Back to IndieWire

TCM Remembers ‘Sound of Music’ Actress Eleanor Parker with Marathon Programming December 17 (OBIT ROUNDUP)

TCM Remembers 'Sound of Music' Actress Eleanor Parker with Marathon Programming December 17 (OBIT ROUNDUP)

Most people probably know versatile character actress Eleanor Parker, who died on December 9 at age 91, from classic big-screen musical “The Sound of Music.” She played the platinum blonde Baroness, who isn’t slow to pick up on Christopher Plummer’s Captain Von Trapp’s true feelings for governess Maria (Julie Andrews). TCM is rolling out an entire Parker retrospective to celebrate her career on December 17, so viewers can become better acquainted, or reacquainted, with her body of work. Check out the lineup, below, plus an obit roundup.

The following is a complete schedule of TCM’s tribute to
Eleanor Parker:

Tuesday, Dec. 17

6 a.m. – The Very Thought of You (1944)

7:45 a.m. – Of Human Bondage (1946)

9:45 a.m – The Woman in White (1948)

11:45 p.m. – Caged (1950)

1:30 p.m. – Scaramouche (1952)

3:30 p.m. – Interrupted Melody (1955)

5:15 p.m. – Home from the Hill (1960)

Here’s TCM’s obit:

A remarkably versatile leading lady of the 1940s and ’50s,
Eleanor Parker signed a contract with Warner Bros. on her 18th birthday after
gaining experience on stage in Cleveland, in summer stock and at the Pasadena
Playhouse. She made her debut in Raoul Walsh’s They Died with Their Boots On
(1941) before graduating to starring status in distinguished films like Pride
of the Marines (1945), her third movie with director Delmer Daves, and Voice of
the Turtle (1947), opposite Ronald Reagan and adapted from John van Druten’s
Broadway hit.

Parker reached the zenith of her popularity and acclaim in
the early ’50s, earning three Best Actress Oscar® nominations for her
terrorized prison inmate in Caged (1950), as Kirk Douglas’ neglected wife with
a secret in Detective Story (1951) and as polio-stricken opera star Marjorie
Lawrence in Interrupted Melody (1955). That same year, she was also memorable
as Frank Sinatra’s beautiful but hateful crippled wife in Otto Preminger’s The
Man with the Golden Arm.

Parker went on to re-team with Raoul Walsh for The King and
Four Queens (1956) and Sinatra for Frank Capra’s A Hole in the Head (1959). Her
1950s work also included Hugo Haas’s Lizzie (1957), in which she played a woman
with three distinct personalities, and Carl Schultz’s The Seventh Sin (1957), playing
the adulterous wife of a doctor who redeems herself during an epidemic. Madison
Avenue (1962) marked Parker’s last leading role, but she continued to appear in
secondary roles through the ’70s, most notably as the Baroness in Robert Wise’s
The Sound of Music (1965). She continued making television appearances through

An obit roundup, after the jump…

Ms. Parker was an elegant, ladylike yet sensual film
actress. Still, her most recognizable role, as the Baroness who loves
Christopher Plummer’s character, Captain von Trapp, in “The Sound of Music”
(1965), called for an icy demeanor. Uninterested in his houseful of children,
she loses him to the governess, played memorably by Julie Andrews. (Laura
Benanti played the part in the recent version on NBC.)

The highest accolades of Ms. Parker’s career came a decade

She was nominated for an Oscar for dramatic roles as a
wrongly convicted young prisoner in “Caged” (1950), a police officer’s
neglected wife in “Detective Story” (1951) and an opera star with polio in
“Interrupted Melody” (1955), a biography of the Australian soprano Marjorie
Lawrence. She also received an Emmy Award nomination in 1963 for an episode of
“The Eleventh Hour,” an NBC series about psychiatric cases.

If she never became a star, admirers contended, it was
because of her versatility.

“Eleanor Parker was and is one of the most beautiful
ladies I have ever known,” said Plummer in a statement. “Both as a
person and as a beauty. I hardly believe the sad news for I was sure she was
enchanted and would live forever.”

“I’m primarily a character actress,” she said in a
1988 interview, explaining why she never achieved the stardom of so many of her
co-stars. “I’ve portrayed so many diverse individuals on the screen that
my own personality never emerged.”

Like William Holden, Robert Preston, Dustin Hoffman and
others, Parker was discovered at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Parker quickly proved to be more than just a pretty face.
She was a character actress in a movie star’s body — a nuanced, sensitive
dramatic performer whether as a young woman on a ship bound for the afterlife
in the 1944 drama “Between Two Worlds” or as John Garfield’s
resilient love interest in the 1945 classic “The Pride of the

She was so adaptable that she became known as “the star
with 100 faces.”

Her career fully blossomed with such follow-up films as
Scaramouche with Stewart Granger, Above and Beyond with Robert Taylor, Escape
From Fort Bravo with Holden, Valley of the Kings with Taylor, and The Naked
Jungle with Charlton Heston.

She took on one of her most challenging roles in 1955 in
Interrupted Melody, portraying opera star Marjorie Lawrence, who continued her
career after contracting polio. Faced with having to lip-synch nine arias in
three languages, she holed up in a Lake Arrowhead cabin for two weeks and
played records eight to 10 hours a day.

The result: her third Oscar nomination.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox