The Lowdown on: Sarah Jessica Parker

June 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

SJPWith the Sex and the City movie grossing big-time in cinemas across the world, we’ve decided to take a look at the life and career of the show’s biggest star and style icon, Sarah Jessica Parker.

The adventures of New York sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw catapulted Sarah Jessica Parker into the limelight and earned her four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Emmy Awards. However, the actress had a long career before she donned her Manolos in the adaptation of Candace Bushnell’s novel.

She was born in Nelsonville, Ohio, in 1965 to a nursery school teacher and a Jewish journalist. Of her background Sarah says “I always just considered myself a Jew? and now classes herself as culturally Jewish along with her husband Matthew Broderick who also has one Jewish parent.

Sarah’s parents divorced when she was very young and her mother remarried, resulting in a family of seven siblings. Sarah’s love of performing was evident at an early age. The youngster took singing and ballet lessons and was being cast in the Broadway production of The Innocents. As her career developed, the family moved to Cincinnati then to Dobbs Ferry in New York State. In 1977 they moved to Manhattan proper, but travelled between New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles to support Sarah’s burgeoning talent.

It seemed that Sarah’s future lay in musical theatre. She and four of her siblings appeared in a revival of The Sound of Music, and Sarah joined the cast of Annie on Broadway in 1977 playing a small role. In 1979 she was promoted to the lead role which she held for a year.

But television work beckoned. Sarah was cast as the co-lead in sitcom Square Pegs in 1982. The show was cancelled after just one season but Sarah’s talent had been noticed. This led to her being cast in Footloose in 1984 and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in 1985, followed by Disney’s science fiction Flight of the Navigator in 1986.

The 1990s saw Sarah’s star rise further. Her 1991 appearance in rom-com L.A. Story was critically acclaimed, leading to what was probably her breakthrough role in Honeymoon in Vegas alongside Nicolas Cage. Her 1993 role in the film Hocus Pocus was a higher grosser at the box office but received negative reviews. The following year, she appeared opposite Johnny Depp in the critically acclaimed movie Ed Wood.

The rest of the early 90s brought a raft of romantic comedy roles to Sarah’s portfolio, and it looked as if she would follow the path of many actresses who never quite hit the big-time – safe, middle of the road roles. All this changed when Sarah received a script for an HBO drama comedy series called Sex and the City. Initially unwilling to commit to a long-term series, Sarah was eventually won over by the character of Carrie – a glamorous New York journalist with a penchant for designer shoes – and took the role.

This was probably the most important decision in Sarah’s career. The show was an instant success and ran for six seasons, the final three of which Sarah co-produced. Fans were devastated when the series ended in 2004 but rumours of a film started to spring up almost immediately. It took four years for the initial idea to evolve into a feature, despite murmurs from the four lead actresses that it would never happen. The film was on May 30th 2008 and a sequel is planned for 2009.

Her role in Sex and the City made SJP into a style icon and won her contracts with high profile companies like Gap and Garnier. In 2005 she released her perfume, ‘Lovely’, followed by ‘Covet’ two years later, and launched her fashion line Bitten in 2007.

Sarah dated Robert Downey Jr. from 1984 until 1991 after meeting on the set of Firstborn. The relationship floundered because of Downey’s drug problem, and Sarah was linked to John Kennedy Jr. and singer-songwriter Joshua Kadison in the early 1990s. She married actor Matthew Broderick on May 19th 1997 and their son James was born in 2002. The Parker-Brodericks lives in New York City.