. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- ^ a b c Devin Leonard (October 27, 2006). "South Park creators haven't lost their edge". CNN. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- ^ "Frank Rich’s Liner Notes for The Book of Mormon". Playbill. May 20, 2011
- ^ Moore, John (June 12, 2011). "The Book of Mormon: Colorado's kings of pop-culture subversion". The Denver Post
- ^ Paul Harris (April 1, 2007). "Undisputed kings of cartoon satire". The Guardian. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- ^ "The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus vs. Frosty". spscriptorium.com. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
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- ^ Ginia Bellafonte (August 18, 1997). "The Next Generation". Time. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- ^ "South Park Extended Through 2016!". Comedy Central Insider. Comedy Central. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
- ^ Weinman, Jaime J. (April 23, 2007). "South Park has a silent partner". Maclean's
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- ^ "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut". bbfc.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ^ "Princess". spschat.com. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ^ "Trey Parker and Matt Stone talk Team America: World Police". movieweb.com. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ^ "Interview with Matt Stone". BBC Movies. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ^ "Team America: World Police (2004)". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- ^ "Soundtracks for South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ^ "Soundtracks for Orgazmo". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ^ "Soundtracks for BASEketball". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ^ "Soundtracks for Team America: World Police". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- ^ Otto, Jeff. "Interview: Trey Parker and Matt Stone". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- ^ Associated Press (2007-09-28). "Cdn. show hits Comedy Central thanks to South Park creators". cbcnews.ca. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- ^ Hassaballa, Hesham (2010-04-26). "Hesham Hassaballa: What would Prophet Muhammad do?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross (2013-01-14). "‘South Park’ Creators to Start Company, Important Studios". The New York Times.
- ^ http://www.bookofmormonbroadway.com/cast.html
- ^ "Cast". The Book of Mormon on Broadway. 2010-04-19.
- ^ a b c Swanson, Carl (March 6, 2011). "Latter-Day Saints", New York Magazine. p. 2.
- ^ a b Swanson, Carl (March 11, 2011). "Trey Parker and Matt Stone Talk About Why The Book of Mormon Isn’t Actually Offensive, and the Future of South Park". Vulture/New York Magazine.
- ^ Jake Tapper and Dan Morris. "Secrets of South Park", Nightline/ABC News, Sept 22, 2006
- ^ Johnson, Reed (2011-06-13). "Book of Mormon' big winner at Tonys". The Envelope. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- ^ "Nominees and Winners". Grammy.com. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
- ^ "The 72nd Academy Awards (2000) Nominees and Winners". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2011-12-01.