Lara Parker – film, television, stage actress, and best selling novelist – has much to celebrate, including a still thriving fandom and a very special, personal milestone.
Happy Birthday, Lara Parker!
And that’s because she was born on October 27, 1938, in Knoxville, Tennessee, which means that this much-beloved actress is turning 82 years old today! Born Mary Lamar Rickey, Parker adopted her stage name and collected both a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhodes College and a Master of Arts degree (in speech and drama) from the University of Iowa.
After conquering the Millbrook Playhouse stage – where she assumed lead roles in five plays over an accelerated six-week course – Parker headed to New York in order to find employment as an actress.
Within two weeks, she was offered the opportunity to join the cast of ABC’s Dark Shadows in the role of conjure woman Angelique Bouchard. Though originally conceived as a short term antagonist, the character proved so popular that Parker was placed on contract status for the remainder of the daytime drama’s run.
During her tenure with the series, Parker also starred in the Broadway play Woman Is My Idea, as well as Off-Broadway productions of Lulu and A Gun Play. She made her film debut in the comedy/drama Hi, Mom! (1970), though her most famous feature is, most assuredly, the 1971 effort, Night of Dark Shadows which saw her reprise her Angelique character.
After relocating to the West Coast in the mid-1970s, Parker appeared in a plethora of primetime programs including The FBI, Medical Center, Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Emergency!
She also continued to appear in horror and science fiction genre fare including Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Incredible Hulk (she’s the doomed wife of series lead Dr. David Banner), Galactica 1980, and Race with the Devil (1975).
Parker’s other acting credits include the 1973 Oscar-winning picture Save the Tiger (which starred Jack Lemmon), as well as episodes of Police Woman, Hawaii Five-O, The Rockford Files, and Baretta.
She returned to daytime television with a role in Capitol, and she was one of the lead actors in the late night, syndicated soap opera A New Day In Eden – a program known more for its adult content (which included partial nudity and taboo subject matters such as lesbianism and May/December romances) than for its stories.
After retiring from acting, Parker refocused her efforts to authorship and wound up penning four Dark Shadows novels beginning with Angelique’s Descent (1998) and culminating with Heiress of Collinwood (2016).
Since 2006, Parker has actively participated in the audio-only continuation of the Dark Shadows franchise operated under the auspice of the Big Finish corporation. Entertainment Hub would like to wish Lara Parker a very happy birthday.