Estelle Parsons Biography (1927-)

Born November 20, 1927, in Lynn (one source says Marblehead), MA; daughter ofEben and Elinor (maiden name, Mattson) Parsons; married Richard Gehman (a writer), December 19, 1953 (divorced August, 1958); married Peter L. Zimroth (alawyer), January 2, 1983; children: (first marriage) Martha, Abbie (twins);(second marriage) Abraham (adopted). Addresses: Contact: 924 West EndAve., Suite T5, New York, NY 10025-3543.; Agent: Writers & Artists Agency, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

Actress, director, writer
Birth Details
November 20, 1927
Lynn, Massachusetts, United States

Famous Works

  • 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
  • Demi-Dozen, 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 YorkCity, 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 Eastman-Cuevas, 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 (one-act play), and Shirley, Princess Rebecca Birnbaum (one-act 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, NewYork City, 1967
  • Virginia, Galileo, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, 1967
  • Myrtle, The Seven Descents of Myrtle, Barrymore Theatre, New YorkCity, 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, 1975-1976
  • 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, NewYork 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, NewYork City, 1994-1995
  • 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, 2000-2001
  • 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, 1983-1984
  • 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, Avco-Embassy, 1969
  • Althea Gerber, Watermelon Man (also known as The Night the SunCame 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, 1953-1954
  • Host and interviewer, Mothers by Daughters, PBS, 1985
  • Beverly "Bev" Harris, a recurring role, Roseanne, ABC, 1989-1997
  • 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
  • Miniseries
  • Bess Truman, Backstairs at the Whitehouse, NBC, 1979
  • 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 (alsoknown 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.
  • Pilots
  • Mabel Lederer/Angela Motorman, Come along with Me, PBS, 1982
  • 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,1952-1953
  • Teleplays
  • Features for Series
  • The Today Show, NBC, 1952-1953

Further Reference


    • 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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