Parker in 1948
|Born||Eleanor Jean Parker
June 26, 1922
Cedarville, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||December 9, 2013
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Pneumonia|
|Spouse(s)||Fred Losee (1943–1944; divorced)
Bert E. Friedlob (1946–1953; divorced; 3 children)
Paul Clemens (1954–1965; divorced; 1 child)
Raymond N. Hirsch (1966–2001; his death)
|Children||Susan Eleanor Friedlob
Sharon Anne Friedlob
Richard Parker Friedlob
Paul Day Clemens
Eleanor Jean Parker (June 26, 1922 – December 9, 2013) was an American actress who appeared in some 80 movies and television series. An actress of notable versatility, she was called Woman of a Thousand Faces by Doug McClelland, author of a biography of Parker by the same title.
At the age of 18, Parker was signed by Warner Brothers in 1941. She was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Actress in the 1950s, for Caged (1950), Detective Story (1951) and Interrupted Melody (1955). Her role in Caged also won her the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival. One of her most memorable roles was that of "the Baroness" in The Sound of Music (1965).
Parker was born on June 26, 1922, in Cedarville, Ohio, the daughter of Lola (Isett) and Lester Day Parker. She moved with her family to East Cleveland, Ohio, where she attended public schools and graduated from Shaw High School. She wanted to be an actor from an early age and appeared in a number of school plays. After graduation she went to Martha's Vineyard to work on her acting. She got a job as a waitress and was offered a screen test by 20th Century Fox but turned it down. Wanting to focus on films, she moved to California and started appearing at the Pasadena Playhouse.
She was in the audience one night at Pasadena Playhouse when spotted by a Warners Bros talent scout, Irving Kumin. He offered her a test and she accepted; the studio signed her to a long term contract.
Her actual film debut was as Nurse Ryan in Soldiers in White in 1942.
She made Voice of the Turtle in early 1947 then had two years off, during which time she married and had a baby. She turned down a role in The Hasty Heart which she wanted to do, but it would have meant going to England and she did not want to leave her baby alone during its first year. "I probably received my salary for only six months during 1947 and 1948 but I can't regret that," said said. "All my life I wanted a child and anything that might happen to me professionally on that account would hardly seem a loss."
She returned in Chain Lightning. "I've had my fling at roles that have little or no relation to most people's lives," she said. "I want to keep away from such assignments as I can from now on even though, as some may say, they mean exercising your skill and talent in acting." Parker broke the champagne bottle on the nose of the California Zephyr train, to mark its inaugural journey from San Francisco on March 19, 1949.
In February 1950 Parker left Warner Bros. after having been under contract there for eight years. Parker had understood that she would star in a film called Safe Harbor, but Warner Bros. apparently had no intention of making it. Because of this misunderstanding, her agents negotiated her release.
In 1951 Parker signed a contract with Paramount for one film a year, with an option for outside films. She was nominated for the Oscar in 1951 for her performance as Mary McLeod, the woman who doesn't understand the position of her unstable detective husband (played by Kirk Douglas) in Detective Story.
After making two films for MGM, Parker was making a third when she signed a long term contract to the studio.
Also in 1955, Parker appeared in the film adaptation of the National Book Award-winner The Man with the Golden Arm, directed by Otto Preminger. She played Zosh, the supposedly wheelchair-bound wife of heroin-addicted, would-be jazz drummer Frankie Machine (Frank Sinatra).
In 1956, she was billed above the title with Clark Gable for the Raoul Walsh-directed Western comedy The King and Four Queens. A year later, she starred in another W. Somerset Maugham novel, a remake of The Painted Veil in the role originated by Greta Garbo, released as The Seventh Sin. She also appeared in Home from the Hill, co-starring with Robert Mitchum; in A Hole in the Head, re-teaming with Sinatra, and in Return to Peyton Place, a 1961 sequel to the hit 1957 film.
Known mainly for dramatic roles, Parker was an adept comedienne. In the 1951 A Millionaire for Christy, she played a secretary sent to notify a man of his inheritance, co-starring with Fred MacMurray.
Parker's best-known screen role was playing the Baroness Schraeder in the 1965 Oscar-winning musical The Sound of Music. The Baroness was famously and poignantly unsuccessful in keeping the affections of Georg von Trapp (played by Christopher Plummer) after he falls in love with Maria (played by Julie Andrews).
In 1966, she played an alcoholic widow in the crime drama Warning Shot, a talent scout who discovers a Hollywood star in The Oscar, and a rich alcoholic in An American Dream. From the late 1960s, television would occupy more of her energies.
In 1963, Parker appeared in the NBC medical drama about psychiatry The Eleventh Hour in the episode "Why Am I Grown So Cold?", for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. In 1964, she appeared in the episode "A Land More Cruel" on the ABC drama about psychiatry, Breaking Point. In 1968, she portrayed a spy in How to Steal the World, a film originally shown as a two-part episode on NBC's The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
In 1969–70, Parker starred in the television series Bracken's World, for which she was nominated for a 1970 Golden Globe Award as Best TV Actress – Drama. She also appeared in the Ghost Story episode "Half a Death" (1973), a suspense-thriller about a wealthy woman reconciling the lives of her two daughters.
Parker starred in a number of theatrical productions, including the role of Margo Channing in the Broadway musical version of the film All About Eve, Applause. The role was originally played in the musical by Lauren Bacall and in All About Eve by Bette Davis. In 1976, she played Maxine in the Ahmanson Theater revival of The Night of the Iguana. She quit the Circle in the Square Theatre revival of Pal Joey during previews. She wrote the preface to the book How Your Mind Can Keep You Well, a meditation technique developed by Roy Masters. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6340 Hollywood Boulevard.
Parker was married four times:
- Fred Losee — married in 1943, divorced in 1944.
- Bert E. Friedlob — married in 1946, divorced in 1953; the marriage produced three children.
- Paul Clemens, American portrait painter — married in 1954, divorced in 1965; the marriage produced one child, actor Paul Clemens.
- Raymond N. Hirsch — married in 1966, widowed on September 14, 2001 when Hirsch died of esophageal cancer.
Parker was raised a Protestant and later converted to Judaism, telling the New York Daily News columnist Kay Gardella in August 1969, "I think we're all Jews at heart... I wanted to convert for a long time."
Academy Award nominations
|1941||They Died with Their Boots On||Bit Part||(scenes deleted)|
|1942||The Big Shot||Telephone Operator|
|Busses Roar (1942)||Norma|
|Soldiers in White||Nurse Ryan||short subject|
|Men of the Sky (1942)||Mrs. Frank Bickley||short subject|
|Vaudeville Days (1942)||Colleen||uncredited
|1943||The Mysterious Doctor||Letty Carstairs|
|Mission to Moscow||Emlen Davies|
|Destination Tokyo||Mike's Wife on Record (voice)||uncredited|
|1944||Between Two Worlds||Ann Bergner|
|Atlantic City||Bathing Beauty||uncredited|
|Crime by Night||Irene Carr|
|The Last Ride (1944)||Kitty Kelly|
|The Very Thought of You||Janet Wheeler|
|1945||Pride of the Marines||Ruth Hartley|
|1946||Of Human Bondage||Mildred Rogers|
|Never Say Goodbye||Ellen Gayley|
|1947||Escape Me Never||Fenella MacLean|
|The Voice of the Turtle||Sally Middleton|
|1948||The Woman in White||Laurie Fairlie
|1949||It's a Great Feeling (1949)||Herself||cameo|
|1950||Chain Lightning||Joan "Jo" Holloway|
Nominated-Academy Award for Best Actress
|Three Secrets||Susan Adele Connors Chase|
|A Millionaire for Christy||Christabel "Christy" Sloane|
|Detective Story||Mary McLeod||Nominated-Academy Award for Best Actress|
|Above and Beyond||Lucey Tibbets|
|1953||Escape from Fort Bravo||Carla Forester|
|1954||The Naked Jungle||Joanna Leiningen|
|Valley of the Kings||Ann Barclay Mercedes|
|1955||Many Rivers to Cross||Mary Stuart Cherne|
|Interrupted Melody||Marjorie Lawrence||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actress|
|The Man with the Golden Arm||Zosh Machine|
|1956||The King and Four Queens||Sabina McDade|
|The Seventh Sin||Carol Carwin|
|1959||A Hole in the Head||Eloise Rogers|
|1960||Home from the Hill||Hannah Hunnicutt|
|The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio||Sister Cecelia|
|1961||Return to Peyton Place||Connie Rossi|
|1962||Madison Avenue||Anne Tremaine|
|Checkmate (TV series)||Marion Bannion
|episode: The Renaissance of Gussie Hill|
|1963||The Eleventh Hour (1962 TV series)||Connie Folsom||episode: Why Am I Grown So Cold?
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
|Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Fern Selman||episode: Seven Miles of Bad Road|
|1964||Panic Button||Louise Harris|
|Kraft Suspense Theatre||Dorian Smith||episode: Knight's Gambit|
|1965||The Sound of Music||Baroness Elsa Schraeder|
|Convoy (TV series)||Kate Fowler||episode: Lady on the Rock|
|1966||The Oscar||Sophie Cantaro|
|An American Dream||Deborah Kelly Rojack|
|1967||Warning Shot||Mrs. Doris Ruston|
|The Tiger and the Pussycat||Esperia Vincenzini|
|1968||The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||Margitta Kingsley||episode: The Seven Wonders of the World Affair|
|1969||Eye of the Cat||Aunt Danny|
|Hans Brinker||Dame Brinker|
|Bracken's World||Sylvia Caldwell||episodes 1-16
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
|1971||Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring||Claire Miller|
|Vanished (TV movie)||Sue Greer|
|1972||Circle of Fear||Paula Burgess||episode: Half a Death|
|Home for the Holidays||Alex Morgan|
|1973||The Great American Beauty Contest (TV movie)||Peggy Lowery|
|1975||Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (TV movie)||Christine Drayton|
|1978||Hawaii Five-O||Mrs. Kincaid||episode: The Big Aloha|
|The Bastard||Lady Amberly|
|She's Dressed to Kill (TV movie)||Regine Danton|
|1980||Once Upon a Spy (TV movie)||The Lady|
|Vega$||Laurie Bishop||episode: A Deadly Victim|
|1981||Madame X (1981 film)||Katherine Richardson|
|1979–1982||The Love Boat||Rosie Strickland
|episode: A Dress to Remember
episode: Buddy and Portia's Story/Julie's Story/Carol and Doug's Story/Peter and Alicia's Story
|1977–1983||Fantasy Island||Peggy Atwood
Eunice Hollander Baines
|episode: Nurses Night Out
episode: Yesterday's Love/Fountain of Youth
|1983||Hotel (TV series)||Leslie||episode: The Offer|
|1984||Finder of Lost Loves||Nora Spencer||episode: The Gift|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||Maggie Tarrow||episode: Stage Struck|
|1991||Dead on the Money (TV movie)||Catherine Blake|
Source: "Eleanor Parker". IMDb. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- IMDB page
- ELEANOR PARKER LIVES UP TO PLAN Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Nov 1951: E1.
- Eleanor Parker Nearing Turning Point of Career: 'Turtle' Star Facing Year of Decision Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Jan 1948: B1.
- Hollywood.com biography
- Rotten Tomatoes biography
- STUDIO SUSPENDS ELEANOR PARKER: Actress Refuses Assignment in Warners 'Love and Learn' --Role Held 'Not Suitable' Role to de Cordova Of Local Origin "Open City" in 24th Week Named Dean by Norwich Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 06 Aug 1946: 18.
- Eleanor Parker in Lively Return: Back on Job, Eleanor Parker Calls for True-to-Life Roles Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 May 1949: D1.
- IMDB biography
- All Movie biography
- Drama: 'All-Star Game' On Way; Lupino Has New Find; Parker Contract Ended Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 01 Feb 1950: A7.
- Eleanor Parker Goes 'Uncaged' in Comedy: Vacation From Heavy Drama Roles Also Answers Problem of Typing Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Feb 1951: D3
- ELEANOR PARKER IN DEAL AT METRO: Actress Signs Five-Year Pact With Studio -- Will Appear in Gordon-Kanin Comedy Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 01 Aug 1952:9
- Obituary for Raymond N. Hirsch, legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune (2001)
- Yes he Cannes: Woodlands teen's film goes international
- "Eleanor Parker, Oscar-nominated Actress and Baroness in ‘Sound of Music,’ Dies at 91," washingtonpost.com, 9 December 2013
- Doug McClelland, Eleanor Parker: Woman of a Thousand Faces, Scarecrow Press 1989, p. 20
- IMDB awards
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eleanor Parker.|
- Eleanor Parker at the Internet Movie Database
- Eleanor Parker at the TCM Movie Database
- "Eleanor Parker – Obituary," The Daily Telegraph online, 10 December 2013, accessed 26 February 2014.
- "TCM Remembers Eleanor Parker," Turner Classic Movies online, accessed 26 February 2014.
- Eleanor Parker photographs and literature
- Eleanor Parker at GlamourGirlsoftheSilverScreen.com
- Eleanor Parker at Find a Grave