Jean Parker (born Lois May Green) was an American film and stage actress. A native of Montana, indigent during the Great Depression, she was adopted by a family in Pasadena, California at age ten. She initially aspired to be an illustrator and artist, but was discovered at age 17 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executive Louis B. Mayer after a photograph of her was published in a Los Angeles newspaper when she won a poster contest. She made her feature film debut in the pre-code drama Divorce in the Family (1932), before being loaned to Columbia Pictures, who cast her in Frank Capra's Lady for a Day (1933). The same year, she starred as Elizabeth March in George Cukor's adaptation of Little Women opposite Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, and Frances Dee. Subsequent roles included lead parts in the drama Sequoia (1934), and in the British comedy-fantasy The Ghost Goes West (1935). Parker later starred in the Laurel and Hardy comedy The Flying Deuces (1939), followed by the sports film The Pittsburgh Kid (1941), and the film noir Dead Man's Eyes (1944), opposite Lon Chaney Jr. She made her Broadway debut in 1946, in the title role of Loco, followed by a leading role in the Broadway production of Burlesque (1946–1947) opposite Bert Lahr. In 1948, she replaced Judy Holliday for the national Broadway touring production of Garson Kanin's Born Yesterday, which earned her favorable reviews. The next year, she appeared opposite Gregory Peck in a stage production of the comedy Light Up the Sky. By the 1950s, Parker's film career had slowed, though she continued to appear in a small number of films, including supporting parts in the Westerns The Gunfighter (1950) and Toughest Man in Arizona (1952), and the film noir Black Tuesday (1954). She gave birth to her only child, son Robert Lowery Hanks Jr., in 1952, from her fourth marriage to actor Robert Lowery. Parker made her final film appearance in 1965's Apache Uprising. She spent her later years in California, where she died of a stroke at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Los Angeles in 2005.
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