Helen Parrish
Helen Parrish 1940.jpg
Parrish pictured in 1940
Born(1923-03-12)March 12, 1923
DiedFebruary 22, 1959(1959-02-22) (aged 35)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Years active1927–1958
Spouse(s)Charles G. Lang Jr. (1942–1954) (divorced) 2 children
John Guedel (1956–1959) (her death)
RelativesRobert Parrish (brother)

Helen Virginia Parrish[1] (March 12, 1923 – February 22, 1959) was an American stage and film actress.[2]


Parrish was born in Columbus, Georgia.[1] She started in movies at the age of 4, getting her first part playing Babe Ruth's daughter in the silent film Babe Comes Home[3] in 1927. She was featured in the Our Gang comedy shorts[4] and sometimes played the lead character as a child, co-starring with some of the great female stars of the day. In her teens she made herself known as a kid sister. During this time she also starred opposite Deanna Durbin in several of her films, playing a jealous, spiteful rival.

Their first film together, Mad About Music (1938), worked so well that they soon formed a sort of Shirley Temple/Jane Withers team in a couple of other movie confections for Universal. In their second film together, Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939), Parrish replaced Barbara Read as sister Kay Craig. Her films included X Marks the Spot (1931), When a Feller Needs a Friend (1932), A Dog of Flanders (1935), Little Tough Guy (1938), I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now (1940), You'll Find Out (1940), Too Many Blondes (1941), X Marks the Spot (1942; a remake of her earlier film), Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943) and The Wolf Hunters (1949).

By her mid-twenties she had left motion pictures and turned to television, co-hosting Hour Glass,[5] the first U.S. network variety show in 1946-47. In an era when "... it was a social 'taboo' for a pregnant woman to display herself in public," Parrish was forced to leave Hour Glass as a result of her pregnancy.[6] In 1953, she was host of It's a Good Idea and This Is Your Music.[1]

One notable TV role was that of Geraldine Rutherford in the first season of the American television situation comedy Leave It to Beaver.[7]

Her last role on television was as women's editor of a morning program, Panorama Pacific, on the West Coast.[3]

Parrish appeared in TV commercials for a variety of products throughout the 1950s, earning more income from them than from roles in shows. In 1955, she said that making commercials "turned out to be the next best thing to owning an oil well."[1]


Her brother, Robert Parrish,[8] was a minor child actor who earned respect as a film editor and director and her sister, Beverly Parrish, died suddenly at the age of 11 after filming only one movie.[9]

On July 11, 1942, Parrish married actor Charles G. Lang, Jr. in Hollywood.[10] They had a son and a daughter,[1] then divorced in 1954. On August 3, 1956, she married television producer John Guedel. She had a miscarriage in April 1958.[1]


Parrish has a star at 6263 Hollywood Boulevard in the Motion Pictures section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated on February 8, 1960.[11]


On February 22, 1959, Parrish died of cancer at Presbyterian Hospital in Hollywood.[3][12][4] She is buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[1]

Partial filmography


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Helen Parrish". Films of the Golden Age (105): 54–55. Summer 2021.
  2. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 143. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Noted Actress, 35, Victim of Cancer". Independent. California, Long Beach. United Press International. February 23, 1959. p. 4. Retrieved July 5, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ a b "Helen Parrish Actress Dies". The Ottawa Journal. Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Associated Press. February 23, 1959. p. 23. Retrieved July 5, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  5. ^ Robertson, Patrick (2011). Robertson's Book of Firsts: Who Did What for the First Time. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781608197385. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  6. ^ Schilling, Jim Von (2013). The Magic Window: American Television ,1939-1953. Routledge. ISBN 9781136398674. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  7. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 591. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  8. ^ McFarlane, Brian (2016). The Encyclopedia of British Film: Fourth edition. Oxford University Press. p. 584. ISBN 9781526111975. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  9. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 143.
  10. ^ "Marriages". Billboard. July 25, 1942. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Helen Parrish". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 5 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Helen Parrish Dies of Cancer". Reading Eagle. February 23, 1959. p. 14. Retrieved April 1, 2014.