In Honor of Sarah Jessica Parker's Birthday: 25 Roles You Forgot She Played
Looking Back at Sarah Jessica Parker's Career
After six years of playing Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City (not including her role reprisals in the 2008 and 2010 SATC movies), Sarah Jessica Parker is often conflated with her Manolo Blahnik-hoarding character by fans — particularly those too young to be familiar with the rest of her oeuvre.
But with 45 years in the business and 62 acting credits under her belt according to IMDb, Parker has built quite the wide-ranging portfolio across both the big and small screens, and her roles BC (Before Carrie) and AD (After Deserting-Aidan) deserve some love — or at least some laughter — as well.
In honor of her 55th birthday on March 25, we're looking back at some of SJP's most iconic roles, from Sarah Sanderson to SanDeE*.
Little Match Girl
First, let's all take a minute to recognize how dang cute baby SJP was. At 9 years old, the Ohio native landed her first role in a locally produced NBC Christmas movie, adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's story of the same name.
Reminiscing on the role, Parker shared a throwback photo to Instagram in 2018, sharing that it was "when [her] love for acting was born." She added, "those were 5 very happy days."
Three years after making her Broadway debut in 1976's revival of The Innocents, Parker landed the title role in the musical Annie.
My Body, My Child
Sixteen years before they were Carrie and Miranda, Parker and Cynthia Nixon played sisters in this 1982 TV movie that brought the topic of abortion to screens early on.
While this 1982 classic high school sitcom only lasted one season, it's worth including for Parker's bangs alone. As nerdy freshmen at Weemawee High School, Patty (Parker) and her best friend Lauren (Amy Linker) desperately tried to fit in with the cool crowd.
Parker initially turned down the role of Rusty in this 1984 cult classic, after she was asked to cut off her hair and dye it red to complement the character's name.
"I was like, 'Oh God, my hair just grew back from Annie,' " the actress explained during PEOPLE's The Jess Cagle Interview in 2016.
"I couldn’t imagine cutting my hair off and dying it red again, and being a redhead didn’t really suit me, so I passed, and they hired Tracy Nelson."
When things didn't work out with Nelson, they ultimately called Parker back and agreed not to change her hair.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Parker and Helen Hunt were an excellent combo in this absolutely bizarre and overall delightful '80s rom-com, which functioned partly as a coming-of-age movie and partly as an extended dance party.
A Year in the Life
Parker's famous permed curls made their debut in this TV mini-series, further fueling the dominant hair trend of the decade.
"Big S, small A, small N, big D, small E, big E. And there's a little star at the end." As one of Steve Martin's several love interests in this 1991 movie, Parker played a very tan and very vapid model named — and more importantly, spelled — SanDeE*.
In the Best Interest of the Children
In this heartwrenching, if not over-dramatic, NBC fact-based drama, Parker played a young mother of five struggling with bipolar disorder who fights for custody over her children.
Honeymoon in Vegas
If Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas's jubilant Las Vegas wedding wasn't enough to inspire you to head over to the chapel, perhaps the nuptials (and beaded ensembles) of Parker's Betsy and Nicolas Cage's Jack might do the trick.
Hopefully you didn't forget Parker's memorable turn as the wicked, boy-crazy Sarah Sanderson in this 1993 Disney Halloween classic — but if you did, your Spooky Season must-watch list just got a little bit longer.
Parker's portfolio may be dominated by rom-coms, but 1993 saw her take on the role of homicide detective Tom Hardy's (Bruce Willis) partner-in-crime-solving in this thriller.
Dolled up as Dolores Fuller, the girlfriend of low-budget filmmaker and Hollywood eccentric Ed Wood (played by Johnny Depp), Parker shared the screen and her clothes with her lover in this delightfully weird 1994 Tim Burton biopic. Worth it just to see Depp in her (very cute) cropped sweater and earrings.
SJP's had quite the lineup of onscreen lovers throughout her career, and her dalliance with Antonio Banderas as the already-engaged and commitment-phobic Gwyn in this 1995 film was a particularly fun one.
If Lucy Fell
Yes, that is Ben Stiller with dreadlocks, and yes, we are as shocked as you are. 1996 was a different time!
First Wives Club
In this beloved star-studded comedy about three scorned women getting back at their ex-husbands, Parker nailed the role of Shelly, the young new love interest of Brenda's (Hocus Pocus costar Bette Midler) ex-husband.
In perhaps her most bizarre role, Parker played abducted talk show host Nathalie in her second Tim Burton-directed flick, which featured Martians wreaking havoc on Earth as well as some aspirational futuristic fashion.
This wacky movie gets two slides, because these are crazy times and we all needed to see an alien lurking behind Parker's floating embalmed head.
In this goofy 1999 cartoon-based live-action comedy — Parker's first role after SATC premiered the previous year — the actress played the title character's (played by Brendan Fraser) childhood crush, and more importantly, wore this envy-inducing cape.
The Family Stone
This photo alone should be motive enough to watch (or re-watch) this movie. Is there anything more endearing than Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and SJP cracking up together post-wipeout over a spilled Christmas dinner? (The answer is no, there is not.)
Failure to Launch
Hired as a "professional motivator" to help draw 35-year-old Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) out of living with his parents, Parker's Paula "simulates" a romantic relationship before falling for her target in this classic 2006 rom-com.
Spinning into Butter
With brown hair and glasses, Parker looks nearly unrecognizable as a new dean of students in this high-stakes drama about racial tensions at a New England college based on Rebecca Gilman's play of the same name.
A professor dating his former student may be a bit of a tired trope at this point, but if you're going to do it, you might as well do it with Dennis Quaid and Parker.
I Don't Know How She Does It
Overwhelmed by her constant efforts to balance her career and family life, Parker's Kate is tempted by her hunky new coworker (Mars Attacks! costar Pierce Brosnan) in this 2011 film that working moms everywhere can relate to (well, maybe not the flirting with Pierce Brosnan part, but you get the picture).
The Queen of HBO returns! Twelve years after SATC ended, the Golden Globe winner starred in and executive produced Divorce on the network for three seasons, bringing the actress back into our lives on a weekly basis through the show's end in 2019.
Here and Now
This 2018 drama saw Parker back on the big screen as a New York-based singer who spends the day wandering the city while contemplating her mortality after learning of a devastating diagnosis.
Sex and the City
I'll bet you couldn't help but wonder when I'd get around to Carrie Bradshaw. A bona fide cultural and style icon (not to mention the inspiration behind droves of young women moving to Manhattan in search of a writing gig that could pay for a walk-in closet full of ... actually, just a walk-in closet would be great), Carrie is not a role that's easily forgotten.
SATC may have been a small screen gem, but it had a 'Big' (ha...) impact on Parker and her costars' careers, garnering 54 award nominations and several wins over the years. While some of the topics and references can seem dated or even offensive now, the beloved show, which ran from 1998-2004, pushed and broke the boundaries of mainstream television at the time with candid expressions of female sexuality and friendships.