Jean Parker

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Jean Parker (b. August 11, 1915 - d. November 30, 2005) was an American movie actress.

Born as Lois Mae Green in Deer Lodge, Montana, she appeared in 70 movies from 1932 through 1966. She was discovered by Ida Koverman, secretary to MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, after she saw a poster featuring Parker portraying Father Time. She attended Pasadena schools and graduated from John Muir High School. Her original aspirations were in the fine arts and illustration.

She had a successful career at MGM, RKO and Columbia including important roles such as the tragic Beth in the original Little Women, among many other film appearances including Frank Capra's Lady for A Day and Gabriel Over the White House; Sequoia; The Ghost Goes West, opposite Robert Donat; and Rasputin and the Empress, with fellow players, the Barrymore siblings (John, Ethel, and Lionel) in the only movie they all made together. In 1939, she starred opposite Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in RKO's The Flying Deuces.

Parker stayed active in film throughout the 1940s, playing opposite Lon Chaney in "Dead Man's Eyes" "Detective Kitty O' Day", and a variety of other films. Parker managed her own airport and flying service with then-husband Doug Dawson in Palm Springs, California until shortly after the start of World War II. During World War II, she toured many of the veteran hospitals throughout the U.S. and performed on radio. In the 1950s, Parker co-starred opposite Edward G. Robinson in Black Tuesday; had a small but effective role in Gunfighter which starred Gregory Peck and appeared with Randolph Scott and Angela Lansbury in the western Lawless Street (1955). Her last film appearance was Apache Uprising (1966), directed by A. C. Lyles.

Parker also appeared on Broadway. In 1949 she replaced Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday on Broadway and enjoyed a successful run in this classic. Parker also appeared on Broadway opposite Bert Lahr in the play Burlesque, did summer stock in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was on tour in the play Candlelight and Loco, and performed on stage in other professional productions.

She married Robert Lowery (who played Batman in 1949) in 1950. Two years later she gave birth to a son, Robert Lowery Hanks, an executive with the city of Los Angeles, California. Later in life, she continued a successful stint on the West Coast theatre circuit and worked as an acting coach.

She spent her final years in the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, where she died of a stroke on November 30, 2005, aged 90.

Filmography

Jean Parker at the Internet Movie Database

Pin-up Gallery

Trivia

  • Made her Broadway review in 1946 in LOCO
  • While not known for her stage work, starred on Broadway and in stock in major works such as "Candlelight", "Loco", and many other stage plays.
  • Took Judy Holliday's place on Broadway in "Born Yesterday" when Ms. Holliday prepared for "Bells are Ringing".
  • Husband Robert Lowery, as a gag, introduced Jean to Sally Stanford, notorious California madam, as a prospective "house girl".
  • Jean's mother was one of eighteen children (natural) of a pioneer family with roots in Kirksville, Missouri and Clarinda, Iowa.
  • Discovered by Ida Koverman, Louis B. Mayer's personal assistant after winning a poster painting contest which portrayed father time.
  • Her mother, Mildred Brenner, worked at MGM in the set department, and created magnificent flowers, trees and other greenery for such notable films as National Velvet (1944), Forbidden Planet (1956), Raintree County (1957).
  • Jean Parker was an accomplished clothes designer. She designed many lovely creations but considered it a hobby and usually just kept her designs for herself.
  • Measurements 33B-24-34 - Shoe size 6
  • She was divorced four times: first husband was New York newsman George MacDonald; second husband radio commentator Douglas Dawson; third husband Los Angeles insurance broker Curtis Grotter; fourth husband actor Robert Lowery, the father of her son Robert Jr.
  • As the winner of an art poster competition celebrating the 1932 Olympic Games (to be held in Los Angeles), Jean was invited to be one of the models decorating the float in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade.
  • Lived at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California from 1998 until 2005.
  • Studied Hindu philosophy and was well-versed in the Upanishad and in the teachings of Krishnamurti.
  • Based on the 1930 Federal census, Jean's actual name was Lois M Green, and she was born about 1917 in Montana - making her 16 when she appeared in the 1933 production. In 1930 she was living with her mother, Pearl M Green, age 39 (born about 1891 in Nebraska, parents from Virginia and Iowa) and her sister La Vona M Green, wage 11, (born about 1919 in Colorado); other than he was born in South Dakota, no father is mentioned. The parents married about 1913 and do not seem to appear in the 1920 census.
  • In an interview with Jean by writer Marcia Borie in 1972 at Jean's home in Eagle Rock, California, Jean admitted that at age 16 she invented her real last name and birthplace to make herself more interesting. The truth is she was born in Butte, Montana, not Deer Lodge, which to her sounded more romantic. She also changed her real name, Luis Stephanie Zalinska (she was of Polish-French descent), to Lois Mae Green. Child star Mitzi Green was the Broadway rage at the time so she adopted her last name, changed the Mitzi to Mae and inverted a vowel in her first name to Lois.
Personal Quotes
"Acting is truly a glorious and noble profession. When anyone can give other people a few hours of escape or enchantment away from the ills of the world and their own personal lives, that's a very worthwhile occupation."

External links


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