She was a great actress.
Nominated for the Oscar three times. Won many awards. Always received billing above the title. Played opposite all of Hollywood’s top leading men: Clark Gable, John Garfield, Glenn Ford, Charlton Heston, Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra.
And yet there aren’t many people who would contend that Eleanor Parker is a movie star. Why?
Who knows, exactly? In any case, we’re going to figuratively tackle one of Joe’s favorite actresses, and discuss just a few of her great roles.
Let’s concentrate on the three films for which she received Oscar nominations and the one film for which she should have. And we unabashedly declare three of the four titles as classics.
Caged was, and still is, the grittiest film ever made about women’s prisons. It was released in 1950, and became a huge commercial and critical success.
Parker received the first of her three Academy Award Nominations for Best Actress for her portrayal of an naive young woman who encounters sadism, lesbianism and cruelty and eventually emerges as a hardened denizen of the world she’s been thrown into.
It was criminal that she didn’t win the Oscar. But that year, 1950, every actress nominated in that category should have won! Parker’s competitors were Gloria Swanson (for Sunset Boulevard), Bette Davis and Anne Baxter (All About Eve), and Judy Holiday (Born Yesterday). Holiday was the winner.
The following year Parker was nominated for Detective Story. That film, too, is a classic.
In 1955 Parker was nominated for Interrupted Melody in which she portrayed Australian opera star Marjorie Lawrence who battled polio.
She was not nominated for Man With the Golden Arm in which she portrayed Zosh, Frank Sinatra’s supposedly wheelchair bound wife.
Parker’s career was filled with interesting parts but she will probably be remembered for one of her most conventional ones, Baroness Schraeder in The Sound of Music.
One of Joe’s favorite Parker films is Three Secrets. (That’s her below with co-stars Patricia Neal and Ruth Roman.) See it and all of the movies we’ve mentioned today. You won’t be disappointed.
Parker died two years ago at age 91. If you aren’t a fan of this great actress, let’s hope you soon will be.