Rocky Parker was an American actress and director, but perhaps known best as the ex-wife of the famous actor Patrick Dempsey. She was also a manager and an acting coach. She passed away in 2014 as a result of a serious disease.

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Early life, family, educational background

Rochelle Natalie Parker was born on 26 February 1940, in Brooklyn, New York City USA, to mother Shirley and father Bernard Parker. In an interview with her son Corey, Rocky revealed that her family lived in Brownsville, Brooklyn for more than 10 years. Everybody in the neighborhood was her family, because her grandmother, aunt, cousins – everyone lived there. When she was young, her grandmother read chapters from the Bible to her every day.

The actress got into acting when she was only seven years old. At the time, her aunt Ida was a bookkeeper at Movie Star Slips. where she’d take her niece and let her try on various clothes. Everyone loved the young girl, calling her ‘the movie star’. Her aunt would also take her to Broadway shows, which impacted her choice of career. When Rocky saw the actors perform on stage, she figured out that she wanted to be an actress just like them.

In 1949, her family moved to Queens, and in the ‘50s, she started taking acting seriously and even auditioned for the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. Regardless of being accepted, she didn’t attend it, because her mother was afraid of letting her travel to Manhattan alone every day, so Rocky had to attend Martin Van Buren High School instead.

At the age of 17, the young actress started modeling for popular magazines such as “True Romance”. During the early ‘90s, the actress attended New York University Film School with Patrick Dempsey, and throughout her acting career, Rocky had multiple acting coaches such as Susan Batson, Marcia Haufrecht, Mira Rostova and Uta Hagen.

Foto: https://spockandchristine.com/biography/rocky-parker/ROCKY PARKERFoi uma atriz norte americana, também conhecida…

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Career

Career as an actress

Before landing serious roles, Rocky had to work as an extra on various projects; she was short on money, and the extra work allowed her to pay the bills. In 1969, she was an extra in multiple scenes in the movie “Midnight Cowboy”, a hit movie starring prominent actors such as Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, and Brenda Vaccaro. Concurrently, she appeared in the soap operas “The Doctors” and “Hidden Faces”. In 1972, she was an extra in the blockbuster film “The Godfather”, and during the decade, she was hired regularly by the casting director Mary Jo Slater to work as an extra in the TV series “One Life to Live”.

Slowly she began performing in various plays, including “Imposters Imposter” by Susan Batson, “What’s So Beautiful About a Sunset Over Prairie Avenue?” by Edward Allen Baker, and “Miss Julie”. During the ‘70s, she landed roles in the plays “The Lost Chord” at the Billie Holiday Theater and “Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot” by Tennessee Williams. In the late ‘70s, she performed in the play “The Shadow Box” by Michael Cristofer, and in plays such as “The Maids”, “The Independence of Striva Kowardsky”, and “Children of the Night”.

By the end of the ‘70s, Rocky was working at Woodstock Playhouse, where she created the company Woodstock Players with her colleagues, and produced plays such as “Bedtime Stories”, “After Magritte”, and “Eve”, mainly in bars, hospitals, mental hospitals, and the jail because the audience was attentive and funny.

In 1981, Rocky performed in the Broadway play “The Survivor”, alongside David Marshall Grant and Zeljko Ivanek. In 1986, she appeared in the comedy film “Brighton Beach Memoirs”, then after meeting Patrick Dempsey, Rocky was cast in his movies. In 1987, she appeared in the film “In the Mood”, and a year later, she had a minor role in the movie “Patty Hearst” by Paul Schrader. In 1989, she appeared in the film “Happy Together”, and in 1993, she also had a small part in the movie “Boxing Helena” directed by Jennifer Lynch. Her minor roles also included the films “Hung Up on Elena (2002)”, and “The Rainbow Tribe (2008)”.

Career as a model

During the early stages of her career, Rocky also modeled for print advertisements. She participated in the Virginia Slims campaign “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby”, which advertised cigarettes to women, and included feminist slogans that aimed to voice empowerment. She also appeared in ad campaigns for General Electric, Limbitrol, and Magnavox, among others.

Career as a director and manager

Rocky was a talented and successful manager and director. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, she coached Patrick Dempsey for movies such as “Some Girls,” “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “In a Shallow Grave”, and “Restless Youth”, among others. Throughout her coaching career, she worked on 75 TV series and movies, with her trainees including Melanie Griffith, Heather Thomas, Jennifer Coolidge, Kelly Preston, and others – she coached Gabriel Mann for 16 years. As a director, Rocky worked on the movie “Ava’s Magical Adventure” in 1994.

Personal life

Rocky Parker was married three times. Her first husband was Sheldon Leonard Stein whom she married in August 1958, and in 1959 when she was 19 years old, the couple had a son David Parker. The couple eventually divorced, but the exact date of the official separation is unknown.

In the early ‘60s, Rocky met John David Haas at a party in Manhattan – in her own words, he was the love of her life; they married in 1964, and the couple had a son, Corey Parker in 1965. The actress wanted to have a restaurant which was brought to life thanks to her husband – they opened Prana on Broadway and 92nd. John died in 1968 on his way to San Francisco where he was planning to visit his family.

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After that, Rocky dated Nick Ferri with whom she had a daughter, Noelle Parker in 1971.

In the early 80s, Rocky met Patrick Dempsey during the international tour of “Brighton Beach”; they began a romantic relationship and married in 1984, but the couple ended their relationship in 1994 with a messy divorce. According to Daily Mail, Rocky accused Patrick of attacking her on the set of the movie “Can’t Buy Me Love”. She also mentioned that she had to see a psychiatrist during their marriage, however, she later withdrew these claims.

Patrick Dempsey is a prominent actor, perhaps known best for his role in the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy”. He is also a professional race car driver.

Rocky Parker died on 19 April 2014 in Los Angeles, California USA of throat and lung cancer – she’d been smoking cigarettes since she was 18.

Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts

  • Rocky studied Yiddish when she was a child and went to ‘schule’;
  • Her son Corey Parker is also an actor and manager;
  • Her son David was in the car commercial with Robert De Niro;
  • When Rocky was getting started with her career, she took her children to sets and commercials.

Appearance, clothing style

Rocky Parker was 74 years old when she passed away. She had curly brown hair and hazel eyes, her height was 5ft 6ins (167cm), and she weighed approximately 132lbs (60kgs). The actress used to wear formal clothes, appearing in classic trousers, blazers, shirts and dresses. She liked wearing scarves, jewelry, and other accessories.

Net worth and salary

Before her death, Rocky Parker’s net worth was estimated at close to $1 million, having accumulated most of her wealth through her acting and coaching career. It’s unknown whether she had any real estate properties, or valuable items in her possession.

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