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Hollywood legend Eleanor Parker dead at 91

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Another famous actor from the Golden Age of Hollywood has passed on… Actress Eleanor Parker, famous for roles in World War II classics such as “Hollywood Canteen” and “Pride of the Marines” and as the Baroness in “The Sound of Music” in the 1960’s has died in Palm Springs, California on December 9, 2013 at the age of 91.

A friend of the family, Richard Gale, has that said Ms Parker died on Monday morning from complications of pneumonia, passing away “peacefully, surrounded by her children at a medical facility near her home in Palm Springs.”

Born Eleanor Jean Parker in Cedarville, Ohio, Parker was discovered at the Pasadena Playhouse and snapped up by Warner Brothers in 1941, right after high school at the age of 18.

Warner Brothers immediately cast her in a film entitled “They Died With Their Boots On” but the scenes were cut from the production. Eleanor’s actual film debut was therefore as “Nurse Ryan” in “Soldiers in White” in 1942.

Though known for her extraordinary beauty and acting ability, Eleanor played bit parts until was cast as “Mildred Rogers” in the 1946 remake of film “Of Human Bondage,” based on the novel by W, Somerset Maugham, starring opposite Paul Henreid Alexis Smith and Edmund Gwenn.

Parker was nominated three times for Best Actress by the Academy Awards: in 1950 for her role as prison inmate “Marie Allen” in “Caged” (for which she won the 1950 Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival), in 1951 for her role as “Mary McLeod” in “Detective Story” starring opposite Kirk Douglas as her detective husband, and in 1955 for her role as opera singer “Marjorie Lawrence” in the Oscar-winning film “Interrupted Melody.”

The Hollywood beauty’s most memorable role is undoubtedly as the scheming baroness in “The Sound of Music” in 1965, starring opposite Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews.

After winning acclaim in that role, Parker took infrequent parts in films and also appeared from time to time on TV shows such as “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island” and “Murder She Wrote.” Her last role was as “Catherine Blake” in 1991 TV film “Dead on the Money” starring opposite Corbin Bernsen, Amanda Pays, Sheree North and Kevin McCarthy. Eleanor was also a regular from 1969-1970 on “Bracken’s World” as “Sylvia Caldwell.”

Eleanor Parker was married to Fred Losee, from 1943 to 1944, whom she divorced; to Bert E. Friedlob, from 1946 to 1953, whom she divorced and had three children with (Susan Eleanor Friedlob, Sharon Anne Friedlob and Richard Parker Friedlob); to Paul Clemens from 1954 to 1965, who she divorced and had one child with (Paul Day Clemens); and finally to Raymond Hirsch, from 1966 to 2001, until his death, and with whom she had one child.

Despite her rare beauty and talent for which she never achieved the level of acclaim as so many of her co-stars, Eleanor humbly explained back in 1988 in an interview, “I'm primarily a character actress. I've portrayed so many diverse individuals on the screen that my own personality never emerged.” Nevertheless, Eleanor Parker will never be forgotten!


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