Jean Parker appeared in at least 70 movies and had supporting roles in such popular films as "Little Women," starring Katharine Hepburn, and "The Gunfighter," starring Gregory Peck.
Parker had leading roles in a number of B movies in the 1930s and '40s, including "Detective Kitty O'Day" in 1944. That year she also played opposite Lon Chaney Jr. in a whodunit, "Dead Man's Eyes."
Later, Parker made guest appearances in several TV series, including "Private Secretary," "Suspense" and "Starlight Theater" in the 1950s.
Parker began her career as a contract actress at MGM studio in the early 1930s. Pretty and vivacious, she gained a reputation for working quickly and well. She made seven films in 1933, including Frank Capra's "Lady for a Day." Perhaps the most enduring film she appeared in that year is "Little Women"; she played Beth, one of the four March sisters.
Throughout her career, she often had small roles in movies that featured major stars. In 1934 she appeared in "Operator 13," set during the Civil War, with Marion Davies and Gary Cooper in the leading roles.
She also made an appearance in "The Flying Deuces," a Laurel and Hardy classic of 1939 in which she played the daughter of an innkeeper. In the film, Ollie Hardy falls in love with her, but things don't work out and, to forget her, he joins the Foreign Legion.
In 1950, Parker had a supporting role in "The Gunfighter" with Peck in the lead as a gunman who wants to retire and settle down. The film remains a strong example of the psychological dramas set in the American West that were popular in the 1950s.
Parker also appeared on stage in Broadway shows and in touring productions. In 1946, she had a small role in "Burlesque," starring Bert Lahr. She replaced Judy Holliday in a leading role in "Born Yesterday" in 1949 when Holliday left to make a movie. The play ran for about a year with Parker in the lead.
She also had roles in the West Coast productions of several plays, including "Born Yesterday," in the 1950s.