Eleanor Parker was the most versatile actress of her time and was labeled ‘a woman of a thousand faces’. Starting her career in 1941, Eleanor was nominated for several awards. She also has theater credits and did radio programs. After having done more than 80 plus odd movies, Eleanor died on 9 December 2013. This is a tribute to this legendary actress who had a career span of nearly 50 years from 1942 to 1991.
Her last years and death
Eleanor Parker was 91 years old when she died. The death information was given by her friend to Associated Press. She died at a medical facility near her Palm Springs home due to pneumonia. There is not much detail about how she had spent the time after 1991 when she retired from acting to her death in 2013.
Her personal life
Eleanor, no doubt, had a wonderful career. But her personal life was no less colorful. She was married 4 times. Her first husband was Fred Losee whom she married in March 1943 and the next year the couple divorced. The exact reason for this separation is not known.
Eleanor then married Bert E. Friedlob in 1946. The marriage seemed to be happy for some time and they had three children. But by 1953 love had faded away in this relationship and the two separated.
In 1954, Eleanor married American portrait painter Paul Clemens. Everything seemed fine until 1965 when the marriage ended in a divorce. They had one son; Paul Day Clemens who is an actor and was born on 7 January 1958.
She then went on to marry Raymond N. Hirsch in 1966. Hirsch died of esophageal cancer in the year 2001. She is the grandmother of child actor Chase Parker.
The pre-fame bygone days
Talking of her early life, Eleanor was born on 26 June 1922 in Cedarville, Ohio. Her parents were Lola (Isett) and Lester Day Parker. Her father was a Maths teacher and was the last of three children of the couple. The family moved to East Cleveland, Ohio where she was in public schools. She finished her school graduation from Shaw High School.
Eleanor wanted to act since her young days. She had once said:
“Ever since I can remember all I wanted to do is act. But I didn’t just dream about it, I worked at it.”
She used to participate in school plays. She then joined Martha’s Vineyard to learn acting. She also did odd jobs such as of a waitress in the interim period.
Her career preparation
The 20th Century Fox had offered her a screen test which she refused. She wanted to do only films and migrated to California and was featured in Pasadena Playhouse.
The time with Warner Bros
Eleanor was in the audience when a talent scout of Warner Bros noticed her and offered her a test which she willingly accepted. In June 1941, she was signed for a long-term. She did a role in the movie They Died with their boots on, but unfortunately her scenes got edited out. She then acted in Soldiers in White in 1942 and this is considered her debut role.
She did some B films but her roles were decent. She also had a minor role in Mission to Moscow. The Warners were thoroughly impressed with her acting and she received several film offers which she did perfectly well.
Her big break
This could be her role in 1945’s Pride of the Marines. She said of this role:
“It was a great part and who wouldn’t look good with John Garfield, He was absolutely wonderful.”
She did refuse certain roles of Warners which they did not take well and she was suspended twice. She did take some time off for her babies and their rearing. For her role in the 1950’s Caged, she won the best actress award.
Her other roles
She also did several other roles for producers other than the Warners which were also highly appreciated. She also acted in her later life until 1991.