Helen Virginia Parrish was born in Columbus, Georgia on March 12, 1923 or 1924. All biographical information states her birth in 1924, however, her grave stone is marked 1923.
She was the youngest daughter of Remer Gordon and Laura Reese Parrish. She was the sister of Gordon, Robert, and Beverly.
Mr. Parrish was a traveling salesman for the Coca-Cola Company and was transferred to Southern California when Helen was three. Mrs. Parrish, called Reesie, saw an opportunity for her children to make a few extra dollars for the family by working as child extras.
Helen made her screen debut in the silent 1927 film Babe Comes Home with Babe Ruth. She was 3 years old. Beverly Parrish made her screen debut in 1930 in the Our Gang short, A Tough Winter. Unfortunately, that was to be her only film as she died soon after at the age of ten. Reports said she had diabetes.
Many sources also say that Helen was in Our Gang, but this author has yet to find any shorts where she was credited.
According to the book, Little Hollywood Stars by Dixie Wilson:
“Helen is a tall, very slender little girl, with long, thick, soft dark curls. She was twelve years old on March 12, 1935, weighed eighty pounds, and was fifty inches tall.
She wears her hair parted in the middle, brought back behind her ears, and fastened on each side with a little barrette. These barrettes are made by her mother in special designs of tiny rolls of silk or organdy flowers and leaves. She has a pair to match each dress, and in Hollywood they are called “Helen Parrish barrettes.” Helen is very careful of her dresses, which are always dainty and pretty. With them she wears anklets and black patent leather shoes.”
“She is very thoughtful of others, her mother says, and is always thinking of some happy little thing she can do for someone. Every night she turns down her mother’s bed, arranges her nightgown and slippers, and leaves a little good-night note on the pillow. And if she thinks that during the day she has done anything contrary to her mother’s wishes, she also leaves a written regret.”
Helen attended Horace Mann, Bancroft Junior High, and Fairfax High Schools as she continued her acting career.
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Marcia Mae Jones
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Charles Lang lll (Choddy)
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Helen was called the “first lady of television.” She co-hosted the first variety show on American network television with Eddie Mayehoff. The Hour Glass debuted on NBC May 9, 1946 till March of 1947.