The actress won three Oscar nods and the love of several generations of fans.
Eleanor Parker, one of the stars of the original Sound of Music movie cast and an iconic actress with a legacy spanning five decades, died Monday in Palm Springs. She passed away at the age of 91 from pneumonia complications. The unfortunate news was confirmed by her son, actor Paul Clements, for the LA Times.
Parker became a household name after playing Elsa Schraeder - the baroness determined to marry the captain played by Christopher Plummer in the 1965 movie. The fame she achieved after that performance would prove to be difficult to escape.
She was widely recognised for her versatile talent and had three Oscar nominations, all for films other than The Sound of Music. Parker acted in about 40 films throughout her career, but she is most fondly remembered for her Baroness. According to Clemens, the inescapable fame of this one role had troubled the actress throughout her career.
"It was a lovely role, and she was terrific in it," Clemens said, "But it was hardly her greatest role. It was only in the last 10 years of her life that she became glad she had done the film. People of all ages know it."
The late Eleanor Parker in one of her last screen appearances as Jessica's good friend in a Murder, She Wrote (1986). pic.twitter.com/gWjyoO5LBD— Angela Lansbury News (@_AngelaLansbury) December 10, 2013
Besides the iconic role, however, Parker was known for her grace and reserve, and she managed to imbue all her characters with her characteristic elegance. Her Sound of Music co-star Plummer said in a statement: "Eleanor Parker was and is one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever known. I hardly believe the sad news. I was sure she was enchanted and would live forever."
Christopher Plummer called Eleanor Parker "one of most beautiful ladies" he had ever met.