Estelle Parsons Is Not Mincing Words

 Estelle Parsons

Estelle Parsons

Estelle Parsons will not be mincing words, thank you very much.

For instance, when asked to describe Out of the Mouths of Babes, the new Israel Horovitz play she's starring in at the Cherry Lane, she says, "There's a lot of old farts in it."

Well… like Parsons, who will be 89 this fall, her co-stars – including Judith Ivey and Angelina Fiordellisi – certainly have a long history on the stage. That includes this stage in particular. Fiordellisi is Cherry Lane's Founding Artistic Director, and Parsons first appeared there way back in 1962, in a play called Mrs. Dally Has a Lover. "It's fixed up now, but it was totally different then: rickety," says the actress. "There was a strip club next door, so you'd get into the really serious parts of the play, and you'd hear this boom-bada-boom-bada-boom."

 Judith Ivey, Estelle Parsons

Judith Ivey, Estelle Parsons

Parsons also has a past with Horovitz, including a 2014 turn in his play My Old Lady. "That play, like this one, is also set in Paris," she says. "He's in love with France because they're in love with him. They do all his plays there."

But that wasn't her first encounter with his work. "I did another play of his -- the worst flop ever written," she recalls. "The Reason We Eat, about a 400-pound lady on a fat farm. He likes to forget about it, but it was such a flop it's worth remembering. I was hot off my Academy Award [for 1967's Bonnie and Clyde], and I felt that play made me lose my whole fan base. 'Yay, let's go see Estelle in a play.' I could just see them all drifting away. Anyway, I've known Israel forever.”

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