Parker, Dorian Leigh 1917–2008

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Parker, Dorian Leigh 1917–2008

(Dorian Leigh, Dorian Parker, Dorian Elizabeth Leigh Parker)


See index for CA sketch: Born April 23, 1917, in San Antonio, TX; died July 7, 2008, in Falls Church, VA. Model, copywriter, drafter, engineer, agency owner, chef, restaurateur, cooking teacher, caterer, and author. Parker was a woman of many talents, but she is remembered for her stunningly photogenic presence in front of the camera. She was a "supermodel" even before the term was coined, using the abbreviated name Dorian Leigh. Parker appeared on dozens of magazine covers in the 1940s and 1950s, notably for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. The premier fashion photographers of the day, including Richard Avedon, appreciated her gift for delivering whatever "look" they wanted, instantly and precisely, and legendary agency owner Eileen Ford called her the best model of her era. Parker's poses for Revlon cosmetics in the 1950s revealed her beauty and allure at her best, it is said, and her sensuous ads for the company's "Fire and Ice" and "Cherries in the Snow" promotions were wildly successful. Parker was a top-earning model in those years, but her career was not tied solely to her appearance. In the early 1940s she worked as an engineering drafter and aircraft tool designer, followed by a stint as a copywriter for Republic Pictures. She modeled for Harry Conover and for the Ford Agency, but she also operated her own agencies in New York in the late forties and in Paris from 1957 to 1973. After at least four unsuccessful international marriages and several children, Parker took up the culinary arts, opened a restaurant in France, and taught cooking classes in Paris. Returning to New York around 1977, she continued her career as a caterer, food consultant, and cookbook writer. Over her long and energetic career, Parker accumulated enough adventures to fill a book; she called her autobiography The Girl Who Had Everything: The Story of the "Fire and Ice Girl" (1980). Her cookbooks include Pancakes: From Flapjacks to Crepes (1988) and Doughnuts: Over 3 Dozen Crullers, Fritters, and Other Treats (1994). Parker saved the stage name Dorian Leigh for her modeling career and her autobiography. Her other endeavors were executed under her full name.



Parker, Dorian Leigh, The Girl Who Had Everything: The Story of the "Fire and Ice Girl," Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1980.


Chicago Tribune, July 10, 2008, sec. 2, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2008, p. B7.

New York Times, July 9, 2008, p. C11; July 11, 2008, p. A4.

Times (London, England), July 12, 2008, p. 74.

Washington Post, July 10, 2008, p. B5.

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Parker, Dorian Leigh 1917–2008

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