Hollywood leading lady who was three times nominated for an Oscar

Eleanor Parker: June 26th, 1922-December 9th, 2013

Errol Flynn and  Eleanor Parker

Errol Flynn and Eleanor Parker


Eleanor Parker, who has died aged 91, was a Hollywood leading lady of the 1940s and 1950s and three-time Oscar nominee who starred alongside big names including Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Robert Mitchum and Ronald Reagan.

She later appeared in a supporting role in the blockbuster The Sound of Music.

Parker, whose ability to tackle many kinds of roles including heavy drama and light comedy earned her the nickname the “woman of a thousand faces”, never won an Academy Award but was nominated as best actress three times in a five-year period.

Those nominations came for playing a horrified prison inmate in Caged (1950), the neglected wife of a cop portrayed by Douglas in director William Wyler’s Detective Story (1951), and as polio-stricken opera singer Marjorie Lawrence in Interrupted Melody (1955) with Glenn Ford.

She had a secondary role, playing the child-hating Baroness Elsa Schraeder, in her most enduring movie – the 1965 musical The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. It became the highest grossing film to date.

Parker was born to a middle-class family in Cedarville, Ohio. She started acting in school plays and later moved to California to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. At the playhouse, while merely sitting in the audience during a show, she was spotted by a studio scout and was signed by Warner Brothers in 1941.

She is survived by her four children Susan, Sharon, Richard and Paul.