|Cause of death heart attack|
Role Movie actor
Name Larry Parks
|Years active 1941–62|
Occupation Actor, Singer
|Full Name Samuel Klausman Lawrence Parks|
Born December 13, 1914 (1914-12-13) Olathe, Kansas, U.S.
Died April 13, 1975, Studio City, California, United States
Spouse Betty Garrett (m. 1944–1975)
Children Andrew Parks, Garrett Parks
Education University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Joliet Central High School
Movies The Jolson Story, Jolson Sings Again, Down to Earth, Freud: The Secret Passion, Love Is Better Than Ever
Similar People Betty Garrett, Al Jolson, Andrew Parks, Alexander Hall, Alfred E Green
Down To Earth 1947 Rita Hayworth, Larry Parks, Marc Platt
Betty Garrett discusses meeting husband Larry Parks - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG
Larry Parks (December 13, 1914 – April 13, 1975) was an American stage and movie actor. His career arced from bit player and supporting roles to top billing, before his career was virtually ended when he admitted to having once been a member of a Communist party cell, which led to his blacklisting by all Hollywood studios. His best known role was Al Jolson, whom he portrayed in two films: The Jolson Story (1946) and Jolson Sings Again (1949).
- Down To Earth 1947 Rita Hayworth Larry Parks Marc Platt
- Betty Garrett discusses meeting husband Larry Parks EMMYTVLEGENDSORG
- Life and career
- Supporting player
- Later career
Life and career
Parks was born Samuel Klausman Lawrence Parks in Olathe, Kansas, the son of Nellie (Klausman) and Frank H. Parks. His family was Jewish. He was raised in Joliet, Illinois, and graduated from Joliet Township High School in 1932. He attended the University of Illinois as a pre-med student, and played in stock companies for a few years before signing a movie contract with Columbia Pictures in 1941.
As did most Columbia contract players, he played supporting roles in higher-budgeted films, and larger roles in B pictures, such as 1942's Atlantic Convoy.
When Columbia was preparing a screen biography of Al Jolson, many big-name stars were considered for the title role, including James Cagney and Danny Thomas (both of whom turned it down), but resident contractee Larry Parks was reportedly the first actor to be interviewed. Parks impressed the producers and won the role. At the age of 31, his performance in The Jolson Story (1946) earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
Now that Parks was a full-fledged star, Columbia kept him busy in elaborate productions (including a couple of costume epics) until he appeared in the sequel, Jolson Sings Again (1949), which was another huge box office hit. His co-star in the film, Barbara Hale, teamed with him again in the comedy feature Emergency Wedding.
Parks tried to break his contract with Columbia in 1948, but was unsuccessful.
In 1951, Parks was summoned to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, under threat of being blacklisted in the movie industry, but he begged not to be forced to testify. He eventually did so in tears, only to be blacklisted anyway. Larry Parks eventually gave up the names of his former colleagues to the HUAC. Following his admission before the committee, Columbia Pictures dropped him, and a romantic comedy he made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was shelved for three years. Parks made only a few more films, but continued to squeeze out a living acting on the stage and doing occasional television programs. He last appeared in a major role in a John Huston film, Freud: The Secret Passion (1962).
Parks eventually left the film industry and formed a successful construction business, and eventually he and his wife Betty Garrett owned many apartment buildings scattered throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Rather than sell them upon completion, Parks decided to retain ownership and collect rents as a landlord, a decision that proved to be extremely profitable. During this period, the couple occasionally performed in Las Vegas showrooms, summer stock productions, and touring companies of Broadway shows.
Parks married actress Betty Garrett in 1944. Betty Garrett starred in Hollywood films such as On the Town and on television as Archie Bunker's neighbor Irene Lorenzo on All in the Family and as landlady Edna Babish on Laverne and Shirley. Her career also faced turmoil as a result of her marriage to Parks, and the two spent much of the 1950s doing theatre and musical variety shows. Together they had two sons, actor Andrew Parks and composer Garrett Parks. Larry Parks was also godfather to actor Jeff Bridges.
Parks died of a heart attack at the age of 60.