Perrie Edwards is an actress who has played a memorable role in some of Hollywood’s best films. She was born in segregated Mississippi in 1931 and was one of six children of Emmitt Smith and wife, Ida. She has always claimed to have spent much of her childhood in foster homes due to the racial abuse she suffered at the hands of her own parents. She was a year away from completing high school when her father was killed in a car crash.
She was one of four children of a civil rights attorney and activist Ben Parks. Parks and his wife, Ida, were accused of participating in the lynching of nine black men in New Orleans. Perrie’s younger brother was also killed in the attack. Parks would go on to serve time in jail for the murder but was allowed to practice law once he was released.
Eventually Parks was convicted of conspiracy and murder and served a lengthy prison term for the crime. He later said that he felt “angry and frustrated” at the justice system for the death of his loved one. Eventually, Parks died of a heart attack in prison while sitting in his cell. Perrie was only seven years old when her Daddy died.
After the death of her Daddy, Perrie turned to acting. She appeared in a number of films including On the Waterfront with fellow actress, Gene Wilder. One movie that she did not appear in was The Waterboy. She was also in one of her first plays ever in Cats. These early roles would prove to be influential in her future work.
During the late sixties, Perrie’s career would take off and she would model for such Hollywood greats as Carol Burnett, Ava Gardner, Joan Collins, John Aston, June Jameson, and several other actresses. She was also in a number of films that featured comic characters. One of these films was Pretty Woman (also with Carol Burnett) and the comedic classic, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. However, her best role to date would be in the award winning, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Later in life, she would again star in some movies, such as Vanilla Sky.
Today, Parks is best known for her role as the mother on the television series, Glee. However, she is also known for her supporting appearances on films such as Swing Vote, Glee, and How I Live Now. Parks is also married to the writer, Kevin Keller. They have two daughters, Leona andILA. They live in Los Angeles, California.