Jean Parker

Active - 1932 - 1982  |   Born - Aug 11, 1915 in Deer Lodge, MT  |   Died - Nov 30, 2005 in Woodland Hills, CA  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Western, Crime

Share on

While still a junior high student, American actress Jean Parker was discovered by MGM when she posed for a poster contest. Her first film under her MGM contract was Divorce in the Family (1932), and her first important film was Rasputin and the Empress (1933), in which the novice performer failed to wilt despite the formidable presence in the cast of Lionel, John and Ethel Barrymore. Pretty and vivacious, Parker became the queen of the MGM B-pictures but never quite made it in the studio's top-drawer productions. Gaining a reputation of working quickly, efficiently and inexpensively, she became a valuable commodity on the independent-film market; two of her free-lance appearance, in Laurel and Hardy's Flying Deuces (1939) and director Eddie Sutherland's ultra-sentimental Beyond Tomorrow (1940), are familiar public-domain additions to video stores throughout America. At Monogram in the mid '40s, Parker inagurated a comedy-mystery series as Detective Kitty O'Day, but only two films were made, with her performance overshadowed by costar Peter Cookson in both. The actress was a regular in B-plus Technicolor westerns of the '50s, seen to best advantage as a faded society belle in Randolph Scott's A Lawless Street (1955). Parker made her final appearance in a western, billed eleventh after several other movie veterans in Apache Uprising (1966), in which she had only one scene. While never a big star in films, Parker did considerably better on stage, appearing in the west-coast productions of such hits as Dream Girl and Born Yesterday. Jean Parker worked as an acting coach in the '60s and early '70s, but by the '80s she was a recluse, accepting few visitors outside of her grown son.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography