Barnett Parker (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 09, 2022

Since his initial venture in the theater, Barnett Parker, now an acknowledged celebrity of the screen, has maintained that salesmanship was his forte.

In Yorkshire, England, where Parker was born on September 11, he watched a wandering repertory company and acquired the yearning to act. The manager told him that, for twenty pounds, he could join the outfit for experience. Parker did it. The company used his twenty pounds for train fare to get out of town. But he went with it.

When he was 21, Parker came to the United States, but the World War interrupted his plans to carve a niche for himself in the theater hall of fame. He signed up with the British Army and served four years as a first lieutenant of the line.

With Billie Burke

Back in the States he appeared with Billie Burke in “Mind the Paint Girl” and “Amazons.” He joined the Shuberts and appeared in many of their productions, reaching Los Angeles in “Student Prince” and “Bittersweet.” His performances immediately attracted studio executives and Parker was signed to play in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, with Gary Cooper, under the direction of Frank Capra.

Now he is under contract to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, where, incidentally, Billie Burke is a colleague on the list of notable featured players.

He appeared in “Roaming Lady,” The King Steps Out, “The General Died at Dawn,” “We Who Are About to Die,” and for M-G-M, Libeled Lady, “Dangerous Number,” Personal Property, “Espionage,” “Born to Dance,” The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, Broadway Melody of 1938The Emperor’s Candlesticks, Married Before Breakfast,” “Double Wedding,” and “Navy Blue and Gold.”

Bows to the New Moon

Parker is six feet in height, weighs 198 pounds and has light hair and blue eyes. He is unmarried. He is a collector of antiques and his favorite recreation is swimming.

Denying stoutly that he is superstitious, Parker has been seen in Piccadilly, Paris, New York and elsewhere, halting abruptly in his tracks and removing his hat as he made a sweeping bow. He does it to a new moon.

“Born to Dance” when he showed Eleanor Powell and James Stewart the “Honeymoon Cottage.”

From that role alone, he received more than 10,000 fan letters — and also a letter from the M-G-M studios, which contained a long-term contract which he immediately signed and returned.

Is Bird Fancier

He has built a home in Brentwood, where he engages in the hobby of bird raising. He has more than fifty different species, and is adding more daily.

He is known as the “break-up” actor among his fellow players. He has been dubbed thus because he holds the record of making actors break up their lines while he is working with them.

Although he enjoys the screen, he would like to do at least one stage play a year, and for that reason he is actively interested in various Little Theatre movements, but he hasn’t any ambition to become a star. Parker says he will be perfectly happy as long as he receives diversified roles.

He admits that one of his most unique thrills came when he was asked to make a teaser trailer for M-G-M showing the “yumph” in “Double Wedding.”

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937