HOLLYWOOD LEGEND ELEANOR PARKER DEAD

Published on: December 9, 2013
Photography by: Popperfoto/Getty
HOLLYWOOD LEGEND ELEANOR PARKER DEAD

THE SOUND Of MUSIC’s Baroness  & ERROL FLYNN co-star ELEANOR PARKER gone at 91.

Three time Oscar nominee Eleanor Parker died Monday at age 91 due to complications from pneumonia at a medical facility near Palm Springs, California.

Best known as the icy, blonde Baroness in the 1966 musical, “The Sound of Music,” Parker considered herself a character actress, which enabled her to have a lengthy career spanning theatre, film and television.

Serious about her craft, Parker began her studies at the Rice Summer Theater on Martha's Vineyard at age 15 and later at the Pasadena Playhouse.  After turning down screen tests with 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros., she later signed with Warners.

The 19 year old Cedarville, Ohio native was set to mark her film debut in “They Died With Their Boots On” with Errol Flynn in 1941, but her scenes were cut. She made her official debut a year later in “Soldiers in White” 1942.

Recognizing her depth, Parker was cast in the 1946 remake of “Of Human Bondage,” which had made Bette Davis a star 12 years prior.  Despite Davis sending best wishes, the film was a dud and Parker returned to mediocre parts.

Bouncing back, Parker co-starred with Errol Flynn in two light-hearted films, “Never Say Goodbye” and “Escape Me Never,” in 1946 and 1947 respectively.

A stellar performance as a young widow adjusting to prison in the1950 film, “Caged” brought Parker's first Best Actress Oscar nomination.  She earned another the following year as Kirk Douglas' struggling wife in “Detective Story.”

“Interrupted Melody,” about opera star Marjorie Lawrence who continued her career after contracting polio, garnered a third Best Actress nomination in 1955 for Parker's vivid portrayal.

With roles in many notable films starring Hollywood's top actors including “The Naked Jungle” with Charlton Heston, and the wife of heroin addict Frank Sinatra in “The Man with the Golden Arm,” Parker's career soared in the 1950's.

Television work included “The Man from U.N.C.L.E,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and an  Emmy nomination for “The Eleventh Hour” in 1963.  She retired in 1991.

Married four times, and divorced thrice, Parker is survived by her four children.