When Parker Stevenson was five years old his mother, who acted in numerous television commercials, took him to a filming session. This resulted in two small television appearances. However, Parker's father, an investment advisor, looked askance at the whole business, and although Parker appeared in a few play productions at Brooks School he had no intention of becoming an actor. Parker rowed with the Brooks School crew in the Princess Elizabeth Cup Race at the prestigious Henley Regatta. Later at Princeton, Parker rowed with the freshman lightweight crew team which won the 1971-72 eastern sprint races. Parker Stevenson graduated from Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts in 1971.