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Trey Parker

© Gage Skidmore
Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Randolph Severn "Trey" Parker III (born October 19, 1969) is an American actor, animator, writer, director, producer, singer, and songwriter. He is known for co-creating South Park (1997–present) along with his creative partner Matt Stone, as well as co-writing and co-directing the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon (2011). Parker was interested in film and music as a child, and attended the University of Colorado, Boulder following high school, where he met Stone. The two collaborated on various short films, and starred in a feature-length musical, titled Cannibal! The Musical (1993). Parker and Stone moved to Los Angeles and wrote their second film, Orgazmo (1997). Before the premiere of the film, South Park premiered on Comedy Central in August 1997. The duo, who possess full creative control of the show, have since produced music and video games based on the show, which continues to run. They worked on a feature film titled South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), which received critical acclaim by both critics and fans. Alongside Stone, he has also produced various feature films and television series, including Team America: World Police (2004). After several years of development, The Book of Mormon, a musical co-written by Parker, Stone, and composer Robert Lopez, premiered on Broadway and became immensely successful. In 2013, he and Stone established their own production studio, Important Studios. Parker has been the recipient of various awards over the course of his career, including five Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on South Park, as well as four Tony Awards and a Grammy Award for The Book of Mormon. Early life Parker was born in Conifer, Colorado, the son of insurance saleswoman Sharon and geologist Randolph "Randy" Parker. He was a shy child who received "decent" grades and was involved in honors classes. He idolized Monty Python, which he began watching on television in the third grade; his later ventures into animation would bear considerable influence from Terry Gilliam. In the sixth grade, Parker wrote a sketch titled The Dentist and appeared in his school's talent show. He played the dentist and had a friend play the patient. The plot involved what can go wrong at the dentist; due to the amounts of fake blood involved, Parker's parents were called and were upset, with Parker later recalling that "the kindergartners were all crying and freaking out". Parker has described himself as "the typical big-dream kid" who envisioned a career in film and music. He made short films on the weekends with a group of friends, beginning when he was 14. His father had purchased him a video camera and the group continued making films until graduation. He became interested in pursuing music at 17, but only comedy-centered songs; he wrote and recorded a full-length comedy album, Immature: A Collection of Love Ballads For The '80's Man, with friend David Goodman during this time. As a teenager, Parker developed a love for musical theatre, and joined the Evergreen Players, a venerable mountain community theater outside of Denver. At 14, he performed his first role as chorus member in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Flower Drum Song and went on to also design sets for the community theater's production of Little Shop of Horrors. Parker attended high school at Evergreen High, where he continued his musical endeavors through starring as Danny Zuko in Grease. He also played piano for the chorus and was president of the choir counsel. As Evergreen was nationally known for its choir program, Parker was a very popular high school student, connected to his position as the head of the choir. He was typically the lead in school plays and was also prom king. While in school, Parker had a part-time job at a Pizza Hut and was described as a film geek and music buff. Following his graduation from high school in 1988, Parker spent a semester at Berklee College of Music before transferring to the University of Colorado at Boulder. During his time there, he took a film class in which students were required to collaborate on projects. In the course, he met Matt Stone — a math major from the nearby town of Littleton — and the two immediately bonded over provocative, anti-authoritarian humor and Monty Python. Parker's first film was titled Giant Beavers of Southern Sri Lanka (1989), parodying Godzilla-style rampages with beavers; fellow student Jason McHugh later remarked that the idea nearly got him laughed out of class. Parker and Stone wrote and acted in many short films together, among those First Date, Man on Mars and Job Application. Parker later remarked that he and Stone would shoot a film nearly every week, but he has since lost most of them. Parker first used a construction paper animation technique on American History (1992), a short film made for his college animation class. It became an unexpected sensation, resulting in Parker's first award — a Student Academy Award. Parker recalled sitting in the auditorium in front of students from animation schools such as CalArts, who had produced works of a higher artistic caliber and were "fuming" that he won. Career beginnings Cannibal! The Musical (1992–94) In 1992, Parker, Stone, McHugh, and Ian Hardin founded a production company named the Avenging Conscience, named after the D.W. Griffith film by the same name, which was actively disliked by the group. Parker again employed the cutout paper technique on Avenging Conscience's first production, Jesus vs. Frosty (1992), an animated short pitting the religious figure against Frosty the Snowman. The quartet created a three-minute trailer for a fictional film titled Alferd Packer: The Musical. The idea was based on an obsession Parker had with Alfred Packer, a real nineteenth-century prospector accused of cannibalism. During this time, Parker had become engaged to long-time girlfriend Lianne Adamo, but their relationship fell apart shortly before production on the trailer had begun. "Horribly depressed", Parker funneled his frustrations with her into the project, naming Packer's "beloved but disloyal" horse after her. The trailer became somewhat of a sensation among students at the school, leading Virgil Grillo, the chairman and founder of the university's film department, to convince the quartet to expand it to a feature-length film. Parker wrote the film's script, creating an Oklahoma!-style musical featuring ten original show tunes. The group raised $125,000 from family and friends and began shooting the film. The film was shot on Loveland Pass as winter was ending, and the crew endured the freezing weather. Parker — under the pseudonym Juan Schwartz — was the film's star, director and co-producer. Alferd Packer: The Musical premiered in Boulder in October 1993; "they rented a limousine that circled to ferry every member of the cast and crew from the back side of the block to the red carpet at the theater's entrance." The group submitted the film to the Sundance Film Festival, who did not respond. Parker told McHugh he had a "vision" they needed to be at the festival, which resulted in the group renting out a conference room in a nearby hotel and putting on their own screenings. MTV did a short news segment on The Big Picture regarding the film, and they made industry connections through the festival. They intended to sell video rights to the film for $1 million and spend the remaining $900,000 to create another film. The film was instead sold to Troma Entertainment in 1996 where it was retitled Cannibal! The Musical, and upon the duo's later success, it became their biggest-selling title. It has since been labeled a "cult classic" and adapted into a stage play by community theater groups and even high schools nationwide. The Spirit of Christmas and Orgazmo (1995–97) Following the film's success, the group, sans Hardin, moved to Los Angeles. Upon arrival, they met a lawyer for the William Morris Agency who connected them with producer Scott Rudin. As a result, the duo acquired a lawyer, an agent, and a script deal. Despite initially believing themselves to be on the verge of success, the duo struggled for several years. Stone slept on dirty laundry for upwards of a year because he could not afford to purchase a mattress. They unsuccessfully pitched a children's program titled Time Warped to Fox Kids, which would have involved fictionalized stories of people in history. The trio created two separate pilots, spaced a year apart, and despite the approval of development executive Pam Brady, the network disbanded the Fox Kids division. David Zucker, who was a fan of Cannibal!, contacted the duo to produce a 15-minute short film for Seagram to show at a party for their acquisition of Universal Studios. Due to a misunderstanding, Parker and Stone improvised much of the film an hour before it was shot, creating it as a spoof of 1950s instructional videos. The result, Your Studio and You, features numerous celebrities, including Sylvester Stallone, Demi Moore, and Steven Spielberg. "You could probably make a feature film out of the experience of making that movie because it was just two dudes from college suddenly directing Steven Spielberg," Parker later remarked, noting that the experience was difficult for the two. During the time between shooting the pilots for Time Warped, Parker penned the script for a film titled Orgazmo, which later entered production. Half of the budget for the picture came from a Japanese porn company called Kuki, who wanted to feature its performers in mainstream Western media. Independent distributor October Films purchased the rights to the film for one million dollars after its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, which resulted in the poor box office performance of a film. Parker and Stone attempted to negotiate with the organization on what to delete from the final print, but the MPAA would not give specific notes. The duo later theorized that the organization cared less because it was an independent distributor which would bring it significantly less money. While at Fox, executive Brian Graden cut Parker and Stone a personal check of a few thousand dollars to produce a video greeting card he could deliver to friends; the film would be a sequel to their earlier short Jesus vs. Frosty. Graden sent the film on a VHS to several industry executives in Hollywood; meanwhile, someone digitized the clip and put it up on the Internet, where it became one of the very first viral videos. As Jesus vs. Santa became more popular, Parker and Stone began talks of developing the short into a television series. Fox refused to pick up the series, not wanting to air a show that included the character Mr. Hankey, a talking piece of feces. The two were initially skeptical of possible television deals, noting that previous endeavors had not turned out successful. The two then entered negotiations with both MTV and Comedy Central. Parker preferred the show be produced by Comedy Central, fearing that MTV would turn it into a kids show. When Comedy Central executive Doug Herzog watched the short, he commissioned for it to be developed into a series. Television and film projects That's My Bush! (2000–01) In 2000, Parker and Stone began plotting a television sitcom starring the winner of the 2000 Presidential election. The duo were "95 percent sure" that Democratic candidate Al Gore would win, and tentatively titled the show Everybody Loves Al. The main goal was to parody sitcom tropes, such as a lovable main character, the sassy maid, and the wacky neighbor. Parker said the producers did not want to make fun of politics, but instead lampoon sitcoms. They threw a party the night of the election with the writers, with intentions to begin writing the following Monday and shooting the show in January 2001 with the inauguration. With the confusion of who the President would be, the show's production was pushed back. The show was filmed at Sony Pictures Studios, and was the first time Parker and Stone shot a show on a production lot. Although That's My Bush!, which ran between April–May 2001, received a fair amount of publicity and critical notice, according to Stone and Parker, the cost per episode was too high, "about $1 million an episode." Comedy Central officially cancelled the series in August 2001 as a cost-cutting move; Stone was quoted as saying "A super-expensive show on a small cable network...the economics of it were just not going to work." Comedy Central continued the show in reruns, considering it a creative and critical success. Parker believed the show would not have survived after the September 11 attacks anyway, and Stone agreed, saying the show would not "play well". During this time, the duo also signed a deal with Macromedia Shockwave to produce 39 animated online shorts in which they would retain full artistic control; the result, Princess, was rejected after only two episodes. Team America (2002–04) In 2002, the duo began working on Team America: World Police, a satire of big-budget action films and their associated clichés and stereotypes, with particular humorous emphasis on the global implications of the politics of the United States. Starring puppets, Team America was produced using a crew of about 200 people, which sometimes required four people at a time to manipulate a marionette. Although the filmmakers hired three dozen top-notch marionette operators, simple performances from the marionettes was nearly impossible, with a simple shot such as a character drinking taking a half-day to complete successfully. The deadline for the film's completion took a toll on both filmmakers, as did various difficulties in working with puppets, with Stone, who described the film as "the worst time of [my] life", resorting to coffee to work 20-hour days and sleeping pills to go to bed. The film was barely completed in time for its October release date, but reviews were positive and the film made a modest sum at the box office. Personal life In 2006, Parker married Emma Sugiyama. The officiant was 1970s sitcom producer Norman Lear. That marriage ended in 2008. Parker subsequently began a relationship with Boogie Tillmon, whom he later married. They had a daughter together in 2013.

Wikipedia ]

Born
Randolph Severn Parker III
October 19, 1969 (age 54)
Spouse
Emma Sugiyama (m. 2005; div. 2008) Boogie Tillmon

Filmography

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