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Larry Parks

Actor | * 12/13/1914 († 60, 04/13/1975) | Olathe, Kansas (United States of America (USA))
Samuel Lawrence "Larry" Klausman 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 it 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). ()
Photo of Larry Parks

Samuel Klausman Lawrence Parks was born in Olathe, Kansas, on December 13, 1914, of German and Irish descent. As a child growing up in Joliet, Illinois, he was plagued by a variety of illnesses, including rheumatic fever, but persevered with physical exercise and sheer strength of will. Majoring in science at the University of Illinois, his plans to become a doctor dissolved when, to the dismay of his parents, he found a passionate sideline in college dramatics. He began appearing in touring shows, then made the big move to New York, finding initial employment as an usher at Carnegie Hall and a tour guide at Radio City. Following a number of summer stock shows, he made an inauspicious 1937 Broadway debut with a minor role in the Group Theatre's presentation of "Golden Boy". Developing a close-knit relationship with the Group, he was just beginning to build up his resumé in such Broadway outings as "All the Living", "My Heart's in the Highlands" and "Pure in Heart" when he had to return to his Illinois home following the death of his father.He toiled for a time in Chicago as a Pullman inspector on the New York Central Railroad until the possibility of a film role had him re-setting his acting sights on Los Angeles. Although the film deal fell through, Larry stayed in L.A. and somehow made ends meet working construction. Columbia expressed interest in the fledgling actor and signed him up in 1941 after a favorable screen test. He stayed for nine years. His buildup was slow-moving, taking his first small step with a minor role in Mystery Ship (1941). Time, however, did not increase the tempo or quality of his movies. Either he was oddly cast, such as his role as an Indian opposite exotic Yvonne De Carlo in The Deerslayer (1943), or completely dismissed, as co-star of such obscurities as The Black Parachute (1944), Sergeant Mike (1944) or She's a Sweetheart (1944). His association with the Group Theatre back in New York led to a chance introduction to musical actress Betty Garrett and the couple married in 1944. Larry had settled by this time in Hollywood but Betty was a hot item on Broadway. MGM finally offered her a contract and she relocated to Los Angeles to join her husband. The couple eventually had two children, one of whom, Andrew Parks, became a fine actor in his own right. Their other son, Garrett Parks, served as composer for the film Diamond Men (2000). Larry scored an Oscar nomination playing Jolson (which was originally offered to both James Cagney and Danny Thomas), and hoped for equally challenging roles. His hopes were dashed as the studio instead continued casting him haphazardly in mild-mannered comedies and swashbuckling adventures. Other than the box-office sequel Jolson Sings Again (1949), most of Larry's films were hardly worthy of his obvious talent. To compensate somewhat, he managed to find a creative outlet in summer stock, and both he and Betty put together a successful vaudeville act with one tour ending up playing London's Palladium.Following the completion of Love Is Better Than Ever (1952) with Elizabeth Taylor, the political scandal erupted and erased all of his chances to do film. One of many casualties of Hollywood "blacklisting", he was forced to end his association with Columbia, and he and Betty, whose own career was damaged, traveled to Europe to find work.

Most frequent genres for this person: Drama | Comedies | Music

Known for these Movies & Shows

Awards & Nominations for Larry Parks

Academy Award for Best Actor

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Movies with Larry Parks as Actor(38)

as le docteur Joseph Breuer1962 Freud: The Secret Passion
as John Desmond1955 Tiger by the Tail
as Jud Parker1952 Love Is Better Than Ever
as Peter Judson Kirk Jr.1950 Emergency Wedding
as Al Jolson / Himself1949 Jolson Sings Again
as Lt. David Picard1948 The Gallant Blade
as Alexander MacArden - aka Donald Frazer1948 The Swordsman
as Danny Miller1947 Down to Earth
as Ben Dembrow / Ben Taylor1946 Renegades
as Al Jolson1946 The Jolson Story
as Kirichenko1945 Counter-Attack
as Larry Lake1944 The Racket Man
as Michael Lindley1944 The Black Parachute
as Danny Davis1944 Stars on Parade
as Pvt. Tom Allen1944 Sergeant Mike
as Rocky Hill1944 She's a Sweetheart
as Jim Leighter1944 Hey, Rookie
as Eddie Ross1943 Reveille with Beverly
as Jerry Purvis (uncredited)1943 Power of the Press
as Jingo-Good1943 The Deerslayer
as Ens. Johnson (uncredited)1943 Destroyer
as Jerry Stewart1943 Is Everybody Happy?
as Joe Trilby1942 Alias Boston Blackie
as Chick O'Driscoll1942 A Man's World
as Paul Herbert1942 Hello, Annapolis
as Bill Layden1942 The Boogie Man Will Get You
as Tony - Lita's Boyfriend1942 You Were Never Lovelier
as Sparksie1942 Submarine Raider
as Jim Bailey1942 North of the Rockies
as Gregory1942 Atlantic Convoy
as Rusty Bryant1942 Blondie Goes to College
as Harvey1941 Harmon of Michigan
as Sailor1941 Honolulu Lu
as Reporter1941 Three Girls About Town
as Eddie Spellman1941 Harvard Here I Come
as Tommy Baker1941 Mystery Ship

TV Shows/Series with Larry Parks as Actor(1)


Full Name: Larry Parks
Born: Sunday, 12/13 1914 (December) in Olathe, Kansas (United States of America (USA))
Died: Sunday, 04/13 1975 (April) in Studio City (aged: 60)
Zodiac sign: Sagittarius (Chinese zodiac sign: Tiger)
Educated at: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Spouses (current/former): Betty Garrett
Larry Parks frequently works together with these people:
Lloyd Bridges (10x, Actor)
Lew Landers (10x, Crew)
Eddie Laughton (10x, Actor)
Lionel Banks (7x, Crew)
Charles Barton (7x, Crew)
John Tyrrell (7x, Actor)
Stanley Brown (6x, Actor)
Marguerite Chapman (5x, Actress)
Wallace MacDonald (5x, Actor)
Adele Mara (5x, Actress)
Barbara Brown (5x, Actress)
John Newland (2x, Crew)
WatchPlayStream ID: PEOPLE:171930, Added: 07/09/2018, Last updated: 10/19/2021