Paula Jai Parker
August 19, 1969
Farmington, Michigan, United States
Actor, Dancer, Singer
Paula Jai Parker built up an impressive resume of film and television work before landing a high-profile regular role on David E Kelley's detective series "Snoops" (ABC, 1999-2000). A spirited comedic performer with a powerful and uncompromising presence, Parker proved her skills as a regular on one season of the syndicated "Apollo Comedy Hour" before landing a featured starring role on Robert Townsend's short-lived variety series "Townsend Television" (Fox, 1993). The versatile, actress compellingly took on a more dramatic role in "Tang," an installment of the 1994 HBO anthology special "Cosmic Slop," for which she earned a CableACE Award as Best Actress in a Dramatic Special or Series. On the big screen, Parker could be seen in supporting roles in F Gary Gray's "Friday" and Rusty Cundieff's horror anthology "Tales From the Hood" in 1995, followed by a 1996 appearance in Spike Lee's "Get on the Bus." She also stayed busy with a recurring role on The WB comedy series "The Wayans Bros." from 1995 to 1996.Parker reteamed with director Cundieff as flamboyant gold-digger Adina in "Sprung" (1997), a look at modern urban relationships. Her appropriately over-the-top performance stood out as the best part of this misfire, with the actress' oddly likable and zany portrayal of the loud-mouthed and hard-edged character stealing every scene. She hit the big screen again with a supporting role in "Woo" (1998) giving another colorful comedic turn as the cousin of Jada Pinkett's trying title character, who pawns her off on a blind date so that she may spend time alone with her boyfriend. Parker appeared that same year in the Frankie Lymon biopic "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" and the HBO original film "Always Outnumbered." In 1999 she took on the role of brazen private investigator Roberta Young in "Snoops," a part that somewhat revisited her earlier work as super sleuth Val Brentwood on the children's series "The Weird Al Show" (CBS, 1997-98). "Snoops" had an instant audience due to the popularity of both creator David E Kelley and co-star Gina Gershon, and this more mainstream exposure would help to further the already prolific career of this talented and dynamic performer.