Suzy Parker

Active - 1957 - 1966  |   Born - Oct 28, 1933 in San Antonio, TX  |   Died - May 3, 2003 in Montecito, CA  |   Genres - Science Fiction, Drama, Romance, War

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An elegant, red-haired beauty, high-priced cover-girl-turned-actress Suzy Parker is generally considered the forerunner to modern-day supermodels. Exuding an alluring sense of class that lent her high visibility the 1950s, it's no surprise that Parker was one of the highest-paid models of her generation. Born Cecilia Ann Renee Parker in Long Island, NY, Parker's sister Dorian Leigh (also a popular fashion model) attempted to help her break into the industry by introducing her to renowned modeling agent Eileen Ford, who immediately dismissed the 14-year-old as too tall. Undaunted, Parker next approached Diana Vreeland, who quickly signed her to a contract. It wasn't long before Parker redefined the fashion industry as the face of Coco Chanel, and the rising starlet was subsequently photographed by some of the best in the business. Married to high-school sweetheart Charles Staton early on, the union dissolved as Parker's career ascended, and she would subsequently share a brief marriage with Pierre de la Salle. Audrey Hepburn's character in Stanley Donen's musical comedy Funny Face was based on Parker, and it was in that very film that the model herself would make her feature debut. Ironically spoofing the high-power fashion industry elite, Parker turned heads in the film's "Think Pink" dance number. Later playing opposite Cary Grant (Kiss Them for Me [1957]) and Gary Cooper (Ten North Frederick [1958]), Parker also appeared in a popular episode of the Tarzan television series and an episode of Twilight Zone entitled "Number 12 Looks Just Like You." It was while working as an actress that Parker would meet her third and final husband, actor Bradford Dillman. Though Parker would appear in films well into the 1960s, the happily married couple would move to Montecito in 1968 in a bid to escape the bright lights of Hollywood. On May 3, 2003, Suzy Parker died in Montecito, CA. She was 69.

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