Her death was confirmed by her son, actor Paul Clemens.
Parker brought a coolness, reserve and elegance to her portrayal of the baroness who is determined to marry the handsome captain played by
"Eleanor Parker was and is one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever known," said Plummer in a statement Monday. "I hardly believe the sad news for I was sure she was enchanted and would live forever."
The fame accompanying Parker's supporting but pivotal role in the enduring 1965 musical about the Von Trapp family was "something she came to make peace with" after many years, her son said Monday.
"It was a lovely role, and she was terrific in it," Clemens said, "but it was hardly her greatest role. It was only in the last 10 years of her life that she became glad she had done the film. People of all ages know it."
Her death came just four days after
The striking redhead appeared in more than three dozen movies, acting opposite many of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men, including Clark Gable, William Holden and Glenn Ford.
Born in Cedarville, Ohio, on June 26, 1922, she caught the acting bug as a youngster. At 15, she joined the Rice Summer Theatre on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where she was offered a screen test by a
Believing she would profit from professional stage experience, she turned down the test and continued her studies at the Pasadena Playhouse, where she was quickly offered another chance at Hollywood exposure, this time by a
Parker quickly proved to be more than just a pretty face. She was a character actress in a movie star's body — a nuanced, sensitive dramatic performer whether as a young woman on a ship bound for the afterlife in the 1944 drama "Between Two Worlds" or as John Garfield's resilient love interest in the 1945 classic "The Pride of the Marines."
She was so adaptable that she became known as "the star with 100 faces."
"I'm primarily a character actress," she once said. "I've portrayed so many diverse individuals on screen that my own personality never emerged."
She earned her first best actress Oscar nomination for the 1950 melodrama "Caged," in which she played a naive woman who is turned into a hardened criminal in prison. The next year, she received an Academy Award nomination for another difficult role in William Wyler's "Detective Story," starring as the wife of a police detective (Kirk Douglas) who harbors a dark secret that could destroy their marriage.
Parker earned her final Oscar nomination as a
That same year, she appeared opposite Frank Sinatra in "The Man With the Golden Arm" and costarred with
She continued to act in such films as 1959's "A Hole in the Head" and 1960's "Home From the Hill," but other than "The Sound of Music," her subsequent films were generally disappointments. Her last feature was the poorly reviewed 1979 Farrah Fawcett film "Sunburn."
She had a long career in television, including roles on shows including the 1969-70 NBC drama "Bracken's World," "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island" and "Murder, She Wrote."
Parker, who lived in Palm Springs for more than 30 years, made one last TV movie, 1991's "Dead on the Money," before retiring.
ABC will air the original 1965 "The Sound of Music" on Dec. 22.
Besides son Paul, she is survived by son Richard; daughters Sharon and Susan; stepdaughter Laurey; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.