Larry Parks life and biography

Larry Parks picture, image, poster

Larry Parks biography

Date of birth : 1914-12-13
Date of death : 1975-04-13
Birthplace : Olathe, Kansas, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-02-13
Credited as : Actor, The Jolson Story 1946, married to Betty Garrett

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Larry Parks was an American stage and movie actor. He was born Samuel Klausman Lawrence Parks. 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.

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 a "Best Actor" Academy Award nomination.

In 1951 Larry 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 and submitted 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 eke out a living acting on the stage and doing occasional television programs. He last appeared, in a major role, in the John Huston film Freud the Secret Passion (1962).

Parks died of a heart attack at the age of 60. He was married to actress Betty Garrett in 1944. Together they had two sons, actor Andrew Parks and composer Garrett Parks. He was also the godfather to actor Jeff Bridges.

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