Willard Parker

Active - 1937 - 1972  |   Born - Feb 5, 1912   |   Died - Dec 4, 1996   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Adventure, Comedy, Romance

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Anyone born with a name like Worster Van Eps probably had no choice but to become a top tennis pro. But when he entered films in 1937, Van Eps altered his name to the more hero-friendly Willard Parker. A leading man at Columbia in the 1940s, Parker, a handsome hunk in the Sonny Tufts mold (though a far better actor), never quite reached the summit. His best-remembered performance was as the bombastic, clueless "other man" in the 1953 musical Kiss Me Kate. From 1955 through 1957, Parker built up a kiddie fan following as co-star (with Harry Lauter) of the TV series Tales of the Texas Rangers. Retiring from acting in the late '60s to become a thriving real estate agent, Willard Parker was married from 1951 to actress Virginia Field, with whom he co-starred in The Earth Dies Screaming (1966) -- the last film for both.

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