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Barbara Parkins

Barbara Parkins

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: May 22, 1942 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Vancouver, British Columbia, CA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A slim brunette leading lady of film and TV, Barbara Parkins made her feature debut in the crime drama "20,000 Eyes" (1961) but really came to public attention as the oft-married Betty Anderson on the popular primetime soap opera "Peyton Place" (ABC, 1964-69). In her second feature, the high profile but trashy "Valley of the Dolls" (1967), she was cast as an aspiring actress with roots in New England, a role that was not much of a stretch from her TV persona. In its day, the film was widely dismissed by critics, but by the 1990s it enjoyed popularity as a camp classic. While never a major screen presence, Parkins acquitted herself in a handful of roles in horror films, including "Asylum" (1972) and particularly in the Canadian-made "Christina" (1974), which utilized her voluptuous beauty to good effect. She made her last feature appearance to date as a fashion designer in the misguided Australian romantic comedy "Breakfast in Paris" (1981).The small screen was more hospitable to Parkins who delivered several respected turns in TV-movies and miniseries. She was quite effective as a traumatized victim of rape in "A Taste of Evil" (ABC, 1971). Parkins was Leonie Jerome, aunt of Winston Churchill, in the...

A slim brunette leading lady of film and TV, Barbara Parkins made her feature debut in the crime drama "20,000 Eyes" (1961) but really came to public attention as the oft-married Betty Anderson on the popular primetime soap opera "Peyton Place" (ABC, 1964-69). In her second feature, the high profile but trashy "Valley of the Dolls" (1967), she was cast as an aspiring actress with roots in New England, a role that was not much of a stretch from her TV persona. In its day, the film was widely dismissed by critics, but by the 1990s it enjoyed popularity as a camp classic. While never a major screen presence, Parkins acquitted herself in a handful of roles in horror films, including "Asylum" (1972) and particularly in the Canadian-made "Christina" (1974), which utilized her voluptuous beauty to good effect. She made her last feature appearance to date as a fashion designer in the misguided Australian romantic comedy "Breakfast in Paris" (1981).

The small screen was more hospitable to Parkins who delivered several respected turns in TV-movies and miniseries. She was quite effective as a traumatized victim of rape in "A Taste of Evil" (ABC, 1971). Parkins was Leonie Jerome, aunt of Winston Churchill, in the British series "Jennie" (shown in the USA on PBS in 1975), appeared as Martinique in the acclaimed NBC miniseries "Captains and Kings" (1976), played Anna Held in the NBC biography "Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women" (1978) and portrayed the Duchess of Windsor in the HBO movie "To Catch a King" (1984). She reprised her signature role of Betty in the NBC movie "Peyton Place: The Next Generation" (1985) and returned to series TV as part of the reenactment ensemble of "Scene of the Crime" (ABC, 1991-94). Parkins also guest-starred in episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" and "Picket Fences".

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Scandalous Me: Jacqueline Susann Story, The (1998) Annie Laurie Williams
2.
 Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun (1986) Ellen Cartwright
3.
 Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985) Betty Harrington Cord
4.
 Calendar Girl Murders (1984) Cleo Banks
5.
 To Catch a King (1984) Duchess Of Windsor
6.
 Uncommon Valor (1983) Dr Margaret Houghton
7.
 Breakfast in Paris (1981) Jackie Wyatt
8.
 Bear Island (1979) Judith Ruben
9.
 Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women (1978) Anna Held
10.
 Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy (1977) Vanessa Hunt
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1961:
Made feature debut in "20,000 Eyes"
:
Began appearing in guest spots on TV shows like "Dr. Kildare" and "Leave It to Beaver"
:
Co-starred as Betty Anderson in the TV serial "Peyton Place" (ABC), the first soap opera to become a major hit in primetime, airing up to three times per week
1967:
Co-starred in "Valley of the Dolls", an embarrassing adaptation of the Jacqueline Susann novel
1971:
Played a traumatized rape victim in ABC movie "A Taste of Evil", starring Barbara Stanwyck
1971:
Appeared in the chiller "The Mephisto Waltz"
1974:
Portrayed title role in "Christina", a murky thriller shot in Canada
1975:
Acted the part of Leonie in the PBS series "Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill" (shown as part of "Great Performances")
1976:
Played Lee Marvin's daughter in "Shout at the Devil"
1976:
Acted in acclaimed minseries adaptation of Taylor Caldwell's novel "Captains and Kings"
1977:
Starred in the syndicated miniseries "Testimony of Two Men", also adapted from a Taylor Caldwell novel
1978:
Portrayed Anna Held in NBC movie "Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women"
1980:
Appeared in "Bear Island", a poor screen adaptation of one of Alistair MacLean's best novels; film barely released
1981:
Last feature film to date, "Breakfast in Paris"
1981:
Acted in ABC miniseries "The Manions of America", which introduced Irish actor Pierce Brosnan to American audiences
1984:
Appeared in the TV-movies "To Catch a King" (HBO), playing the Dutchess of Windsor, and "The Calendar Girl Murders" (ABC)
1985:
Reprised her role as Betty Harrington Cord in the NBC movie "Peyton Place: The Next Generation"
1986:
Acted in NBC's "Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun", the second of the Perry Mason reunion movies
1989:
Guest-starred in an episode of "Murder She Wrote" (CBS)
:
Returned to series TV as member of the ensemble for "Scenes of the Crime" (CBS)
:
Guest-starred as Lucy Wanamaker on the CBS drama "Picket Fences" during the 1995-1996 season
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Parkins failure to establish herself as a feature star was not all her fault as the following quote makes clear: "Miss Parkins is very badly served by the script, direction, lighting, wardrobe and make-up. No actress can survive that kind of treatment." --from VARIETY review of "The Mephisto Waltz", February 3, 1971

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