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Eleanor Parker

Eleanor Parker
Parker in 1948
Born Eleanor Jean Parker
(1922-06-26)June 26, 1922
Cedarville, Ohio, U.S.
Died December 9, 2013(2013-12-09) (aged 91)
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Cremated
Occupation Actress, Singer
Years active 1941–1991
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.[1] 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 Elsa von Schraeder in the 1965 musical The Sound of Music.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Death 4
  • Religion 5
  • Academy Award nominations 6
  • Filmography 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Parker was born on June 26, 1922, in Cedarville, Ohio, the daughter of Lola (Isett) and Lester Day Parker.[2] She moved with her family to East Cleveland, Ohio, where she attended public schools and graduated from Shaw High School. After high school, at the age of 18, she was signed by Warner Brothers in 1941. She was cast that year in the film They Died with Their Boots On,[3] but her scenes were cut.[4] Her actual film debut was as Nurse Ryan in Soldiers in White in 1942.


By 1946, Parker had starred in Between Two Worlds, Hollywood Canteen, Pride of the Marines, Never Say Goodbye, and played the key role of Mildred Rogers in the remake of Of Human Bondage. She broke the champagne bottle on the nose of the California Zephyr train, to mark its inaugural journey from San Francisco on March 19, 1949.[5]

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.[6]

Parker was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1950, she was nominated for George Pal.

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 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.

Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6340 Hollywood Blvd.

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.

Personal life

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.[8]

She was the grandmother of one-time child actor Chase Parker [9]


Eleanor Parker died on December 9, 2013 at a medical facility in Palm Springs, California of complications of pneumonia. She was 91.[10]


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."[11]

Academy Award nominations


Year Title Character Notes
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
short subject
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
Hollywood Canteen Herself cameo
1945 Pride of the Marines Ruth Hartley
1946 Of Human Bondage Mildred Rogers
Never Say Goodbye Ellen Gayley
1947 Escape Me Never Fenella MacLean
Always Together Herself cameo
The Voice of the Turtle Sally Middleton
1948 The Woman in White Laurie Fairlie
Ann Catherick
1949 It's a Great Feeling (1949) Herself cameo
1950 Chain Lightning Joan "Jo" Holloway
Caged Marie Allen
Won-Volpi Cup
Nominated-Academy Award for Best Actress
Three Secrets Susan Adele Connors Chase
1951 Valentino Joan Carlisle
Sarah Gray
A Millionaire for Christy Christabel "Christy" Sloane
Detective Story Mary McLeod Nominated-Academy Award for Best Actress
1952 Scaramouche Lenore
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
1957 Lizzie Elizabeth
Beth Richmond
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
Gussie Hill
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 Schrader
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
1979 Sunburn Mrs. Thoren
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
Alicia Bradbury
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
episode: Pilot
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



  1. ^ IMDB page
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ biography
  4. ^ Rotten Tomatoes biography
  5. ^ IMDB biography
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ All Movie biography
  8. ^ Obituary for Raymond N. Hirsch, (2001)
  9. ^ Yes he Cannes: Woodlands teen's film goes international
  10. ^ "Eleanor Parker, Oscar-nominated Actress and Baroness in ‘Sound of Music,’ Dies at 91,", 9 December 2013
  11. ^ Doug McClelland, Eleanor Parker: Woman of a Thousand Faces, Scarecrow Press 1989, p. 20
  12. ^ IMDB awards

External links

  • Eleanor Parker at the Internet Movie Database
  • Eleanor Parker at the TCM Movie Database
  • online, 10 December 2013The Daily Telegraph"Eleanor Parker – Obituary," , accessed 26 February 2014.
  • "TCM Remembers Eleanor Parker," Turner Classic Movies online, accessed 26 February 2014.
  • Eleanor Parker photographs and literature
  • Eleanor Parker at
  • Eleanor Parker at Find a Grave
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