Miss Parker The Pretender
''I had the time of my life. I enjoyed every second. It gave me the opportunity to behave in ways I personally wouldn’t ever dream of, and to have complete license to be as malevolent and dark as I could possibly be.'' Andrea Parker.
A former ballet dancer, Andrea Parker began playing small roles as a dancer in her earlier films "Rented Lips" (1988) and "Earth Girls Are Easy" (1988), as well as in the TV's "Married with Children." Even her legs were also used as a body double for Julia Roberts in the hit film "Pretty Woman" (1990).
Parker got her first big break as Linda Farrell (1994-1995), the love interest of George Clooney's Dr. Doug Ross character, in the popular NBC medical drama "ER," and would gain even more recognition as Miss Parker/Catherine Elaine Parker in the NBC drama series "The Pretender" (1996-2000). She played Navy Lieutenant Caitlin 'Kate' Pike (1995-2001) in the NBC/CBS military drama show "JAG," and portrayed Lydia Weston, Sara Rue's enemy at work, in the ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect" (2002-2006).
The 5' 10 TV star is a supporter of the National Hospice Palliative Care Organization and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. She attended a benefit to help with former Pretender co-stars Michael T. Weiss and James Denton for Cure Autism Now in February 2006.
Childhood and Family:
On March 8, 1969, Andrea Nicole Parker, nicknamed ''Andi,'' was born in Monterey County, California. She began ballet training at age 6 and left home at age 15 to join professional dance company San Francisco Ballet School. After three years of touring, she quit her career in ballet and trained to become an actress while working as a bartender.
In February 2001, while promoting her TV show ''The Pretender'' (1996) in Monte Carlos' TV festival with her co-star Michael T. Weiss, Parker said in two different interviews that she was living with a guy named James 'Jim' Powers for 11 years. The two later married and the man died of cancer almost two years after that interview.
Parker, who is affiliated with the Glenn Siegel My Good Friend charity organization, attended a benefit to help with former Pretender co-stars Michael T. Weiss and James Denton for Cure Autism Now in February 2006. She also supports various charities such as the National Hospice Palliative Care Organization, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research and Project Angel Food.
Parker, who quit smoking after the last episode of the 2nd season of ''The Pretender,'' enjoys horseback riding, stunt driving, and target shooting in her free time. She also likes to spend time with family and friends and drive hot wheels. She even took the Motion Picture Stunt Driving Course in San Bernardino, California.
Less Than Perfect
After three years of touring as a ballerina, Andrea Parker quit ballet and trained to become an actress while working as a bartender. At age 19, she had her first documented film role, as a dancer/nurse, in Robert Downey Sr.'s independent comedy feature film ''Rented Lips'' (1988), starring Martin Mull, Dick Shawn, Jennifer Tilly, Robert Downey Jr., and Kenneth Mars. She then appeared as dancer in a beauty salon in Julien Temple's comedy/musical film "Earth Girls Are Easy" (1988; starring Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans), and as a go-go dancer in two 1989 episodes of Fox's long-running sitcom "Married… with Children." She even ''played'' the legs of Julia Roberts's character in the hit movie ''Pretty Woman'' (1990), in a scene when we see the character wake up in her bed and her head is hidden by a pillow (it is Andrea Parker's and not Julia Roberts').
Shortly thereafter, Parker landed her first speaking part, as a nurse, on the award-winning ''Seinfeld'' episode "The Contest" in 1992. Following her first-speaking role, she received more guest-starring roles, including in the CBS sitcom "Dave's World," Fox sitcom "Herman's Head," Fox short-lived western series "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.," ABC sitcom "Ellen," and HBO adult sitcom "Dream On." She also had a recurring role in the popular NBC medical drama ''ER'' as Linda Farrell (1994-1995), the love interest of George Clooney's Dr. Doug Ross character, and as Navy Lieutenant Caitlin 'Kate' Pike (1995-2001) in the NBC/CBS military drama show "JAG."
Meanwhile, Parker appeared as Miss France in the comedy film "The Naked Truth" (1992), starring a host of C-list celebrities such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lou Ferrigno, and Erik Estrada, and as Shark Club dancer in the B-movie thriller "Body Shot" (1993), starring Robert Patrick and Michelle Johnson. She was also cast in the made-for-TV movies "Victim of Love: The Shannon Mohr Story" (1993), "XXX's & OOO's" (1994), and "Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Ice" (1996).
In 1996, Parker left ''JAG'' to star as Miss Parker/Catherine Elaine Parker in the NBC drama series "The Pretender." The show was aired for four seasons between 1996 and 2000, and following the show's cancellation, two television movies were aired that picked up where the series left off, "The Pretender 2001" (2001) and "The Pretender: Island of the Haunted" (2001), in both of which Parker reprised her role. Her performance in the show earned her a Golden Satellite Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama in 1999.
On playing Miss Parker/Catherine Elaine Parker in "The Pretender," Parker revealed, "It was kind of strange. As soon as I saw the role of Miss Parker, I said, 'Hey, my name's all over this script.' I knew I had to make it mine. There was just too much synchronicity for it not to happen. After I was cast, I had to tap into a lot of anger and pain in playing her. We're both alike in that we go after what we want, but I would never dream of treating people the way she does."
During her ''Pretender'' stint, Parker was spotted as a guest in the sitcoms "Can't Hurry Love" and "Coach," as well as the popular, long-running CBS mystery series "Murder, She Wrote." She also starred in a small film called "Delicate Instruments" (2000).
From 2002 to 2006, Parker played Lydia Weston, Sara Rue's enemy at work, in the ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect." Meanwhile, she appeared as a guest in an episode of the short-lived shows "First Monday," a CBS drama created by "JAG" creator Donald Bellisario, "Kitchen Confidential," a sitcom on Fox based on a non-fiction book, and "Help Me Help You," a sitcom on ABC. She also has made several guest appearances on television talk shows and celebrity events such as the various celebrity poker tournaments.
Parker currently stars in the Fox comedy series "Deeply Irresponsible."
WIN (Women's Image Network): Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, ''Less Than Perfect,'' 2005
Primetime TV: Best Actress in a Comedy, ''Less Than Perfect,'' 2003