"I didn't realize the part was a witch. I thought it was a simple little lady's maid who had been jilted by the master of the house. Jonathan told me she was a witch and I turned a stared into the camera...and put a spell on the lens." -- Lara Parker, on her audition for the role of Angelique

See also:

An article about Lara's Broadway debut.

Lara's Official Website


Lara Parker
Dark Shadows Characters:
Angelique, Cassandra Blair Collins, Valerie Collins, Alexis Stokes, Catherine Harridge, Miranda Duval

Appeared in: 269 episodes

First episode: # 368, November 22, 1967

Last episode: # 1245, April 2, 1971

Born: Mary Lamar Rickey, Knoxville, Tennessee; October 27, 1945

Lara Parker was a housewife and mom living in a farmhouse in Wisconsin in the mid-1960s, but she knew she wanted more. She had married Tom Parker while still attending college at Vassar, and soon had two sons. But she had a long-cherished dream of being an actress.

"Because I was at home with the children not doing what I wanted, I began to resent my marriage," she told TV Radio Show magazine in 1970. "The thought of waking up every morning to do the dishes, clean the house, and cook stew was just not enough for me."

Lara had found her calling years earlier. "I decided to become an actress when I was 9," she told me when I interviewed her in 2000. "I realized I couldn't sing or dance so, I thought, I didn't need any special talents to act so that's what I would be. I was very shy, but I was aggressive about getting in little plays, or on the radio. I was doing radio dramas at 10 years old (it paid five dollars!) and I was working in the Front Street Theater in Memphis at 15. But I did very small roles. Not having any talent was a problem. I continued to work in small theaters and then in college theater and summer stock. At graduate school at the University of Iowa I did a few leading roles and I was the leading lady at summer stock theaters in Wisconsin and Connecticut."

Playing leading parts in community theater helped her find fulfillment, but at the same time it made her yearn for more. While appearing in summer stock in Pennsylvania in 1967, she decided to try her luck in New York. Within two weeks Lara had an agent and an audition for the prime role of the evil witch Angelique on Dark Shadows.

"The audition was on camera with Jonathan Frid," she said. "I didn't realize the part was a witch. I thought it was a simple little lady's maid who had been jilted by the master of the house. Jonathan told me she was a witch and I turned a stared into the camera. I thought to myself, 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.' Then I zapped the camera with my eyes and put a spell on the lens."

It worked. She got the part, and her husband and sons joined her in the city.

Lara remained a devoted mom. "I don't believe that I've been selfish in pursuing a career," she said in 1970. "I believe that my children are better for it. I can give them more materialistically because I work. But even more important, because I am content I do not take out my frustrations and resentment on them. They are also growing up with a sense of independence."

While on Dark Shadows, Lara starred on Broadway in Woman Is My Idea and off-Broadway in Lulu and A Gun Play. In 1970 she made her movie debut in Brian Depalma's Hi, Mom! (1970) starring Robert Deniro. The next year she played Angelique in Night of Dark Shadows.

Lara went to Los Angeles in 1972 to appear in the film Save The Tiger, starring Jack Lemon. She played a prostitute who gets a client so excited he ends up in the hospital. She loved L.A., so she moved to California later that year.

Throughout the '70s and '80s she guest-starred in numerous prime time shows including Hawaii 5-0, Switch, Alice, Highway to Heaven and Kung Fu. She also continued to work on stage.

In the 1975 film Race with the Devil she played one of four people in a motor home being pursued across country by Satan worshipers. She was also in the 1982 film Foxfire Light.

She had a leading role in the 1981 dramatic series Jessica Novak, and from 1985 to '86 she played Linda on the CBS soap opera Capitol.

In the late 1980s, Lara and her second husband, Jim Hawkins, a contractor and builder, adopted a daughter.

In the 1990s, Lara turned her focus to writing. She took screenwriting courses at UCLA and completed several scripts. Though none of her screenplays have yet been produced, she wrote and directed two musical productions at her daughter's elementary school. She also wrote a successful novel that was published by HarperCollins in 1998. Her Angelique's Descent, fleshes out her DS character's origins. The sequel, Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch, is scheduled for a 2006 release.

Asked what she'd pick if she were forced to chose between acting and writing, Lara replied, "I would like to continue writing for the rest of my life. Acting is too unpredictable; it's too hard to get jobs. Also it requires a hungry ego and an audience. Writing can be a solitary pursuit and it is always rewarding."

Career Highlights:
Capitol (Linda, 1986-88), One Life to Live, Divorce Court (2 episodes: 1988), The Judge, The Doctors.

PRIMETIME TV: Highway to Heaven (1987), The Highwayman (1988), Remington Steele (1983), A New Day In Eden (Laura, 1982-83), The Fall Guy (1982), Jessica Novak (Katie, 1981), Barnaby Jones (Christine Leonox, 1980), Hawaii Five-O (Angie Walker, 1980), Hagen (Gloria, 1980), Galactica 1980 (Shirley, 1980), Stranded (Crystal Norton, pilot), SWAT (Susan Barnes, 1979), Incredible Hulk (Laura, 1978, pilot), Baretta (Trudy, 1978), Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (Evelyn, 1978), Switch (Tanya Mason, 1978), Hawaii Five-O (Julie Kincaid Trahune, 1978), Quincy (Angie, 1977), Switch (Shirley Harris, 1977), Doctors' Hospital (Angela Stone, 1976), Jigsaw John (1976), Alice (Mrs. Randolph, 1976), City of Angels (Eunice Wheeler, 1976), Kojak (Jenny Villers, 1976), Charlie's Angels, Kate Loves A Mystery, Police Woman (Charlene, 1975), Rockford Files (2 episodes: 1974, 1975), This is the Life, Mobile One (Karen), Lucas Tanner, Medical Center (1974), Six Million Dollar Man (Andrea Collins, 1974), The Night Stalker (Madeline), Owen Marshall, Counselor At Law (1973), Kung Fu (1973), The FBI (1973), Emergency, N.Y.P.D. (1968), Kojak (2 episodes), Quincy (2 episodes), Switch (3 episodes, Esther Kelly), Sword of Justice, Tonight Show (3; 1968, 1969, 1970).

TV FILMS: People Like Us (1990, mini-series), China Lake Murders (1989), Rooster (Janet, 1982), Once Upon A Family (Maggie Conway, 1980), Desperate Voyage (Grace Dortlund, 1980), The Lazarus Syndrome (Shirley Harris, 1980), Sex and the Single Parent (1979), The Incredible Hulk (Laura Banner, 1977, pilot), Washington: Behind Closed Doors (Wanda Elliot, 1977), The Solitary Man (Lisa Tobin, 1979), The Chadwick Family (Eileen Chadwick Hawthorne, 1974), Adventures of the Queen (Barbara, 1975), All My Darling Daughters' Anniversary (Charlotte, 1973).

TV COMMERCIALS: Prell, Canada Dry, Life Stride Shoes, Duncan Hines, Polaroid, Wink, TWA, Gold Medal Flour, Crisco, Body Builder, Whirlpool, Peaches 'n Cream.

SCREEN: Foxfire Light (1983), Race With the Devil (Kelly, 1975), Airport 1975 (Stewardess, 1975), Save the Tiger (Margo, 1973), Night of Dark Shadows (Angelique, 1971), Hi Mom! (1970).

THEATER: The Ninety-Day Mistress (Leona,1978, Jacksonville, FL), A Gun Play (Lita, 1972, NYC), Lulu (Lulu, 1969, NYC), Lion in Winter (Alais, Atlanta), Star Spangled Girl (Sophie, Michigan), Come Blow Your Horn (Connie, Memphis), Othello (Bianca, Memphis), Roberta (Sophie, Memphis), A Scrap of Paper (Suzanne), Caprices of Marianne (Marianne), Legend of Lovers (Euridice), Bury the Dead (Joan Levy), Puntilla and His Hired Man (Eva), The Master Builder (Hilda), The Cherry Orchard (Anya), No Exit (Estelle), The Lark (Joan), Le Malentendu (Maria), The Flies (Electra), Pygmalion (Clara), Guys and Dolls (chorus), Alice in Wonderland (Cheshire Cat), Kind Lady.

STOCK: Pennsylvania: The Glass Menagerie, Philadelphia Story (Tracy), Never Too Late (Edith), Dark of the Moon (Barbara Allen), Take Her She's Mine (Mother), See How They Run (Penelope). Missouri: The Importance of Being Earnest (Gwendolyn), The Admirable Crichton (Mary), She Stoops to Conquer (Neville), The Imaginary Invalid (Angelique), The Lady's Not for Burning (Jennet), Antigone (Antigone). Wisconsin: Period of Adjustment (Isabel), Wonderful Town (Eileen), All the Way Home (Mary), A Shot in the Dark (Josepha), A Taste of Honey (Jo), The Mouse Trap (Mollie).

BROADWAY: Woman Is My Idea (Emily Wendridge, 1968).

Read more about Lara's Broadway appearance in Woman is My Idea.


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