b. 16 August 1925, Fort Worth, Texas, USA. An actor and singer, Parker did some stage work before making his film debut in 1952 in Untamed Frontier, a western starring Joseph Cotton and Shelley Winters. Two years later he appeared as the famous Indian scout-legislator-Alamo defender Davy Crockett, in three episodes of the television series Disneyland. The shows were extremely popular, and the theme, ‘The Ballad Of Davy Crockett’, written by scriptwriter Tom Blackburn and George Bruns, became a US number 1 hit for Bill Hayes, well known on television himself for Show Of Shows. Subsequently, Parker’s own version of the song made the US Top 10. When the big screen version, Davy Crockett, King Of The Wild Frontier!, was made in 1955, coonskin caps abounded, nationwide and beyond; the inevitable sequel, Davy Crockett And The River Pirates, was released in 1956. In the same year, Parker starred in Walt Disney’s Westward Ho, The Wagons!, which featured five new songs, including ‘Wringle Wrangle’, Parker’s second, and last, chart success. His other movies, through to the 60s, included The Great Locomotive Chase (1956), Old Yeller (1957 - the first of the many Disney films about a boy and his dog), The Hangman (1959) and Hell Is For Heroes (1962), an exciting World War II drama, with Steve McQueen and Bobby Darin. Parker was also prominent on US television; in 1962 he co-starred with country singer Red Foley in a series based on Lewis R. Foster’s classic, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Two years later he returned to the backwoods and portrayed yet another legendary American pioneer in Daniel Boone, which ran until 1968. In 1972 he played a tough sheriff in the US television movie Climb An Angry Mountain. After he retired from showbusiness, Parker moved to Santa Barbara, California, and initially concentrated on a career in real estate. Since then, as the owner of Santa Barbara’s Red Lion Resort and Parker Winery, he has become something of a tycoon, and by the early 90s his products were selling in over 30 states.
- Fort Worth, TX
- Aug 16, 1927