BEVERLY HILLS — A small green cloud may be hanging over Mary-Louise Parker — a former child of Gatlinburg — Sunday night.
The actress, who spent part of her childhood in Gatlinburg and attended Pi Beta Phi Elementary School there, says she may smoke marijuana for the first time on Sunday, when her Showtime comedy "Weeds" airs its finale.
"I've actually never (smoked) pot," she says. "I've done (pot) that's on those little (mouthwash) strips. I did it the night my father died because, honestly, I would have done anything to get through that night."
Parker's parents are Caroline and John Parker. Her father was a judge and served in the U.S. Army. Her father ran for a political office in Sevier County but lost.
Now she's eyeing the green again as a tribute to the demise of "Weeds."
"I told ('Weeds' co-star) Hunter (Parrish), 'Maybe on the last night of the show we should smoke some pot,' like at age 48 I should start doing something like that!" Parker says with a laugh.
Fans are often surprised to hear the bohemian-like Parker admit she's never indulged. After all, she's played pot dealer Nancy Botwin for the past eight years. (Her next project will have her far away from weed: She's doing the sequel to the 2010 action film "RED," with Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich.)
But the temptation has never been there for her. And Parker is a single mother, so smoking pot isn't exactly fitting into her schedule. (Actor Billy Crudup is the father of Parker's son, William Atticus Parker; she also adopted a baby girl from Ethiopia, whom she named after her mother.)
Beyond the connection with pot, Parker identifies with Nancy's struggle as a mother who makes poor choices and has an unconventional manner.
Parker, whose co-stars include Kevin Nealon, will miss playing her character.
"I feel like I cry at work every day," Parker says. "It's been eight years of my life, eight years are my son's life. I was pregnant when I started doing this."
Parker was a little older than her son is now when she lived in Gatlinburg. She has memories of wandering the tree-filled property where her family lived, collecting leaves and taking dance classes.
She even recalls the names of her fellow students. They've long since lost touch, though.
"I have good memories of Gatlinburg," she says.
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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