Parsons in a Love, American Style episode in 1973.
|Born||Estelle Margaret Parsons
November 20, 1927
Lynn, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Richard Gehman (1953–1958; divorced); 2 children
Peter Zimroth (1983–present); 1 child
Estelle Margaret Parsons (born November 20, 1927) is an American stage, film and television actress, Today Show television series host, and stage 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 before progressing to film. She received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and was also nominated for her work in Rachel, Rachel (1968).
She worked extensively in film and theatre during the 1970s and later directed several Broadway productions. More recently her television work included playing Beverly Harris on the sitcom Roseanne. She has been nominated five times for the Tony Award (four times for Lead Actress of a Play and once for Featured Actress). In 2004, Parsons was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
She attended Oak Grove School for Girls in Maine. After graduating from Connecticut College in 1949, Parsons initially studied law at Boston University, and then worked as a singer with a band before settling on an acting career in the early 1950s.
Moving to New York City, Parsons worked as a writer, producer and commentator for The Today Show. She made her Broadway debut in 1956 in the ensemble of the Ethel Merman musical Happy Hunting. She began performing Off-Broadway in 1961, and received a Theatre World Award in 1963 for her performance in Whisper into My Good Ear/Mrs. Dally Has a Lover (1962). In 1964, Parsons won an Obie Award for Best Actress for her performance in two Off-Broadway plays, Next Time I'll Sing to You and In the Summer House.
Parsons has received Tony Award nominations for her work in The Seven Descents of Myrtle (1968), And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little (1971), Miss Margarida's Way (1978), and Morning's at Seven (2002). She played the Widow Begbick in the American premiere of the Weill–Brecht opera, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1970), and performed as Mrs. Peacham to Lotte Lenya's Jenny in Threepenny Opera on tour and in New York City. In 1978 she played Lady MacBeth in the Kauai Community Players production. She also played Ruth in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway in 1981. From June 17, 2008 through May 17, 2009, she played the role of Violet Weston in August: Osage County. 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, Macbeth and As You Like It in 1986. Off-Broadway, she directed Dario Fo's Orgasmo Adulto Escapes from the Zoo (1983). She also served as the Artistic Director of the Actors Studio for five years, ending in 2003. In 2016 she starred in Israel Horovitz's new play Out Of The Mouths Of Babes along with Judith Ivey directed by Barnet Kellman at The Cherry Lane Theater in New York City.
In 2004, Parsons was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
Parsons' film career includes an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and a nomination for Rachel, Rachel (1968). She received a BAFTA Award nomination for her role in Watermelon Man (1970), and appeared in I Never Sang for My Father (1970), Two People (1973), A Memory of Two Mondays (1974), For Pete's Sake (1974), Dick Tracy (1990) and Boys on the Side (1995). She was also the original choice to play the part of Pamela Voorhees in the 1980 film Friday the 13th; the part later went to Betsy Palmer.
On television, Parsons played the recurring role of Beverly, on Roseanne. Other television credits include appearances in The Patty Duke Show, Love, American Style, All In The Family, Archie Bunker's Place, Open Admissions, Frasier, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and The Good Wife, as well as The UFO Incident: The Story of Betty and Barney Hill and the PBS production of June Moon. She played the part of Babe in two episodes of the second series of Grace and Frankie.
She was honored with a Woman of Achievement Award from the Women's Project Theater in 2009. Parsons recently 2010 appeared in London playing psychic Helga ten Dorp in Deathtrap at the Noël Coward Theatre in the West End. She was recently seen on Broadway in David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People, and opened 24 April 2012, in Nice Work If You Can Get It.
|1963||Ladybug Ladybug||JoAnn's Mother|
|1967||Bonnie and Clyde||Blanche||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress 
Laurel Award for Top Female Supporting Performance (2nd place)
|1968||Rachel, Rachel||Calla Mackie||Laurel Award for Top Female Supporting Performance
Nominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
|1969||Don't Drink the Water||Marion Hollander|
|1970||Watermelon Man||Althea Gerber||Nominated-BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role|
|1970||I Never Sang for My Father||Alice|
|1970||I Walk the Line||Ellen Haney|
|1973||Two People||Barbara Newman|
|1974||For Pete's Sake||Helen Robbins|
|1975||Fore Play||1st Lady/Barmaid|
|1989||The Lemon Sisters||Mrs. Kupchak|
|1990||Dick Tracy||Mrs. Trueheart|
|1990||The Blue Men||May|
|1996||Looking for Richard||Margaret|
|1995||Boys on the Side||Louise|
|1997||That Darn Cat||Old Lady McCracken|
|1954||Today||Self||Episode dated 6 September 1954|
|1963||The Defenders||Mrs. Martin||Metamorphosis|
|1964||The DuPont Show of the Week||Carrie Bernice||The Gambling Heart|
|The Patty Duke Show||Mrs. Appleton||The Con Artist|
|1965||The Doctors and the Nurses||Mrs. Meyers||Where There's Smoke|
|1966||The Trials of O'Brien||Miss Baines||Alarums and Excursions|
|1968||Snap Judgment||Self||Episode dated 18 November 1968|
|Hemingway's Spain: A Love Affair||Self (voice only)|
|Kraft Music Hall||Self||Episode #11.30|
|The 40th Annual Academy Awards||Self||Oscar winner|
|1970||The Front Page||Mollie Malloy|
|The David Frost Show||Self||Episode #2.240|
|1971||25th Tony Awards||Self||Nominee|
|Great Performances||Agnes||A Memory of Two Mondays|
|1972||Love, American Style||Bernice||Love and the Clinic/Love and the Perfect Wedding/Love and the President/Love and the Return of Raymond|
|Medical Center||Bev||Wall of Silence|
|1973||Terror on the Beach||Arlene Glynn|
|1974||The Gun and the Pulpit||Sadie Underwood|
|Great Performances||Lucille||June Moon|
|1975||The UFO Incident||Betty Hill|
|1976||The Tenth Level||Crossland|
|NBC Special Treat||Edwina Kemp||Big Henry and the Polka Dot Kid|
|All in the Family||Dolores Mancheney Fencel||Archie's Secret Passion|
|1978||All in the Family||Blanche Hefner||Reunion on Hauser Street|
|All in the Family||Blanche Hefner||Weekend in the Country|
|1979||Archie Bunker's Place||Blanche Hefner||Blanche and Murray|
|Backstairs at the White House||Bess Truman||Four episodes|
|1981||The Gentleman Bandit||Marjorie Seebode|
|Guests of the Nation||Kate O'Connell|
|1982||Today||Self||Episode dated 14 January 1982|
|American Playhouse||Mabel Lederer/Angela Motorman||Come Along with Me|
|1987||American Playhouse||Waiting for the Moon (the producers wish to thank)|
|1988||Open Admissions||Clare Block|
|1989-1997||Roseanne||Beverly Harris||59 episodes
Nominated for TV Land Award
|1990||Everyday Heroes||Matty Jennings|
|1992||A Private Matter||Mary Chessen||Nominated CableACE Award Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries|
|1993||The American Clock||Older Doris|
|Family Feud||Self||Roseanne vs. Jackie Thomas Sitcoms|
|1994||Inside the Actors Studio||Self|
|1997||Touched by an Angel||Jeannette Fisher||Sandcastles|
|1998||The Love Letter||Beatrice Corrigan|
|The 70th Annual Academy Awards||Self|
|1999||Freak City||Mrs. Stanapolous|
|2000||Backstory||Self||Bonnie and Clyde|
|2001||100 Center Street||Esther O'Neill||The Fix|
|2002||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Rose Rinato||Denial|
|The 56th Annual Tony Awards||Self|
|2004||Frasier||Celeste's Mother (voice)
Coots and Ladders
|Strip Search||Roberta Gray|
|Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde||Self|
|2012||Today||Self||Episode dated 13 January 2012|
|2013||The Good Wife||Nana Joe||Episode 4.22 "What's in the Box?"|
|2016||Grace and Frankie||Babe||3 episodes|
- http://www.playbillvault.com/Person/Detail/18659/Estelle-Parsons accessed 10/16/14
- "The Passion of Estelle Parsons", nyc-plus.com; accessed 3 May 2014.
- Estelle Parsons profile, filmreference.com; accessed May 3, 2014.
- Estelle Parsons profile, Yahoo! Movies; accessed May 3, 2014.
- http://www.playbill.com/news/article/stage-to-screens-chats-with-estelle-parsons-mary-mccormack-and-bryan-batt-151939 accessed 10/16/14
- http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Interviews-GOOD-PEOPLEs-Estelle-Parsons-20110404 accessed 10/16/14
- "Oscar-Estelle Parsons". Academy Awards. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
- Estelle Parsons at the Internet Movie Database
- Estelle Parsons at the Internet Broadway Database
- Estelle Parsons at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Estelle Parsons at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection
- Estelle Parsons interview video at the Archive of American Television
- on YouTube
|Artistic Director of the Actors Studio