Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"I'm Not Some Sort of Garbage Pail You Can Slide a Lid On and Walk Away."

So said Eleanor Parker as Sophie Cantaro in the legendary 1966 turkey The Oscar. She played the sex-starved talent agent who "discovers" louse Frankie Fane (Stephen Boyd) when he was pushing clothing carts in NYC and just happened to jump on a stage at a rehearsal for a play being his usual obnoxious self. She helps lead him to a successful Hollywood career and into her bed.

She can be seen in this excellent summary of the movie at around 1:20 and 2:05, among other places:

She was hardly an "old lady" in this film being in her early forties, and not a whole lot older than Boyd. Women, though, were considered washed up if they hit the dreaded 30 back then.

Anyway, Eleanor Parker, 91, has passed away after a bout with pneumonia. She had been nominated for an Oscar, but obviously not for the notorious turkey of the same name.

A snip:

Eleanor Jean Parker was born on June 26, 1922, in Cedarville, Ohio, the daughter of a math teacher and his wife. She appeared in school plays as a child and, in her teens, headed for Massachusetts to study acting at the Rice Summer Theater in Martha’s Vineyard. Then she moved to California and studied at the Pasadena Playhouse.

According to numerous sources, she was approached by movie scouts at both schools but turned down their offers of screen tests in favor of completing her education. When she had done that, she got back to the Warner Brothers scout and was soon given a contract.

Her feature film debut, however, was delayed. It was supposed to be in the western “They Died With Their Boots On” (1941), with Errol Flynn, but her scenes were edited out. In 1942 she appeared in two war-promotion shorts and provided the voice of a telephone operator in a Humphrey Bogart gangster movie, “The Big Shot.” Finally, later that year, she appeared as a frightened bus passenger in “Busses Roar,” a black-and-white drama about wartime saboteurs.

She was married four times and was widowed in 2001. She also had four children.

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