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Sound of Music actress dead

Dec. 10: Eleanor Parker, who was nominated three times for a best-actress Oscar but whose best-known role was a supporting one, as the marriage-minded baroness in The Sound of Music, died yesterday in Palm Springs, California. She was 91.

A family friend, Richard Gale, told The Associated Press that the cause was complications of pneumonia.

Parker was an elegant, ladylike yet sensual film actress. Still, her most recognisable role, as the Baroness who loves Christopher Plummer’s character, Captain von Trapp, in The Sound of Music (1965), called for an icy demeanour. Uninterested in his houseful of children, she loses him to the governess, played by Julie Andrews.

The highest accolades of Parker’s career came a decade before. She was nominated for an Oscar for dramatic roles as a wrongly convicted young prisoner in Caged (1950), a police officer’s neglected wife in Detective Story (1951) and an opera star with polio in Interrupted Melody (1955).

She also received an Emmy Award nomination in 1963 for an episode of The Eleventh Hour.

If she never became a star, admirers contended, it was because of her versatility. Sometimes a blonde, sometimes a brunette, often a redhead, Parker made indelible impressions but submerged herself in a wide range of characters, from a war hero’s noble fiancée in Pride of the Marines (1945) to W. Somerset Maugham’s vicious waitress-prostitute in a remake of Of Human Bondage (1946).

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