Mary-Louise Parker
Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
She's been one of the coolest women on TV for years, whether as whip-smart lobbyist Amy Gardner on The West Wing or pot-dealing mom Nancy Botwin on Showtime's Weeds. Below, Parker reveals what makes her laugh and where she feels most inspired.
Best Destination
Paris is a beautiful shade of gray, and sort of hooded—it always feels like someone lowered the lights a little bit. It's a sexy city.

Best Comic Relief
My daughter [Ash, age 4] has an incredible laugh—bubbly like soda pop. I could sell it to people who do laugh tracks for TV shows. I laugh just thinking about it.

Best Pick-Me-Up
I just filmed [the forthcoming Bruce Willis thriller] Red in New Orleans, and every day I had three gigantic cafés au lait from Café Du Monde. They add chicory to the coffee, which gives it an almost chocolaty flavor. So good.

Best Role Models
My parents have been together for 65 years. They're both really stubborn. They're not quitters.

Best Recognition
Winning a Tony [for Proof in 2001]. The theater is who I am—it's where I feel the most inspired, the most at home, the most useful.

Best Song
"We Belong Together," by Rickie Lee Jones, goes through my every little cell. It's rough and lovely—she's so tough but her voice is so sweet.

Best Meal
My sister's fish tacos are out of control. I'd give her a restaurant if I were a gazillionaire. When she isn't around, I'll settle for a perfectly ripe avocado with a little salt and lime. If you told me I had to eat the same 12 foods for the rest of my life, I'd be fine.

Best Bribe
My kids and I made up a game called Name That Beverage when my son [William, age 6] was sick and needed to hydrate. He wore a blindfold and had to guess what he was drinking—I gave him a dollar for every one he got right.

Best Way to Combat Nerves
My way to combat anything is just to walk straight into it with my fists up.
Next: How Sheryl Crow unwinds


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