Eleanor Parker, original ‘Sound of Music’ baroness, passes away

Eleanor Parker and Richard Haydn are greeted by Christopher Plummer in a scene from the film 'The Sound Of Music', 1965. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)
Eleanor Parker and Richard Haydn are greeted by Christopher Plummer in a scene from the film ‘The Sound Of Music’, 1965. Credit: 20th Century Fox/Getty Images

OK, so this probably isn’t Carrie Underwood’s fault.

In a week full of “Sound of Music” news following NBC’s Underwood-starring remake, here’s a sadder story: Eleanor Parker, the actress who portrayed the Baroness in the original “Sound of Music” film, has passed away of complications from pneumonia. She was 91 years old.

“She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her children at a medical facility near her home in Palm Springs,” family friend Richard Gale told the AP.

Though Parker is mostly known today for her role as the Baroness who remains gracious even in the face of curtain-wearing, yodeling, husband-stealing Maria, she had a long and illustrious film career, including three Oscar nominations.

Despite her Hitchcock-blonde beauty, Eleanor Parker never rose to superstardom. “I’m primarily a character actress,” she said in a 1988 interview. “I’ve portrayed so many diverse individuals on the screen that my own personality never emerged.”

 That may be true, but she was the best part of “The Sound of Music,” and she’ll never be forgotten for that.


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