Born Lois Mae Green, Jean Parker died on November 30, 2005 of a stroke at the age of 90. Parker was one of Western movies’ earliest stars. She got her big break in the most unusual way when she won a poster-illustrating contest and caught the eye of Ida Koverman, the then-secretary of legendary MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer. After that Jean Parker went on to appear in 79 movies from 1932 through 1966. Her most notable appearance was as Beth in the original Little Women (1933). She also enjoyed a role in Flying Deuces (1939) with comic geniuses Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
Parker’s Western credits include The Texas Rangers (1936), Toughest Man in Arizona (1952), and The Gunfighter (1950) alongside Gregory Peck. Ten years after appearing in her last film—a Western—The Parson and the Outlaw (1957), Parker came out of retirement to make one last film—another Western—Apache Uprising, for Paramount’s prolific producer A.C. Lyles.