For eight seasons, Mary-Louise Parker dodged bullets as Nancy Botwin on Showtime's popular pot series, Weeds. (Actually, one of those bullets nailed her at the end of Season 7.) Her soccer mom turned marijuana dealer had nine lives and used all of them. The wily and wise-cracking Nancy was a career-defining role for Parker.
The series, which concluded in 2012, was not your ususal cable comedy - it was TV's first-ever cannabis-themed sit-com.
No one would have ever expected Parker - known for her work on stage and screen - to emerge as TV's leading lady of marijuana. Born on Aug. 2, 1965 in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, she'd already won a Tony (for Proof), and an Emmy and a Golden Globe (for Angels in America) during a career that began on Broadway and expanded to Hollywood in the early-'90s with roles in Fried Green Tomatoes and Grand Canyon. For five years, she appeared on The West Wing as Amy Gardner (she received an Emmy for that role too) and then came Angels in America, the HBO miniseries about AIDS that earned her awards and acclaim.
For her next project, Parker chose Jenji Kohan's Weeds, which quickly became a stoner staple when it debuted in 2005. Parker was showered with more Emmy (three) and Golden Globe noms (two); she won the Globe for Weeds in 2006.
Interest in Weeds waned after the first three seasons; the show stopped receiving awards nominations and even the stoner crowd lost interest. It was perceived that Weeds had gotten too dark and had jumped the track.
Some also felt that Parker didn't really live up to her TV role. Nancy rarely smoked on the show and Parker admitted in 2010 that she'd never used marijuana. However, she was on record saying: "I'm really in favor of legalizing marijuana. I don't think it's that controversial."
Parker has also appeared in Howl, The Solitary Man, Red, The Spiderwick Chronicles and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
She'ss a single mother of two children, William (actor Billy Crudup is the father) and Caroline, who was adopted.