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Eleanor Parker

( b. Jun 26, 1922 Cedarville, Ohio, USA - d. Dec 09, 2013 Palm Springs, California, USA ) Female

Eleanor Parker was nominated three times for a best-actress Oscar but her best-known role was a supporting one, as the marriage-minded baroness in "The Sound of Music."

Ms. Parker was an elegant, ladylike yet sensual film actress. Still, her most recognizable role, as the Baroness who loves Christopher Plummer's character, Captain von Trapp, in "The Sound of Music" (1965), called for an icy demeanor. Uninterested in his houseful of children, she loses him to the governess, played memorably by Julie Andrews.

The highest accolades of Ms. Parker's career came a decade before.

She was nominated for an Oscar for dramatic roles as a wrongly convicted young prisoner in "Caged" (1950), a police officer's neglected wife in "Detective Story" (1951) and an opera star with polio in "Interrupted Melody" (1955), a biography of the Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence. She also received an Emmy Award nomination in 1963 for an episode of "The Eleventh Hour," an NBC series about psychiatric cases.

If she never became a star, admirers contended, it was because of her versatility. Sometimes a blonde, sometimes a brunette, often a redhead, Ms. Parker made indelible impressions but submerged herself in a wide range of characters, from a war hero's noble fiancée in "Pride of the Marines" (1945) to W. Somerset Maugham's vicious waitress-prostitute in a remake of "Of Human Bondage" (1946).

Eleanor Jean Parker was born in Cedarville, Ohio, the daughter of a math teacher and his wife. She appeared in school plays as a child and, in her teens, headed for Massachusetts to study acting at the Rice Summer Theater in Martha's Vineyard. Then she moved to California and studied at the Pasadena Playhouse.

According to numerous sources, she was approached by movie scouts at both schools but turned down their offers of screen tests in favor of completing her education. When she had done that, she got back to the Warner Brothers scout and was soon given a contract.

Over the next quarter-century her career tended toward the deadly serious in films like "Between Two Worlds" (1944), about air-raid victims in the afterlife, and "The Man With the Golden Arm" (1955), the drug-addiction drama, as Frank Sinatra's unsupportive wife. But she won favorable reviews in the occasional comedy, like "The Voice of the Turtle" (1947), opposite Ronald Reagan, and "A Hole in the Head" (1959), in which she also starred with Sinatra, and in hybrids like "The King and Four Queens" (1956), with Clark Gable.

Ms. Parker appeared in numerous television movies and as a guest on several series, mostly in the 1960s and '70s. She won new attention as a powerful movie-industry secretary in the NBC series "Bracken's World" (1969-70). Her last theatrical film was "Sunburn" (1979), a poorly received comedy starring Farrah Fawcett, and her final television appearance a 1991 movie, "Dead on the Money," with Kevin McCarthy.

Source: The New York Times obituary

ProductionsDate of Productions
Pal Joey
[Musical, Comedy, Revival]
  • Performer: Eleanor Parker [Vera Simpson]
Jun 27, 1976 - Aug 29, 1976
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