Parker Posey

Parker Christian Posey (born November 8, 1968) is an American actress and musician. She frequently works with Christopher Guest and has appeared in several of his mockumentaries, such as Waiting for Guffman (1996), Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003), For Your Consideration (2006), and Mascots (2016). Posey is the recipient of a Golden Globe Award nomination, a Satellite Award nomination and two Independent Spirit Award nominations.

Parker Posey
Posey at WonderCon 2018
Parker Christian Posey

(1968-11-08) November 8, 1968
Alma materPurchase College
  • Actress
  • musician
Years active1991–present

Posey made her film debut in Joey Breaker (1993). Following small roles in Coneheads and the cult classic Dazed and Confused (also 1993), she was labeled "Queen of the Indies"[1] for starring in a succession of independent films throughout the 1990s, such as Sleep with Me (1994), Party Girl, The Doom Generation, Kicking and Screaming (all 1995), The Daytrippers (1996), The House of Yes and Clockwatchers (both 1997). Her other notable film appearances include You've Got Mail (1998), Scream 3 (2000), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), Personal Velocity, The Sweetest Thing (both 2002), Blade: Trinity (2004), Superman Returns, Fay Grim (both 2006), Broken English (2007), The Eye (2008), Spring Breakdown (2009), Irrational Man (2015), and Café Society (2016).

Outside of film, Posey starred in the television movie Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay (2002) and has guest-starred on numerous series, such as Futurama (2000), The Simpsons (2000), Will & Grace (2001), Boston Legal (2006), Parks and Recreation (2011), The Good Wife (2011–12), Louie (2012), Inside Amy Schumer (2014), and Search Party (2016). Since 2018 she has starred as June Harris on the Netflix series Lost in Space.

Early life

Posey was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Lynda (née Patton),[2][3] a chef, and Chris Posey, owner of a car dealership. She has a twin brother, Christopher. Posey's first name was given to her because her mother had a childhood friend she admired named Parker. After Posey's birth, her family lived in Monroe, Louisiana for 11 years.[4] They later moved to Laurel, Mississippi, where her mother worked as a chef and culinary instructor for the Viking Range Corporation in Greenwood, and her father operated a car dealership. Posey was raised as a Catholic.[5]



Posey attended the State University of New York at Purchase, where she studied drama and roomed with actresses Sherry Stringfield[6] and Orlagh Cassidy.

Posey got her first break in television with the role of Tess Shelby on the daytime soap opera As the World Turns. Posey's first major role in a feature film was in Dazed and Confused (1993) with Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Jason London.[7] The film received favorable reviews from critics and has been identified as a cult classic. In 2003, Entertainment Weekly ranked the film #17 on their list of "The Top 50 Cult Films",[8] third on their list of the 50 Best High School Movies,[9] 10th on their "Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years" list,[10] and ranked it #6 on their "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list.[11]

In 1994, she appeared in Hal Hartley's short film Opera No. 1, with Adrienne Shelley. Throughout the late 1990s, Posey co-starred in 32 independent films and was nicknamed "Queen of the Indies".[1] These films include Personal Velocity, Basquiat, Clockwatchers, The Daytrippers, Party Girl and The House of Yes. In particular, she received positive reviews for the latter film, with her role as a delusional woman in love with her own brother.[12][13] In an interview in January 2012, Parker said that the unofficial title has sometimes been a hindrance:

I'm trying to work in studio movies, but they won't hire me. I get feedback from my agent saying, 'She's too much of an indie queen.' And then on the other side, my name doesn't get the financing to do a movie over $1 million. And I'm called 'the indie queen.' So it's really a challenging path because I know so much about the indie side of the business. Because I grew up in it ... But it's different times. And this stuff gets projected onto me. People are like, 'You're here [at the Sundance film festival] every year, you do so many indie movies.' And I'm like, 'No, I did Broken English five years ago.'[14]

She has co-starred in Christopher Guest's films, including five of his mock documentaries, the first being Waiting for Guffman in 1996. In 1998, Posey appeared in Hartley's film Henry Fool, and the big budget studio film You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

In 2000, she starred in Guest's third mock documentary Best in Show, and in the big budget horror film Scream 3. Critical reaction to Posey's performance in the latter film was highly positive, and earned her an MTV Movie Award nomination. However, she lost to Adam Sandler, who won it for his performance in Big Daddy. The next year she played the antagonist in Josie and the Pussycats. From 2001-2002, she appeared in a supporting role in the popular NBC sitcom Will & Grace.

In 2003, she starred in Guest's A Mighty Wind. The next year she appeared in Sisters of Mercy, Laws of Attraction, and Blade: Trinity. Posey then co-starred in the 2005 film Adam & Steve.[15]

In 2006, Posey appeared in Superman Returns as Kitty Kowalski, Lex Luthor's ditzy sidekick,[7] a character based on Eve Teschmacher from the 1978 film Superman. Posey was the only actress considered for the role.[16][17] Superman Returns was a box office success.[18] The film was also successful at the 33rd Saturn Awards, Posey, a few fellow cast members, and the visual effects department were all nominated.[19] Later the same year she played the title character in Fay Grim, the sequel to Henry Fool, and appeared in For Your Consideration.

In 2007, Posey was cast in the lead role on the TV series The Return of Jezebel James.[20] The show was originally given 13 episodes, but, the show was cut to seven episodes in anticipation of the pending writers strike.[21][22] It premiered on the Fox television network in 2008 as a mid-season replacement. However, the show was officially canceled after the third episode aired due to unacceptably low ratings.[23] She starred in Zoe Cassavetes' 2007 film Broken English.[24] Broken English screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.[25] It was also entered into the 29th Moscow International Film Festival.[26] The film was nominated at the 23rd Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Screenplay and Posey was nominated for Best Female Lead.[27] She was set to co-star in John Waters' film Fruitcake with Johnny Knoxville. The film was to be set in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.[28] However, Waters announced that he has canceled Fruitcake, saying "I can't get it made ... I thought it would do well, but it's not. In this economy, I'm going to have to do a puppet show."[29]

In 2012, Posey starred in four episodes of the third season of Louie as Liz, Louis C.K.'s love interest. She received positive reviews for her stint on the show. The website Vulture stated "Posey is superb in a brilliantly written role."[30] Lindsay Bahr of Entertainment Weekly said "Posey used her arsenal of talent and the material written and directed by C.K. to bring Liz to life".[31] Andy Greenwald of GrantLand felt Posey was "funny, engaging, and breathless", and went on to call Posey "one of the most gifted actors alive".[32] Later the same year she was honored with the Excellence in Acting Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival.

Posey appeared in Ned Rifle, the third and final film in Hartley's Henry Fool trilogy, again reprising her role of Fay Grim.[33] On November 6, 2013, Hartley launched a fundraising campaign through Kickstarter to produce the film, netting a total of $384,000. Posey, Liam Aiken, James Urbaniak, and Thomas Jay Ryan, as well as some crew members, appeared in several videos promoting the campaign.[34] The film premiered on September 7, 2014 at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.[35] It was also screened in the Panorama section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on February 6, 2015.[36]

In July 2014, it was announced that Posey had signed on to co-star in Woody Allen's mystery drama Irrational Man with Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, and Jamie Blackley.[37] The film had its world premiere on May 16, 2015, at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[38][39] In July 2015, Parker revealed that before being cast in the film, she had considered quitting acting, as she feared that she "saw the independent film movement go away from me ... it's a world market now. They're made from real star power. Whoever's hot at the moment." When Allen cast her, she cried, as "the independent film way of working is something that was in my bones. It's like being a part of a punk band but no one's singing punk rock anymore. Only a few bands are able to play, and Woody Allen is one of them. That's why I cried. It was a relief."[40]

In 2018, she appeared as Dr. Smith in Lost in Space, the Netflix remake of the 1965 TV series.[41]

Stage and music

Posey made her stage debut in 2001. She learned to play the mandolin to prepare for her role in A Mighty Wind (2003),[7] a film in which she also sang. She provided vocals on several of her ex-boyfriend Ryan Adams' records. She also played the mandolin on The Dandy Warhols track "I Am Sound" from their Welcome to the Monkey House LP.[42]

You're on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir

You're on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir is Parker Posey's first book. The memoir is centred around the idea that its reader is sitting next to Posey on an airplane, and the product is a mixture of anecdotes from her career, random observations, various stories about her life, and home-made photo collages.[43] The book, although largely comedic in tone due to her acting experience, also covers many dark topics from her personal life and the film industry.[44] The book has received generous critical acclaim. Vogue says, "Excellent ... a celebration of peculiarity." According to Elle magazine, the memoir is "A humour-packed, irreverent, eccentric book packed with personal stories, whimsical how-tos and recipes, as well as collages made by her."[43] Esquire writes, "Posey is a natural storyteller; performing, in any way really, is mostly about sharing stories. And she's gathered some good ones for her memoir, which also perfectly encapsulates the delightful weirdo you assume she is just by watching her play different people on screen."[45]

Personal life

Posey has lived in both Greenwich Village and the East Village.[46]



Year Title Role Notes
1993Joey BreakerIrene Kildare
1993The WakeBeachgoerUncredited
1993Description of a StruggleWanda
1993Dazed and ConfusedDarla Marks
1994Mixed NutsRollerblader
1994AmateurGirl Squatter
1994Opera No. 1Fairy # 1Short film
1994IrisShort film
1994Final CombinationDenise
1994Sleep with MeAthena
1995Party GirlMary
1995An Eviction NoticeShort film
1995The Doom GenerationBrandi
1996Kicking and ScreamingMiami
1996BasquiatMary Boone
1997The House of Yes"Jackie-O" PascalSundance Film Festival Award for Special Recognition
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1997The DaytrippersJo Malone
1997Waiting for GuffmanLibby Mae Brown
1997ClockwatchersMargaret Burre
1998Henry FoolFay Grim
1998What Rats Won't DoMirella Burton
1998You've Got MailPatricia Eden
1998The Misadventures of MargaretMargaret Nathan
1999Dinner at Fred'sCelia
1999The Venice ProjectMyra
1999GunshyShort film
2000Best in ShowMeg Swan
2000Scream 3Jennifer JolieNominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
2001The Anniversary PartyJudy Adams
2001Josie and the PussycatsFiona
2002The Sweetest ThingJudy Webb
2002Personal VelocityGretaNominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
2003A Mighty WindSissy KnoxFlorida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2003The EventNick
2004Blade: TrinityDanica Talos
2004The Sisters of MercyShort film
2004Laws of AttractionSerena Jamison
2005Adam & SteveRhonda
2006For Your ConsiderationCallie WebbNominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
2006Fay GrimFay Grim
2006The OH in OhioPriscilla Chase
2006Superman ReturnsKitty KowalskiNominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2007Broken EnglishNora WilderNominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
2008The EyeHelen Wells
2009Spring BreakdownBecky St. GermaineDirect-to-DVD
2010Happy TearsJayne
2011Inside OutClaire Small
2011The Love GuideAngelica Lovecraft
2012Price CheckSusan Felders
2013Highland ParkShirley Paine
2013Hair BrainedShelia Pettifog
2013And Now a Word From Our SponsorKaren Hillridge
2014Grace of MonacoMadge Tivey-Faucon
2014Ned RifleFay Grim
2015Irrational ManRita Richards
2016Café SocietyRad
2016The ArchitectDrew
2016MascotsCindi Babineaux
2018The Con Is OnGina


Year Film Role Notes
1991 First Love, Fatal Love Television film
1991–1992 As the World Turns Tess Shelby Soap opera
1993 Tales of the City Connie Bradshaw 4 episodes
1993 Tracey Ullman Takes on New York Libby TV Special
1998 More Tales of the City Connie Bradshaw Episode "1.1"
2000 Futurama Umbriel Voice; episode: "The Deep South"
2000 The Simpsons Becky Voice; episode: "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge"
2001 Further Tales of the City Connie Bradshaw 3 episodes
2001 Will & Grace Dorleen 2 episodes
2002 Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay Jinger Heath Television film
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2004 Frankenstein Detective Carson O'Conner Television film
2006 Boston Legal Marlene Stanger 4 episodes
2008 The Return of Jezebel James Sarah Tompkins 7 episodes
2009 Bored to Death Michelle Whiting Episode: "The Case of the Stolen Skateboard"
2011 Parks and Recreation Lindsay Carlisle Shay Episode: "Eagleton"
2011 The Big C Poppy Kowalski 3 episodes
2011–2012 The Good Wife Vanessa Gold 3 episodes
2012 Hemingway & Gellhorn Mary Welsh Hemingway Television film
2012 Louie Liz 4 episodes
2012 New Girl Casey Episode: "Re-Launch"
2014 Inside Amy Schumer Parker Posey Episode: "Allergic to Nuts"
2015 Portlandia Episode: "Fashion"
2015 Granite Flats Alice White 8 episodes
2015 Drunk History Mary Phelps Jacob Episode: "Inventors"
2016 Skylanders Academy Dreamcatcher Voice; episode: "Dream Girls"
2016 Search Party Brick 3 episodes
2018-present Lost in Space Dr. Smith Main role; 10 episodes
Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress in Streaming Presentation (2019)
2018 Robot Chicken Lenny Busker / Angela / Sphinx Voice; episode: "Gimme That Chocolate Milk"


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  2. "Obituaries for Friday, March 28, 2008 Archived March 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine March 28, 2008, Leader Call
  3. "Now, We're Just Parker Posey's Parents - Humor Keeps Actress's Popularity In Perspective" Archived July 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine July 2006, Jackson Mississippi Clarion-Ledger
  4. "A Woman of Independent Means". October 12, 1997.
  5. "Index magazine interview". Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  6. Smith, Chris (October 6, 1997). "Ring Around the Posey". New York Magazine: 42.
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  21. "Fox Renews 'Death' Vows, Picks up Sextet". The Futon Critic.
  22. Ausiello, Michael (October 12, 2007). "The Ausiello Report: Setback for AS-P's Jezebel James?". TV Guide. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008.
  23. "The Return of Jezebel James Cancelled". Gilmore Girls News. March 26, 2008. Archived from the original on October 16, 2009.
  24. Scheck, Frank (June 25, 2007). "Parker Posey just the fix for "Broken English"". Archived from the original on September 24, 2012.
  25. Buchanan, Kyle (January 2012). "Parker Posey on the Glory Days of Sundance and the Perils of Modern-Day Indie Filmmaking". Vulture.
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  29. "Waters' Kids Movie Scrapped". IMDb. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  30. What to Stream Now. ""Parker Posey Has Revealed the Even Greater Show Hiding Within Louie", July 27, 2012". Retrieved March 21, 2016.
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  32. "Parker Posey Talks About Her Role on Louie, the Fine Line Between Sad and Funny, and What Louis C.K. Looks Like in a Dress «". July 27, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
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  38. Scott Foundas (May 6, 2015). "Irrational Man Review: Woody And Joaquin Plot The Perfect Murder". Variety. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  39. Maane Khatchatourian (April 11, 2015). "[PHOTO] Emma Stone in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man'". Variety. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  40. Kevin Fallon (July 17, 2015). "Why Parker Posey Almost Quit Acting: 'I Saw the Independent Film Movement Go Away From Me'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  41. Petski, Denise (November 22, 2016). "'Lost In Space': Parker Posey Joins Netflix Series Remake". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  42. "Dandy Warhols - Welcome to the Monkey House CD". CD Universe. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  43. Parker Posey - You're on an Airplane - Little, Brown Book Group. February 5, 2019.
  44. "Someone Needs to Give Parker Posey Her Own Show". Vogue. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  45. "Make Way for Her", The University Press of Kentucky, 2018, pp. 155–166, doi:10.2307/j.ctt1x76h5x.11, ISBN 9780813175133 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  46. Doge, Annie (May 4, 2017). "Live in Parker Posey's former East Village co-op for $2M". 6sqft. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
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