Eleanor Parker re­mem­bered

Eleanor Parker will be re­mem­bered as one of those ac­tresses who lit up the screen and made the movie.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By JEs­siCA PiCK­ENs

ToDAy’S au­di­ences know her as the Baroness; the mean blond who was Julie An­drews’ ro­man­tic ri­val in The Sound of Mu­sic (1965).

Though her role in the 1965 mu­si­cal is mem­o­rable, the tal­ents of Eleanor Parker are so much more than that.

Parker started out at Warner Broth­ers stu­dios in the early 1940s. She was fresh faced, pretty and red-headed.

Born in ohio, Parker moved to Hol­ly­wood in 1942 and was dis­cov­ered while sit­ting in the au­di­ence at the Pasadena Com­mu­nity Play­house by a Warner Broth­ers tal­ent scout, ac­cord­ing to Glam­our Girls of the Sil­ver Screen.

Parker’s first role was in 1941, a deleted scene in the Er­rol Flynn and olivia De Hav­il­land film They Died With Their Boots On.

This role was fol­lowed by short films, bit parts and B-movies. one of these early jobs in­cluded a voice on a record to a soldier hus­band in the Cary Grant war film, Des­ti­na­tion Tokyo (1943).

But her first ma­jor role with Warner Broth­ers was along­side John Garfield, Syd­ney Green­street and Paul Hen­ried in Be­tween Two Worlds (1944). The all-star cast is on a boat in the af­ter­life; wait­ing to see if they will go to heaven or hell.

Her next ma­jor role came in the ro­man­tic World War II drama, The Very Thought Of You (1944) with Den­nis Mor­gan as her ro­man­tic co-star. Beu­lah Bondi and Henry Travers as Parker’s par­ents, who ve­he­mently dis­ap­prove of her ro­mance and even­tual mar­riage to a soldier.

Parker showed her ver­sa­til­ity as an ac­tress from films like Pride Of The Marines (1945), a drama about dis­abled war vet­er­ans co-star­ring John Garfield, to Never Say Good­bye (1946), a comedic romp set around Christ­mas with Flynn.

She dis­plays her act­ing abil­i­ties best in one of her top, and pos­si­bly most dis­turb­ing, roles in the prison drama Caged! (1950). Parker goes into jail as a naive and in­no­cent young woman and leaves hard­ened and cold.

one hor­ri­fy­ing scene in­cludes Parker’s head get­ting shaved as a pun­ish­ment. She was nom­i­nated for an Academy Award for Best Ac­tress for her per­for­mance in Caged, but lost to Judy Hol­l­i­day for Born Yes­ter­day.

A year later she was get­ting drunk on tequila and flirt­ing with Fred MacMur­ray in the com­edy Millionaire For Christy (1951) It’s no won­der that Parker has been dubbed Woman Of A Thou­sand Faces.

Garfield, Clark Gable, Ste­wart Granger, Kirk Dou­glas, Glenn Ford, Flynn and Humphrey Bog­art are just a few of the top lead­ing men she acted with.

“you didn’t go to her films to see Miss Parker be­ing Miss Parker in a dif­fer­ent dress and lo­cale,” wrote Doug McClel­land in his book Eleanor Parker: Woman Of A Thou­sand Faces.

“you went to see what per­son she had cre­ated on film.”

Parker was nom­i­nated for an Academy Award for Best Ac­tress two other times: De­tec­tive Story (1951) – Parker plays the wife of Dou­glas who was in­volved with and got preg­nant from a rack­e­teer be­fore their mar­riage and In­ter­rupted Melody (1956) –the bi­o­graph­i­cal film about Aus­tralian opera singer Mar­jorie Lawrence who be­comes paral­ysed due to po­lio.

She also played a woman with mul­ti­ple per­son­al­ity dis­or­der in Lizzie (1957), the same year Joanne Wood­ward played a sim­i­lar role in The Three Faces Of Eve. It was Wood­ward who won the os­car that year.

In a 1988 in­ter­view, she said she was a char- ac­ter ac­tress. That her roles were too di­verse that her own per­son­al­ity never “emerged on screen”, ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle from USA Today.

In her pri­vate life, she was shy and col­lected clas­si­cal records, ac­cord­ing to an April 30, 1945, LIFE ar­ti­cle, Eleanor Parker: Ac­tress plays ‘Of Hu­man Bondage,’ role that made Bette Davis fa­mous.

McClel­land’s book sug­gests one rea­son Parker is for­got­ten today is be­cause of her quiet, pri­vate life.

“I’ve prided my­self on not dream­ing up tales to see my name in print,” McClel­land quotes her as say­ing in an in­ter­view.

“Some of my per­sonal favourite films of Parker’s in­clude: The Voice Of The Tur­tle (1947), Woman In White (1948), Never Say Good­bye (1946), The Very Thought Of You (1945), Pride Of The Marines (1945) and Val­ley Of The Kings (1954).

Parker is one of those ac­tresses who light up the screen and make the movie. The only films I re­mem­ber not en­joy­ing of Parker’s were the Ru­dolph Valentino biopic Valentino (1951) and The Os­car (1966). Nei­ther of the films were bad be­cause of Parker, but bad script writ­ing.

Parker passed away on Mon­day at the age of 91 due to com­pli­ca­tions from pneu­mo­nia, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press.

“Eleanor Parker was and is one of the most beau­ti­ful ladies I have ever known,” said Sound Of Mu­sic co-star Christo­pher Plum­mer in Parker’s USA Today obituary. “Both as a per­son and as a beauty. I hardly be­lieve the sad news for I was sure she was en­chanted and would live for­ever.”

Good­bye to one of Warner Broth­ers’ bright­est and most tal­ented stars. The Very Thought Of You will al­ways make your fans smile. – McClatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

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