Barbara Parkins Poster

Biography

Barbara Parkins is best remembered as an icon of the Sixties who had starring roles in two of the era's more notorious productions, Peyton Place (1964) and Valley of the Dolls (1967). After arriving in Hollywood as a teenager, Parkins soon began appearing on episodic television programs such as Wagon Train (1957) and Perry Mason (1957). She also appeared with George Burns as a dancer in his nightclub act. She was soon offered the pivotal role of "Betty Anderson" in what would become television's first prime-time soap opera, Peyton Place (1964). The show was an immediate success and turned Parkins, along with costars Ryan O'Neal and Mia Farrow into household names. Parkins was nominated for an Emmy Award as Best Actress and stayed with the series for its entire 5 year run. Her popularity was further solidified when, in 1967, she starred in the motion picture Valley of the Dolls (1967), which became a huge box office hit. She became close friends with her "Dolls" costar, Sharon Tate and traveled to London to be her bridesmaid when Tate married director Roman Polanski in 1968. Parkins fell in love with England, UK. After Tate's murder in 1969, Parkins decided to leave Hollywood and took up residence in London. There, she appeared on the BBC and starred in such international productions as Puppet on a Chain (1971), Christina (1974) and Shout at the Devil (1976). Her career, however, was no longer the prime focus of her life. She married in the late 1970's and lived in France for awhile. When her marriage ended, Parkins returned to the United States and gave Hollywood another try. She appeared in popular TV shows of the day such as The Love Boat (1977), 0077008, and Hotel (1983). She also filmed Bear Island (1979) with Donald Sutherland and Vanessa Redgrave and Breakfast in Paris (1982). Parkins joined other original cast members for a Peyton Place reunion movie, Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985), in 1985. Her career, however, was once again put on hold when her daughter Christina was born. Parkins has made infrequent appearances since the late 1980's although she did return to weekly television for a brief stint in the CBS-TV series Scene of the Crime (1991) which was filmed in the city she was born, Vancouver. In 1997, Parkins was the guest of honor at a 30th anniversary screening of Valley of the Dolls (1967) in San Francisco. During a question-and-answer segment with columnist Ted Casablanca, she announced to the sold-out audience that she planned to retire. The following year, however, she appeared in Scandalous Me: The Jacqueline Susann Story (1998), based on the life of Valley of the Dolls' controversial author. Whether Parkins will resume her career full- time or really retire is unknown at this time.